WTF Fun Fact 13420 – Combat Juggling

We’ve certainly hurt ourselves by accident while trying to juggle, but that’s not the same as combat juggling. This unorthodox game is swinging its way into the heart of the sports world with a bizarre mix of athletics, skill, and showmanship.

What is combat juggling?

Juggling, in its humblest form, is a street art, performed at carnivals and circuses. But bring it to the arena of competitive sports, and it turns into a wild, adrenaline-pumping showdown known as Combat Juggling. The aim? Hold your ground, keep your balls in the air, and knock out your opponent’s juggling pattern. Sounds crazy, right? But that’s the essence of this exhilarating sport.

Picture this: skilled athletes in a gladiatorial match, maintaining their juggling rhythm while trying to disrupt their opponents. It’s a riveting spectacle, combining finesse, quick reflexes, and relentless attack – ingredients that make sports fans sit on the edge of their seats.

Who came up with this unique sport?

Combat Juggling’s origin traces back to the International Jugglers’ Association (IJA) Championships. Its growing popularity can’t be ignored, and it’s gradually creeping onto sports networks, entrancing audiences with its unique charm (and the fact that it even exists).

Mastering juggling is prerequisite number one. But then throw in the element of combat, and you’ve got a whole new ball game. The athletes – or should we say warriors – take the stage with five juggling clubs each. The battle begins with the sound of the whistle, and the athletes swing into action.

Then comes the disruption. The aim isn’t just to keep your clubs spinning in the air; it’s about making sure your opponent’s clubs hit the ground. That’s where the combat comes in.

Where’s the combat?

It’s juggling meets dodgeball. The last person standing, juggling clubs intact, wins.

The competitors range from professional jugglers to sports enthusiasts looking to step out of their comfort zones. And the best part? Anyone can participate. Gender, age, background – none of it matters. All you need is a set of juggling clubs, a knack for disruption, and a hearty dose of competitive spirit.

The first World Juggling Federation’s Major League Combat event was held in 2010. Since then, Combat Juggling has exploded into the public consciousness, drawing both seasoned jugglers and curious newcomers. Its popularity has even spawned a dedicated fanbase, and the sport has become a mainstay at juggling festivals across the globe.

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Source: “Combat Juggling is the next best sports craze to sweep the nation” — Medium

WTF Fun Fact 13368 – Horse Diving

Horse diving was a spectacle where trained horses would dive from high platforms into pools of water. Guided by riders, the horses leaped from platforms and landed in pools located below. The performances drew crowds of spectators, especially at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, where it became a popular attraction.

The origins of horse diving

Horse diving involved training horses to dive from 40 to 60 feet (12 to 18 meters) platforms. Trained riders guided the horses, ensuring their safety during the descent and upon entering the water.

Horse diving traces its roots back to the late 19th century. That’s when William “Doc” Carver, a former Wild West performer, had a vision of combining horsemanship with daring dives. Carver was instrumental in training horses to perform the dives and developing the techniques necessary to ensure their safety. He worked tirelessly to refine the training process and establish a rapport between horses and riders.

The Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey, became synonymous with horse diving. The iconic amusement pier offered a perfect stage for the daring spectacle.

A daring feat

The performances showcased not only the bravery of the animals but also the bond between the horses and their riders.

To ensure the safety of the horses, the pools were carefully designed with deep water and sufficient space for the horses to land safely. The performers, including the riders, were highly trained and dedicated individuals who understood the intricacies of the sport. While accidents and injuries did occur, the community took measures to prioritize the well-being of the animals and performers.

As times changed and public perception evolved, concerns about animal welfare emerged. The popularity of horse diving gradually declined throughout the 20th century, and the last performance took place in the 1970s. Although no longer a prominent attraction, it left a lasting legacy, reminding us of the audacity and daring spirit that characterized a bygone era of entertainment.

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Source: “Remembering When Horse Diving Was an Actual Thing” — Atlas Obscura