The origins of Tug of War can’t be easily pinpointed in time, but evidence of the sport conducted in ceremonies and cults originating around the world are clear in many forms. Chronicled in England in 16th Century, it was an Olympic sport up until 1920.
Ask people their understanding of Tug of war and they will probably picture a pub side of 8 burley gentlemen grimacing, groaning and pulling on a rope at a local fete…………. Well that couldn’t be further from the truth if you tried! Tug of war has a long history in the Army with 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards being the AAA Champions of the 90-stone weight in 1913 and then in 1974 up to 1990 dominating the youth league. With the mixture of raw power and stubbornness, bridged with technique and team work, this is a sport that harnesses the Warrior Spirit essential in today’s modern Armed Forces using a lot of the core values we rely upon every day.
The Army, RAF and Royal Navy, regularly compete in Tug of war competitions around the UK as well as completions run by our NGB, with the heart set to represent our country, England. There are many different weight categories mens 560kg, 600kg, 640kg, 680kg, 720kg, and catch-weight, ladies 520kg and 560kg with a mixed gender 600kg 4×4, there is also the opportunity for youth (U18’s). All categories involve significant figure juggling by the team coach to get as near as possible to the required weight (but not heavier) with the strongest team, by switching squad members to achieve the target weight category. Ultimately this is a simple sport, merely pull the opposition 4 meters, but to achieve this requires timing, strength and technique, and a gritted determination as each pull can last up to 10 minutes with only 90 secs between pulls to recover.