International Tug-of-War Day – Juliana Frances

International Tug-of-War Day

Tug of war is one of the simplest games to play. All you need is a long rope and anywhere from a few people to dozens of people.

Ancient drawings depict tug of war images of preparing warriors as early as the eighth century B.C. in China.  Egypt, India, Japan, Korea, Hawaii, and Greece all have a past filled with the tug of war games or preparing for battle, as entertainment for rulers, and to settle conflicts which can be found on stone carvings, in old writings and legends. Sometimes a wooden stake has been utilized rather than a rope! When tall ships were roaming the high seas, mariners showed their dexterity of engaging in a tug of war with hefty gear.

Despite the Tug of war being dropped as a competitive event in 1920, more than 50 nations have clubs that still engage with both open-air and indoor games with voices cheering “heave, heave”.

This is a great team sport as a carnival, celebrations, school events, or even on a boot camp. A valuable lesson maybe to wear gloves guarding against rope burn if the rivalry is very fierce. Did I mention it’s also a good way to exercise or to improve your muscle strength and flexibility?

Gosh, you can even play one-on-one tug of war with a short rope and your dog. A great workout for both of you. Be aware though, there are some rules:

  • Keep control when your dog gets over-excited
  • Only play if your dog discharges the rope and sit whenever
  • Combine brief training breaks with “sit, down, stand, down, roll over, sit on a verbal cue, then reward with a treat to restart the tug
  • The same rules apply to others when playing tug with your dog
  • Train your dog to let go of rope by stop tugging, then stop momentarily, and only give them a treat as a reward

The game of Tug of War is fun.


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