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Cha-cha-cha dancing

Cha-cha-cha dancing

Cha-cha-cha is a dance that developed in Cuba in the 1950s.

Original Cuban cha-cha-cha, and the one used in ballroom competions, counts “one, two, three, cha-cha” or “one, two, three, four-and”. Among casual contemporary dancers, there has been a shift over to “one, two, cha-cha-cha” which shifts the timing by a full beat.

Cha-cha-cha features the typical Latin dance hip movement, which can be achieved through the alternate bending and straightening action of the knees. In competitive cha-cha-cha dancing, however, the weighted leg is almost always kept straight, and only the free leg bends. This makes the hips settle in the direction of the weighted leg. The free leg will straighten just before receiving weight again, and will stay straight as long as it is weighted.

Music

Traditionalists dance cha-cha-cha to Cuban cha-cha-cha music. In ballroom competions, it is common to break with tradition and dance to Latin pop or Latin rock music.

Why is it called cha-cha-cha?

Because that´s the sound of the cha-cha-cha dancers´ feet when they dance two consecutive quick steps.

The basic footwork pattern of cha-cha-cha links it to several Afro-Cuban dances found within to the syncretic religion Santería. These dances were familiar to many Cubans in the 1950s when cha-cha-cha developed on the island, and people within the Afro-Cuban community were especially likely to know them.

Ballroom cha-cha-cha

Cha-cha-cha is one of the five dances that comprise the Latin American program in international ballroom competitions.

A notable characteristic of the modern ballroom cha-cha-cha is the scarcity of rise and fall, and how the steps tend to be kept compact.

Background

The music of the Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrin was very important for the development of this dance in the early 1950s, and he, in turn, borrowed the characteristic rhythm from the danzón-mambo when he created his cha-cha-cha music. As mentioned above, there are also ties between cha-cha-cha steps and Cuban Santería dances.

Enrique Jorrín worked in Havan dance halls as a part of the charanga group Orquestra América, which played danzon-mambo, danzonete and danzón music. Jorrín noticed that many dancers found the syncopated rhythms of the danzón-mambo difficult to handle, so he started creating danzón-mambo inspired songs with less syncopation, where the melody was marked strongly on the first downbeat.

It was dancers at Havana´s Silver Star Club that improvised a triple step when dancing to Jorrín´s new music. Their footwork produced the characteristic cha-cha-cha sound, and the new music and associated dance style became known locally as cha-cha-cha.

cha-cha-cha dance

Dance steps

Cha-cha-cha dance steps according to the American School of Ballroom Dance

In this school, the basic cha-cha-cha step spans two measures of music. Count “one, two, three, four-and, five, six, seven, eight-and” and start the second measure on five.

  • Count one: The leader steps sideways to the left
  • Count two: The leader steps back and puts weight on his right foot
  • Count three: The leader steps forward with his left foot
  • Count four-and: The leader steps sideways to the right on count four, followed by a step in place on the left food on “and”
  • Count five (which is the first count of the second measure): The leader does another step sideways to the right
  • Count six: The leader steps forward with his left foot
  • Count seven: The leader steps backwards with his right foot
  • Count eight-and: The leader does a cha-cha to the left

A step sideways to the left begins the next repetition

Doing Pilates

Doing Pilates

Pilates is a system for physical exercises developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s. He called his method Contrology, but today we know it as Pilates. In his book “Return to Life through Contrology”, Joseph Pilates describes his method as the art of controlled movements.

In 1980, Frank Philip Friedman and Gail Eisen published a modern book on Pilates, which helped popularize Pilates during the late 20th and early 21st century. In their book The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning, the authors outlined six principles of Pilates: concentration, control, precision, centring, flow, and breathing.

Consistently practising Pilates can help muscle conditioning in adults, improve flexibility and build strength. Rather than simply focusing on muscle building or flexibility, Pilates puts emphasis on aspects such as alignment, coordination, balance and breathing.

The core of the body – consisting of the abdomen, lower and upper back, buttocks, hips, and inner thighs – is referred to as “the powerhouse” and is given special attention in Pilates, since it is believed to be a key for stability throughout the body.

Is it difficult to get started?

No, getting started with Pilates is not difficult, since the Pilates system allows for exercises to be modified to suit the practitioner. A good Pilates trainer will take your individual needs and abilities into account, and show exercises that are suitable for you right now. As your body gradually adapts to the exercises, intensity and difficulty can be increased over time.

Pilates

Pilates principles

Several different versions of Pilates are thought today. A majority of them rely on the principles listed below, although not necessarily on all nine of them.

Concentration

Concentration is an important aspect of Pilates. It is important to focus on each movement.

Control

Joseph Pilates called his method “Contrology” since he placed such a strong emphasis on muscle control. In Pilates, all exercises are carried out in a controlled fashion.

Precision

Precision is essential to Pilates, and using focus and control to carry out a movement with precision once is considered better than making several imperfect movements.

Flow

Pilates strives for flow – the elegant economy of movement. Concentration, control and precision will work together to allow for a flow of movement, where different exercises flow into eath others through proper transitions.

Centering

Collectively, the abdomen, lower and upper back, buttocks, hips, and inner thighs are known as the “powerhouse” in Pilates and seen as the body´s natural centre from which all movements of the extremities should be coordinated. The powerhouse is the centre, and centring is essential to Pilates. Movements should originate in the centre and move outwards from there.

Breathing

In his Return to Life through Contrology, Joseph Pilates calls attention to the benefits of correct breathing and how it is a method for “bodily house-cleaning with blood circulation”.

According to Mr Pilates, there is considerable value in increasing the intake of oxygen och also increasing the circulation of this oxygen throughout the body.

To this end, Pilates promoted what he considered to be full inhalation and complete exhalation.

During Pilates exercises, the practitioner is encouraged to breathe out with the effort and in on the return, breathing deep into the back and sides of the rib cage. During the exhale, the practitioner is encouraged to pay attention to their deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.

Postural alignment

Maintaining the recommended posture decreases the risk of muscle imbalances and helps with coordination.

Relaxation

Relaxation can be a key to attaining the right mental concentration and muscle movements.

Stamina

Increased precision will make the motion more efficient. This makes each motion feel less strenuous to carry out.

Craft beer tourism

Craft beer tourism

Craft beer tourism is a fun hobby that involves visiting craft breweries, craft beer festivals, craft beer tastings and other craft beer-related events. Informally, holidays with a focus on beer are known as beercations. Craft beer tourism has grown dramatically in the 21st century, especially in Europe and North America.

Craft beer tourism is a subset of the wider food and beverage tourism sector, where people plan their travels around the ability to experience and learn about local food and beverages.

Facility tours

Quite a few microbreweries organize facility tours where visitors get a chance to see the brewery from the inside and learn about its history and how it works. Typically, you will be escorted by an expert tour guide who will teach the visitors about the various aspects of the microbrewery; everything from fermentation to bottling.

Facility tours are often combined with a craft beer tasting session. In some cases, participants are given complimentary souvernirs, such as a beer glass to bring home.

City beer tours

A city beer tour will usually not be arranged by one specific craft beer brewery. Instead, the tour is set up to involve several local or regional beer makers and their products.

A city beer tour will typically involve visits to several different craft beer facilities and/or places where the participants can enjoy various craft beers. Some are walking tours, while others provide transportation.

It is quite common for this type of beer tour to be combined with a stop at a restaurant to enjoy some local food specialities.

Craft beer 2

Craft beer festival

A craft beer festival is an event where a variety of craft beer is available, often combined with various types of entertainment, such as live music. There are also non-craft beer festivals where a wider range of beer is permitted.

The Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival

In the United Kingdom, the largest indoor beer festival outside London is the annual Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival in South Yorkshire. It is held at a former steelworks named Magna Centre.

Unlike many other festivals, this one serves all cask ales using traditional gravity-based hand pumps. There is normally over 250 different varieties of Real Ale available, plus a rich assortment of lager, wine, cider and perry.

Proceeds from the festival are used to support local charities, such as the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and The Rotherham Hospice.

The Farnham Beer Exhibition

The Farnham Beer Exhibition (Farnhamn Beerex) – which promotes traditional cask-conditioned beers from British breweries – is the oldest beer festival in the United Kingdom to still be held on the same premises as the inaugural event.

Intended as a one-off event, it was organised as a charity fundraiser for the Lions Club of Farnham in 1977. It was such a great success that it became an annual event, taking place at the Farnham Maltings in late April or early May each year. True to its origins, the Farnham Beerex is still 100% organized and staffed by volunteers.

The Farnham Beerex has done a lot for the promotion of traditional beers in the Farnham area, and Farnham is today the epicenter for a number of independent breweries. In nearby Tongham, we find the renowned hops-growing Hogs Back Brewery.

Important: It is necessary to purchase a ticket in advance to be admitted to the Beerex, and these tickets tend to sell out within a few hours upon release.

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

Birdwatching, also known as birding, is a popular form of wildlife observation. It can be done with the naked eye, but many birdwatchers bring along binoculars or a small telescope.

Some members of the hobby prefer they term birding over birdwatching since this hobby isn´t just about watching birds. For many participants, non-visual aspects of the hobby are very important, such as listening to birds and learning how to identify birds from their sounds. There are many bird species that are more easily detected and identified by their sound than by watching.

Organizations

Birdwatching can be done alone or with other people, and many birdwatching clubs have been formed around the world by people who enjoy the social aspects of birdwatching.

Two of the most prominent organizations in the United Kingdom are the British Trust for Ornithology and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. On the international level, there is the BirdLife International – a global alliance of bird conservation organizations.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Founded in 1889, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) works to promote conservation and protection of birds and the wider environment in the United Kingdom. RSPB maintains 200 nature reserves and have over 1,300 employees and 18,000+ volunteers. The membership amounts of over a million people, including circa 200k youth members.

The 200+ reserves maintained by the RSPB covers a wide range of habitats, from urban environments to mudflats, estuaries and woodlands.

Reserves maintained by the RSPB usually have bird hides to help birdwatchers.

Birding For All

Birding For All is a UK-based organisation working to make birding more accessible for people with disabilities. Membership is free and open to anyone, regardless of physical or mental ability.

https://birdingforall.com/

What is twitching?

Twitching is the pursuit of a previously located rare bird. A twitcher is someone who is willing to travel far and wide to see a rare bird and tick the species off on their list. Both terms originated in the 1950s and are associated with the nervous behaviour of the British birdwatcher Howard Medhurst. Alternative terms for a twitcher are tick-hunter, tally-hunter or pot-hunter.

Devoted twitchers are known to go great lengths to accumulate another species on their list. Some compete only against themselves, while others engage in competition against other twitchers.

The countries where twitching is most prevalent are the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Compared to countries such as Canada, Brasil or Australia, all of them are small and have good infrastructure to most locations.

One example of an event that drew a lot of twitchers was when a Golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) showed up in Kent, UK. This bird is native to North America and its sudden appearance in Europe attracted roughly 2,500 twitchers to Kent.

birdwatching

Competitive events

In some parts of the world, including the British Isles, birding enthusiasts organize competitive birding events where individuals or teams are encouraged to see as many species as possible within a specific time frame. One well-known type of event is Big Day, when individuals or teams have 24 hours to identify as many bird species as possible. Big Stay (also known as Big Sit) is an event where the participants must stay within a circle and spot birds from within.

Doing Tai Chi

Doing Tai Chi

Tai chi originated as a Chinese martial art, but is today also widely practised for its health benefits and as a form of mindfulness training. Some forms of Tai chi are known for having slower movements compared to when utilized for self-defence, and since the late 20th century, Tai chi classes with an emphasis on health and well-being have become very popular in many parts of the world. From its native China, Tai chi spread worldwide and several training forms exist today, each with a different emphasis. Yet, most modern styles of Tai chi can trace their roots to at least one of the five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu (Hao) and Sun.

These five major styles of Tai chi originated in five different Chinese families:

  • Chen style (陳氏) of Chen Wangting (1580–1660)
  • Yang style (楊氏) of Yang Luchan (1799–1872)
  • Wu Hao style (武氏) of Wu Yuxiang (1812–1880)
  • Wu style (吳氏) of Wu Quanyou (1834–1902) and his son Wu Jianquan (1870–1942)
  • Sun style (孫氏) of Sun Lutang (1861–1932)

Tai chi for seniors

In Europe, including the UK, Tai chi classes are offered at many senior centres. They are focused on health and wellbeing and not on teaching self-defence from physical attacks.

Tai chi have soft movements, slow speeds and getting started is not difficult. It can be adapted for individuals with varying physical fitness and abilities. It is considered suitable for people of all ages.

In 2011, a comprehensive overview of systematic reviews of Tai chi recommended tai chi to older people for its physical and psychological benefits. The study found no evidence of Tai chi being able to prevent or treat diabetes, cancer, arthritis or Parkinson’s disease. For more information: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21586406/.

In 2017, a systemic review found that Tai chi could decrease the risk of falls in older people. For more information: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28736853/.

Tai chi can be performed even by people suffering from heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or osteoarthritis without worsening any issues concerning pain and breathing. For more information: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26383108/

Seated Tai chi

Seated Tai chi is a special type of Tai chi developed for persons who have trouble standing up. It is more similar to meditation than strenuous physical exercise and is commonly described as “meditation in movement” because of its gentle, flowing movements.

Seated Tai chi is chiefly based on the Yang short form.

Tai Chi

Clothing

The Taichi tradition does not stipulate any dress code for Tai chi practitioners.

Modern-day casual practitioners usually wear loose and comfortable clothes that do not restrict their movements. Breathable natural fabrics is favoured.

Tai chi in the United Kingdom

In the early 1960s, Pytt Geddes from Norway started teaching Tai chi classes at The Place in London. She is believed to have been the first European to teach Tai chi in the United Kingdom. It is of course possible that Tai chi was taught within the Chinese immigrant community earlier than this, but there is no evidence of this. Pytt Geddes had learned Tai chi from Choy Hok Pang and his son Choy Kam Man in Hong Kong in the late 1950s, after first encountering Tai chi in Shanghai back in 1948.

Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a way of preserving and presenting memorabilia, such as photographs, tickets, sketches, notes and coins in scrapbooks, although some types of scrapbooking forgo the traditional book and does instead preserve and present the memorabilia in boxes, on cards, as big collages, or similar.

The pages of a scrapbook are typically decorated and contain a mix of different items, such as pretty journal entries, tickets from a show or trip, photographs, coins glued to the page, etcetera.

Crops – the social side of scrapbooking

Crops are scrapbooking events where scrapbookers meet to work on their respective scrapbooks in a social environment. It is similar to a sewing circle or quilting bee, but for scrapbooking.

A crop is a great place to share scrapbooking ideas, learn new techniques, try out products and just generally learn from other scrapbookers in a congenial environment.

Crops are usually small scale events that take place in the home of one of the participants, but large scale crops also exist – sometimes arranged or sponsored by companies that sell scrapbook materials. The largest crops are multi-day events in the United States with hundreds of attendees.

The album

A wide range of albums can be used as scrapbooks, and albums intended specifically for this purpose are available from several manufacturers. Some albums are permanently bound, while others make it easy to insert pages.

Novices who are entering the world of scrapbooking typically chose albums of the A4 format (297 mm x 210 mm), of U.S. letter-size (11 inches x 8.5 inches) or go for the 30 cm x 30 cm square style.

Supplies

Here are a few examples of supplies that can come in handy when making a scrapbook.

  • Clear page protectors that will protect each finished page in the scrapbook
  • Corner mounts for photographs
  • Various background papers, e.g. cardstock paper and printed pattern paper
  • Adhesive dots, photo tape, acid-free glue and similar adhesive products
  • Die-cut templates
  • Rubber stamps
  • Craft punches
  • Stencils

A wide range of embellishments can be used to decorate the pages of the scrapbook, such as rub-ons, stickers, lace, sequins, ribbons, beads, etc.

Scrapbooking

Long-lasting scrapbooks

If you want to limit the detrimental impacts of aging, it is important to select supplies of high archival quality for your scrapbook, such as paper that is acid-free and lignin-free. Pigment-based fade-resilient inks are popular, especially the ones that are also waterproof.

The buffered paper will protect photos from acids leaching from the various memorabilia.

Since oil from the hands can cause damage over time, some serious scrapbookers wear cotton gloves when working with their scrapbooks.

Marielen Wadley Christensen

The art of scrapbooking have roots that go back to at least the 1400s, when so-called Commonplace Books were created in Europe. Since then, the popularity of scrapbooking has waxed and vaned, and a multitude of different styles have developed.

Marielen Wadley Christensen is largely credited with kick-starting a revival for scrapbooking in the United States in the 1980s. At the start of the decade, she was invited to showcase her 50+ photo albums at the World Conference on Records in Salt Lake City. This was 3-ring binders filled with creatively designed pages for her family´s photographs. After the conference, Marielen and her husband authored and published the how-to booklet “Keeping Memories Alive” and opened a scrapbook supply store in Utah.

Dancing Argentine tango

Dancing Argentine tango

Argentine tango is a social dance that developed in working-class areas of Buenos Aires and Montevideo in the late 1800s. Over time, a lot of different styles and elements developed, and the dance spread from Argentina to the rest of the world.

The United Kingdom was swept by a tango craze in the 1990s in response to the immensely popular international touring shows “Tango Argentino” and “Forever Tango”. A tango dance hall – known as a Tango Milonga – was established in London, at The London Welsh Center at 157 Grays Inn Road. The interest in tango, and especially Argentine tango, then spread from London to the rest of the UK.

Dancing Argentine tango

Arentine tango is danced in an embrace that can be anywhere from very open (at arms length) to very closed (chest-to-chest).

In most situations, both members of the couple will keep their feet close to the floor and “walk” their way around the dancefloor.

Legs are kept fairly close, allowing for ankles and knees to brush as one leg passes the other.

The follower is typically led to alternate feet, and will rarely have their weight on both feet at the same time.

How the couples move on the dancefloor

Argentine tango is danced counterclockwise around the outside of the dancefloor.

Cutting across the middle of the floor is considered bad.

It is okay for a couple to stop for a short while to perform stationary figures, but not if it unduly impedes the other dancers. Each couple is expected to respect the other couples on the floor and pay attention to their surroundings, to prevent problems such as blocking, crowding and colliding.

Emotion

A very important aspect of Argentine tango is to always be in tune with the emotion currently expressed by the music and dance accordingly.

A good dancer will not only feel this emotion but also transmit it to their partner.

Basico

Improvisation is an important element in Argentine tango, but when you start to learn your dance teacher will teach you certain patterns known as basico – the basic step. Once you are familiar with the basics, you and your partner can start playing around more with improvisations.

Argentine tango

Music

Compared to the music used for ballroom tango, Argentine tango music is much more varied and has evolved a lot in various ways over the years, picking up influences from many different places.

The lyrics tend to be highly emotional and nostalgic, and a bulk of the songs are about lost love.

A typical Argentine tango orchestra will include several melodic instruments. The bandoneon, a small button accordion, is a staple.

The four major schools of Argentine tango music are:

  • Di Sarli
  • d´Arienzo
  • Troilo
  • Pugliese

Códigos and yeta

Over time, the Argentine tango has developed its own set of codes (códigos) and superstitions (yetas). Exactly how strictly these are adhered to will vary from one dance hall to the next.

Exampels of a yeta

It is considered bad luck to dance to the tango “Adiós Muchachos”. This superstition arose fom the false belief that Carlos Gardel sang this song before the plane crash that killed him.

Examples of códigos

  • Invitation to danceInvitation to dance is done during a cortina or early in the tanda. It is done discretely by “cabeco”, where one dancer nods their head and eye contact is established.
  • Dance the full tanda with the same partnerArgentine tango is dance in sets of songs called tandas. Each tanda consists of three or four songs. If you accept an invitation to dance, you accept to dance the full tanda with that partner.
  • Do not dance more than one tanda with the same partnerDancing more than one tanda with one partner is avoided, since it is seen as flirtatious behaviour. In situations where there are not many dance partners available, this rule becomes less relevant.
  • How can I know that the tenda is over?A tenda consists of three or four songs, and is followed by a cortina. The cortina is a non-tango song that lasts for a minute or so and signals that the tenda is over.
  • Don´t dance to the cortinaDuring the cortina, dancers return to their seats and rest.
  • Stay silent during the danceDo not talk while dancing. Small talk is done between songs, during the cortina or when you are sitting out a song and not dancing to it.
Playing British bingo

Playing British bingo

British bingo is a type of 90-ball bingo played with a 9 x 3 bingo ticket. It is the dominating form of bingo in the United Kingdom, and it is also very popular in several other regions that used to be a part of the British Empire. In India, it is known by the name Tambola.

British bingo is played both offline and online, and the advent of online bingo has helped popularize British Bingo in parts of the world where offline bingo halls only offer United States-style 75-ball bingo played with a 5 x 5 bingo ticket.

The bingo ticket för British bingo

A typical bingo ticket för British bingo consists of 27 spaces, arranged like this:

                 
                 
                 

As you can see, there are three rows, with nine spaces in each row, forming a 3 x 9 grid.

British bingo 2

Only some of the spaces contain numbers; the others are left blank. In each row, there will be five numbers and four blank spaces.

Typically, the numbers are arranged a certain way to make it easier to find them when they are called. Numbers in the 1-9 span (or 1-10 in some bingo halls) can only appear in the first column. Numbers in the 10-19 span (or 11-20 in some bingo halls) can only appear in the second column, and so on.

1 to 9 10 to 19 20 to 29 30 to 39 40 to 49 50 to 59 60 to 69 70 to 79 80 to 90

Or

1 to 10 11 to 20 21 to 30 31 to 40 41 to 50 51 to 60 61 to 70 71 to 80 81 to 90

Strips of six

In the United Kingdom, players usually purchase a strip of six bingo tickets. Tickets are created in strips of six since this allows every number (1-90) to appear. When holding such a strip, you know that you will mark off one number each time a number is called.

Gameplay

Each time a number is announced, you look for it on your ticket or tickets and mark it if you find it.

If you play offline, you need to mark your numbers manually and alert the bingo caller when you have a winning ticket. If you play online, you can still mark off your numbers manually but you don´t have to, since each ticket is automatically checked by the software and wins are paid into your account even if you didn´t notice you had a win.

Winning

Exactly what you need to win something vary and it is a of course a good idea to check this before you start playing.

These are standard winning combinations for British Bingo:

  • Four corners. You have marked the leftmost top number, the leftmost bottom number, the rightmost top and the rightmost bottom.
  • Line. Covering a horizontal line of five numbers on the ticket.
  • Two Lines. Covering two lines on the same ticket.
  • Full House. Covering all 15 numbers on the ticket.
Playing klootschieten

Playing klootschieten

Klootschieten is a Frisian sport associated with the Netherlands and the part of Germany known as Ostfriesland.

Each player throws a ball (called kloot) as far as possible. A skilled klootschieten player will utilize a rather complex throwing style that requires both power and speed. The current record is held by Stefan Albarus, who manged to throw his ball 106.20 meters.

Casual games of klottschieten typically involves two teams playing against each other. Zetten klootschieten, which is a more formal version of the game, is played as an individual endevour where two persons challenge each other.

More formal games are organized by the Nederlandse Klottschietbond, an umbrella organization comprised of over 40,000 players of klootschieten and the related game boßeln. The are also organizations persent in North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, as well as one in Ireland.

European Championships have been held since 1969. The main participants are the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland.

The three styles of klootschieten

There are three styles of klootschieten: veld (field), straat (street) and zetten (standing).

Veld klootschieten

When you play veld klootschieten, your aim is to reach a particular patch of grass or sand in as few throws as possible. In this sense, it is a bit similar to golf. Also, the veld klootschieten course typically includes obstacles, such as curves and height differences. Therefore, strenght is not the only factor necessary to prevail.

Veld klootschieten is played between individuals or between teams.

The kloot (ball) is round. It is made from wood or a synthetic material, and lead is added to make it heavier. The diamater is usually between 7 cm and 8 cm, but it is up the participants to decide what is permitted, as long as the diameter is at least 5 cm.

Straat klootschieten

Stratt klootschieten is a version of klootschieten played in the street, in a country lane, or similar. The goal is still to get your kloot to a particular area using as few throws as possible, but the tactics differ since the course is different. There might for instance bee ditches and gutters that the players need to take into account. If there are uphill stretches along the course, a player could deliberately aim for “obstacles” such as a spot of tall grass to prevent the ball from rolling back downhill.

Straat klootschieten is played with a kloot that is heavier than the ones used for veld klootschieten.

Zetten klootschieten

This is a more formal version of klootschieten. The goal is to make the ball travel as far as possible in the air. In this respect, the game is similar to hammer throwing.

You throw your ball, and the distance between you and the point where it hits the ground is measured.

klootschieten

History

A long time ago, Frisian fighters were feared for their ability to throw harmful objects at their opponents and even damaging ships with their missiles. It is possible that klootschieten developed out of this tradition.

As early as 1659, Kloot werpen is mentioned in a text. It was the Dutch reformer Jacobus van Oudenhoven who included the game in his list of things that good Christians should not do on a Sunday.

Early versions of klootschieten involved two-pound iron balls and heavy flint balls. Later, Frisians started making fist-sized balls from applewood, pierce the wood and fill the cavities with lead.

The rowdy klootschieters

Today, klootschieten might seem like a harmless passtime, but if we look at history, it had strong associations with rowdyness and it has even been banned by the authorities. Klootschieten competitions often involved both heavy alcohol consumption and gambling for money and other valuables.

Some anti-klootscheiten voices even blamed klootschieten for causing pneumonia deaths, when it was practised outdoors in the winter with participants wearing light sportswear.

A competitive leage for klootschieten

The first competition league for klootschieten was formed on May 25, 1902, by klootschieten groups in Oldenburg och East Frisia. A driving force was Hinrich Dunkhase (1857-1905).

Playing boules

Playing boules

Boules is a group of similar games where the objective is to throw or roll heavy balles as close as possible to a small target ball. The heavy balls are called boules and while the target ball is named jack.

Boules-type games are usually played on a rectangular court consisting of flattened earth, gravel or crushed stone.

Boules-type games can broadly be divided into two groups:

  • Games where the balls are rolled. Bocce is one example of a game belonging to this group.
  • Games where the balls are thrown. Bocco volo and pétanque are examples of games in this group.

Bocce – one of the most popular versions of boules

One example of a very popular boules-type game is bocce, which is an Italian boules game with ancient roots. It is rather similiar to the French game pétanque and the British bowls. Italian immigrants have spread the game to several parts of Europe, and also to other regions around the world, including Australian and the Americas.

Object of the game bocce

The object of the game is for your team to get as many of its four balls as possible closer to the target ball than the opposing teams four balls.

Scoring points

Only the team whose ball is closest to the target ball can score any points. This team gets 1 point for each of their balls that is close to the target ball than the closets ball of the opposing team.

Decide in advance how many points a team needs to accumulate to be crowned winner of the session. The standards vary by region; in som places a session only lasts until a team has reached 7 points. In other regions, it is as much as 13 points.

The court

Bocce is traditionally played on soil courts, but playing on asphalt became common in the 20th century.

Casual bocce games can take place on almost any reasonably flat area, as long as it is big enough. Just make sure you aggree beforehand on how large the court is, and the exact start and end of the special area in which the small ball must be at the start of the game.

The balls

Traditionally, the balls were made from wood. Today, metal balls and plastic balls are also available in the trade.

The balls are spherical and have no inbuilt bias.

Each team has four balls to bowl (throw).

The small ball (the target ball) is called boccino or pallino in Italian, depending on which Italian dialect you speak.

How many players?

A game can be conducted either between just two players, or between two teams. Each team can have up to four members.

Am I allowed to throw the ball using underarm action?

Yes.

boules

Playing a game of bocce

One of the teams is randomly chosen to throw the boccino.

The boccino must be thrown from one end of the court into a special zone that is 5 meters in lenght and ends 2.5 meters from the far end of the court. If the team fails twice, the other team is allowed to place the boccino whereever they want within the special zone.

The team that first attempted to place the boccino bowls first.

Once the first bowl has taken place, it is time for the other team to bowl.

From then on, the position of the balls in the court in relation to the boccino determines which team bowls next. It is always the team that does not have the ball closest to the boccino that makes the next bowl.

When one team has bowled all their four balls, the other side bowls their remaining balls.

Tactics

It is permissable to throw your ball in a way that knocks away either the target ball or another ball. This can be used as a tactic to obtain a more favorable position for the team.