You’ve heard of wrestling and arm wrestling, but toe wrestling? That has to be a fun pastime, kids came up out of boredom, right? Wrong!
Toe wrestling is a real sport with its own World Championship that happens every year. As bizarre as it sounds, it is indeed quite a popular sport in the world. England, specifically – its birthplace. Don’t believe us? Here are all the facts and figures about this weird sport including important rules you need to know in order to play this sport in official matches.
What is Toe Wrestling?
Exactly what the name suggests! Toe wrestling is a game in which two opponents compete against each other using their toes only. It is much similar to thumb wrestling. Except, instead of using your arms, you use your feet. Opponents have to lock toes with each other and attempt to pin the other person’s foot down on the podium, funnily dubbed “the toedium.”
It might sound like a trivial game, however, do not underestimate it. The professionals take it very seriously and it is not uncommon for athletes to suffer from injuries like bruises and fractures during the matches. In fact, if you want to know which person has the strongest toes in the whole wide world, look no further. You’ll probably find that person in one of the wrestling matches.
A Fun-filled History Lesson
As mentioned earlier, toe wrestling originated in England out of some Brit’s strange obsession with creating an activity where Englishmen could excel in. As the story goes, in 1974, a group of buddies at a local pub, namely “Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn” in Derbyshire, UK drunkenly invented this game.
They wanted to show the world that is one sport that no one can defeat them in. And apparently, Brits have really strong and sturdy toes. It didn’t take much effort or imagination to come to this sport. But since then, this game has come a long way. Official matches take place every year. Plus, it even has its own World Championship. Needless to say, Britain is very proud of its Toe Wrestling Champions.
Toe Wrestling World Championships
Toe Wrestling World Championships take place every year in England. The most common venue used to its birthplace – the Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn. Lately though, it has been happening at Ashbourne Heights in Fenny Bently, Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Every year, it gathers a crowd of fun-seeking enthusiasts who came to watch and participate in this weird sport. As the popularity of this weird sport grows, players come from all over the world to beat the Brits at their own game. Specifically, it is super famous in USA, Canada, and Korea.
The world championships are organized by the World Toe Wrestling Federation – the only official authority for toe wrestling in the world. It is responsible for organizing all the official matches as well as overseeing the players and champions. The World Championship is normally scheduled for late winter.
Fun Fact: the winner of the world champion gets awarded a trophy of a foot, fittingly.
Toe Wrestling Rules – How to Play the Game
It is super easy to play this game. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most fun things to do when bored. Here is a quick explanation of how to play toe wrestling and what rules you must follow during official matches.
- First, all the players must be bare feet in order to play this sport. Interestingly, it is a courtesy for players to remove the shoes and socks of their opponents during the World Championship matches.
- Then, players interlock their big toes with their feet lying flat against each others. The other foot raised in the air. The game is played on the ground.
- The goal is to defeat your opponent by making their toe touch the toe-dium.
- There are 3 ways you can go about it. First, pin the opponent’s foot to the ground while the referee counts to three. Second, keep your opponent’s foot/toe trapped for three seconds. If you win two points using this method, you win. Third, a more popular way to win toe wrestling is to make your opponent’s foot touch the side of the toe-dium to score a point. The first player to score two points wins the game.
- Usually, there are two rounds in a match, and a third round is played in case there’s a tie.
- The first round is played with the right foot, the second with the left foot, and then again with the right foot if the game calls for it.
- Another fun rule is that players must call out “toe much” if they wish to tap out during a game!
Meet the Foot Soldiers (Pun Intended)
Toe wrestling have some amazing athletes and legendary players since its foundation. Let’s meet them!
- Mick Dawson – the first player to win the toe wrestling world championship!
- Alan Nash – one of the founding members, Nash is a legendary player and a 17-time world champion title winner! He retired in 2022 after losing his title to Ben Woodroffe.
- Ben Woodroffe – another founding member, Woodroffe is the current world champion and plans on staying in the game for many more years to come.
- Lisa “Twinkletoes” Shenton – is a legendary player and winner of several women’s World Toe Wrestling Championship winners!
Current Toe Wrestling World Champions
In 2022, Ben Woodroffe (owner and co-founder of the association) beat the long-term reigning champion Alan Nash and secured the World Toe Wrestling Championship Trophy.
Likewise, the Women’s World Champion was Dawn Milward
Toe Wrestling also has a junior category where minors can play and participate in this fun game. Dawn Milward’s daughter – 10-year-old Dolly Milward won the Junior Toe Wrestling Champion title.
Can Toe Wrestling become an Olympic Sport?
Players and enthusiasts have tried several times to include toe wrestling in the Olympic Games. However, the International Olympic Committee refuses to do so. True, this sport might seem like a fun game to play in the car for kids during a long ride. Nevertheless, it has been around for almost 5 decades – that has to count for something. Hopefully, one day it will be elevated from the status of a delightful pastime to a serious sport.
Regardless of how the sports world sees it, it is evident that people and players find this toe wrestling super entertaining and enjoyable. Hence, it is here to stay. So, play it right now with your friends and family and maybe you’ll be the one to defeat the Brits at this game they claim they’re the best at!