Next to sex, there's nothing that delights the old primate tendencies quite like dealing someone a good ol' fist upside the cranium. Sadly, the vast majority of us have candy for an ass and are far too removed from our caveman days to get our own knuckles all scuffed up. So instead, we watch people fight our battles for us on the TV, while assuring all within earshot that we could totally whip their butts if we wanted to (we just don't, and never will want to). But like any spectator event, martial arts tournaments must fight tooth and nail to hold on to our ever more fickle attention spans. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we end up with certifiably insane competitions like ...
#6. Hip Show
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you took American Gladiators, exported it to Russia, and ran it through their patented Fuckstripper(TM) to remove every last fuck it ever had to give? Well, wonder no more, dear friend, because the Russians have already done it by creating the vastly undernamed Hip Show.
Complete with a flame-bearded announcer straight out of The Hunger Games, Hip Show features full-contact team martial arts fighting with an added twist: It takes place inside a mazelike three-level obstacle course. If you're wondering how throwing down in a group brawl while standing precariously near the edge of raised platforms could possibly be a good idea, we humbly submit that it is not a good idea. It is the best idea.
Fuck you, sliced bread!
Fights consist of two-on-two teams flailing their way through three two-minute rounds, with the use of joint locks and choke holds prohibited during the first two rounds because we paid to see some face punching, goddammit. As you can imagine, teamwork is essential -- the moment one partner drops, the arena transforms into a two-against-one death maze. And since being inactive is also against the rules, anyone caught hiding behind the obstacles is subjected to immediate execution by bear mauling. Or disqualification. Whatever. It's Russia -- the bear mauling is implied.
#5. Knight Fighting Leagues
With the exception of your local renaissance faire, the real world is facing a tragic shortage of guys in full armor whacking each other with swords. Not to worry, because here to remedy that situation are Knight Fighting Leagues, which are pretty much exactly (and awesomely) what they sound like.
Polska Liga Walk Rycerskich
"Please God let the codpiece hold please God let the codpiece hold please God ..."
Such leagues are most popular in Europe, where Poland unsurprisingly hosts the Polish Knight Fighting League. These "knights" use replicas of medieval plate armor and period-authentic weapons like swords and axes -- which are, of course, blunted (because otherwise that would be plain old-fashioned murder) -- to go at each other in an archaic free-for-all in which winners are determined based on the number of blows landed (or whoever's still standing after said blows have done said landing).
If you're looking to join up, you'd better find yourself a damn good squire with plenty of armor-affixing expertise, because pretty much anything goes in Knight Fighting League: kicks, knee strikes, and helmeted head butts are par for the course. Fights can be one-on-one or in "armies," which is about as close to a real life Game of Thrones scene as you can experience short of banging your sister.
Polska Liga Walk Rycerskich
Hopefully George R.R. Martin will have finished the books by the time you wake from your coma.
The Polish league is just one of several participants in the Battle of the Nations, a world championship taking place in Croatia (presumably because Croatia has lax laws regarding dealing out myriad sword welts to total strangers). And before you even ask -- yes, there's an American team. So get to polishing that armor if you're ready to trade in your weekend cosplay for something a bit more ... momentous.
#4. Pillow Fight League
Somehow, in between exchanging pleasantries, having national health care, and saying "about" wrong, Canadians have found the time to build the world's first professional Pillow Fight League. Haha, leave it to those friendly Canadians to find a way to fight politely, right, fella-
That looks way more hardcore than the confusingly erotic slumber party pillow fights we're familiar with, and that's because the PFL is serious business: In true "professional" fighting league fashion, PFL's fighters create dramatic personae such as ChamPain, Dinah Mite, and Olivia Neutron Bomb. That makes them sound like the plushy doppelganger of the WWE, but make no mistake: These fights are totally unscripted and go way beyond whapping each other with pillows. In fact, the pillows are often the only thing preventing the fighters from pulverizing each other into unrecognizable human smoothies.
Her hair's green now. It'll be red when she's done.
Stacey Case, one of PFC's founders, has said, "It's not pillow fighting. It's fighting with pillows." And she wasn't kidding, as fights have resulted in broken bones, shattered teeth, and a wicked case of feather rash.