We all remember pillow fighting with our friends and siblings during sleepover parties. What fun it was! However, one man has taken this harmless children’s game into a professional ring! Yes, professional pillow fighting is a real sport! And no, it’s not as wholesome as you’d imagine.
What is Professional Pillow Fighting?
Pillow fighting itself needs no introduction. We’ve all grown up having mock battles with pillows as a weapon. Professional pillow fighting sounds like a weird sport but it is essentially the same as our childhood game, albeit with a serious touch and slightly more risk. It’s not a sport regular people can play. In fact, all the participants of pro pillow fights are MMA fighters.
The fight entails hurling pillows at each other until someone is knocked out or more commonly until the time is up. Whoever has more scores wins the game. Since it is a combat sport, the bloodlust and aggression are real. However, instead of hitting each other with fists, fighters use pillows which makes it safer. Undoubtedly, it will hurt but you won’t break your teeth or your nose!
History of Pro Pillow Fighting
Pillow fighting on a professional scale isn’t as recent as it sounds. In fact, in the early 2000s, WWE used to stage pillow fight matches between female wrestlers competing in lingerie with no actual wrestling or fighting taking place. Similarly, in 2007 many bars around Toronto, Canada used to host a mock Pillow Fight League in which, again, female fighters would participate.
It was merely a show where fighters would pillow fight with stage personalities for the amusement of the bar patrons. This league stopped operating in 2011 though many tried to bring it back through a crowdfunding campaign, which was unsuccessful.
Fun Fact: In 2008, the first World Pillow Fight Day was celebrated on March 22 in the United States and almost 5,000 people participated.
Fun Fact 2: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pillow fight happened in July 2015 during a St. Paul Saints baseball game where an estimated 6,261 people participated. this record was broken in May 2018 when 7,861 people took part in a pillow fight in Minnesota during a sponsored event.
Pillow Fighting Championship – Meet the Man behind the Sport
Professional Pillow fighting, as we know it today, started in 2021. Serial Entrepreneur Steve Williams saw a gap within the existing combat sports and took the chance. According to him, people don’t want to see bloodshed anymore so pillow fighting is the perfect combat sport. It is aggressive but without anyone getting a life-threatening injury.
He founded the Pillow Fighting Championship with the intent of turning pillow fights into an actual sport just like other popular sports, e.g. adult kickball, football, boxing, chess, etc. The first few pillow fight exhibition matches took place in Florida that went viral on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
A few months later, PFC live streamed their second official pillow fight championship with 24 pro fighters (16 male and 8 female) participating. Each fighter earned $250 for simply participating while the winners got a whopping $5,000 cash prize. Not bad for a budding sport!
Although this was all funded by Williams from his pocket, he intends to make it all worth it by getting sponsors and taking Pillow Fighting Championship onto the international scale. Seasoned fighters conjecture that it’s sure to be the next big thing in combat sports in the future.
How to Play? Professional Pillow Fighting Rules
Since it is a new sport, there are no set rules yet. Fighters with their own background in martial arts, boxing, and jiujitsu come up with their own attack combos. Referees later decide which attack is okay and which is not.
Similarly, there are no hard and fast rules of what counts as a point. Although, each strike gains you a point in general. In addition, a 180-degree swing counts as one point while a 360-degree pillow attack counts as two points. Players can only attack each other using pillows. No other attacks such as leg drop, submission hold, or punches are allowed.
Types of Defence
Opponents can only raise their arms up to the neck to defend themselves against the oncoming attack. They cannot hold the opponent’s arm to block attacks. Williams stated that he and other experts in the field are still working on more specific rules and regulations for the professional Pillow Fighting Championship.
Furthermore, professional pillow fights happen in a standard-sized martial arts arena just like any other combat sport.
Timing and Rounds
The match consists of 3 rounds, each lasting 90 seconds. The total match lasts for a total of 4 minutes. That’s because even top pro athletes in fit form cannot keep swinging a 2 lbs. pillow for more than four minutes.
Sports Gear and Equipment
In order to compete in a professional pillow fighting match, you need special pillows. Made with high-quality ripstop nylon sailcloth and stuffed with foam, these pillows weigh a whopping one kg! The most fun part is that they make a crackling sound, much like a horsewhip, when swung and struck at the opponent.
At first, William used regular pillows for this fight. However, they were not sturdy enough. Plus, they were hard to hold while fighting. Neither did they make the thrilling sound. That’s why special pillows were made with a particular fabric. Moreover, six handles were attached to the pillows to make them easy to hold and play with during the pro matches.
Who can Compete in Professional Pillow Fighting Matches?
Basically anyone! Since this is a new sport and doesn’t have many rules and regulations, anyone can participate in them. Generally, MMA fighters or other martial artists play this sport as it is combative and similar to their field of expertise. However, even lay people can participate in these matches! You will have to undergo a period of training before you can compete in official matches though. Likewise, PFC even allows children to participate in pillow fighting matches. This is an ideal sport for children since it has low risks of injury, unlike other sports like martial arts, fistball, soccer, etc.
To sum it up, professional pillow fighting is the sport to keep your eyes on! It is one of the most promising sports of this era. You get to take out your frustrations and attack your opponents without worrying about serious injuries; all that while having fun and reminiscing about childhood nostalgia!