9| Pelota Purepecha
What was essentially field hockey for pyromananiacs, this ancient mesoamerican game used a flaming puck. Recenlty, it has actually started making a comeback as the Mexican government is pushing to revive its ancient past times.
Although modern soccer has plenty of shin kicking and ankle twisting, its ancient Greek predecessor was just downright brutal. In fact, sources indicate that even spectators would often emerge with broken bones and injuries.
7| Papa Holua
It seems as though Hawaii has always been know for surfing. While today it mostly involves waves, in the past ancient Hawaiians used mountains. In fact, the name of this pastime means “slide into the pit”. For thousands of years the islanders would essentially “surf” down the side of volcanos until the sport was stopped 200 years ago due to being so dangerous. Recenlty there have been several attempts to revive it.
6| Nguni Stick Fighting
One of the few sports on this list that is actually still practiced today, the name of this game just about sums things up. The Zulus would essentially beat the crap out of each other with sticks. Although people seldom died, the participants would often walk away with numerous scars that they would wear like badges of honor.
5| Gladiatorial Games
If you’ve seen Russel Crowe in the Gladiator then you know how blood thirsty the crowd in the colloseum could be. Often times the organizers of these games would come up with new and unusual ways for the gladiators to kill themselves, one of which we’ll see in a moment.
4| Shin Kicking
Consisting of two people kicking each other in the shins this simple sport has been practiced in England for hundreds of years. Although it’s not lethal, having someone repeatedly bash you in your shins can definitely be considered hardcore.
Although there wasn’t a ridiculously high mortality rate, knocking your opponent off of his horse using a 10 foot pole definitely qualifies as hardcore.
It’s hard to say whether this ancient death match was worse for the slaves or the animals recruited to fight them. In fact, Venatio is probably the epitome of the extreme sports of the ancient world. The Romans were so intrigued with pitting humans against animals that on the inauguration of the colloseum over 9,000 beasts were killed. Very often, however, the humans met a similar fate.
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