5 Manly Sports That Will Seriously Kick Your Ass

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Forget American football and flimsy soccer players. Mainstream sports pale in comparison to these manly displays of physical strength and endurance.

Mainstream sport can be pretty tame. Although there are some big hits in American football, the players have more padding than a teenage girl in a training bra. In Europe, soccer players will collapse to the floor in apparent agony at the slightest hint of physical contact. Here at Just A Guy Thing, we like to see sports that challenge men to push themselves beyond the mental, emotional, and physical boundaries of these rather soft sporting occasions.

With this in mind we have scoured the four corners of the globe to find our favorite manly sports that will literally kick your ass. (Technically, some of these are not actually sports but the headline 5 Manly Physical Activities That Will Seriously Kick Your Ass just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)

No hipsters, cloud chasing isn’t a sport.

#5 Sepik War Canoe Racing in Papua New Guinea

What is it?

Exactly what it says. Competitors have to race 14km upstream while standing in a canoe in the finale to the War Canoe & Kundu Festival. In terms of flow, the Sepik River is one of the largest in the world, just to make it a bit more challenging.

Why is it so manly?

Forget for a second about the crocodiles and other dangerous creatures lurking in the river and focus on the race itself. Have you ever tried standing up in a canoe? It’s not as easy as it looks to keep your balance! Add that to the fact that you’ve then got to row yourself almost 9 miles against a very strong current and you’re looking at a very grueling afternoons work ahead of you. To complete the race you’ll need balance, stamina and the mental strength to continue when you really don’t want to.

#4 Nguni Stick Fighting in South Africa

What is it?

This is a martial art practiced by young men in South Africa. Combatants are armed with two long sticks. One is used for defending blows and the other is used to whack your opponent without mercy until they bleed or give up from the pain.

Why is it so manly?

Didn’t you hear what we just said? You hit your opponent with unrelenting fury until they either bleed in copious amounts or give up due to the extreme pain of being repeatedly battered across the shins with a long stick. The Zulu guys are hardcore. They wear no armor or protective padding. They are also looking to develop this into a recognized martial art with rules and competitions so look out for an Nguni stick fighting school near you soon.

#3 Laamb Wrestling in Senegal

What is it?

It’s a Senegalese martial art that combines orthodox wrestling with bare-knuckle boxing. Traditionally, young men fought to prove their manliness, court the ladies and bring honor to their village. Nowadays, they fight for money.

Why is it so manly?

Well, aside from the funny dancing the competitors perform prior to the fight, it’s a true display of strength and courage. You have to beat your opponent down so that both knees or his back are touching the ground. This is done by punching them constantly with bare-knuckles and then flinging them around like a rag doll in the hands of a devilish 6 year-old girl. Proper macho mano-a-mano alpha male type shenanigans.

#2 Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race in Jamaica

What is it?

Well it’s a 3,100 mile race around a track in Queens, Jamaica of course. What were you expecting from that title?

Why is it so manly?

Strictly speaking, it could be womanly too – seeing as more than one woman has completed the course. Regardless, it’s manly because runners must complete 5,649 laps of a .5488 of a mile course in a mere 51 days. That equates to about 61 miles a day, every day, for almost two months. You’ll need tremendous courage, physical stamina, concentration and the capacity to endure fatigue and boredom. You might also need to rest your feet for a while before going back to your 9-to-5.

#1 The Tough Guy Survival Course in England

What is it?

It’s an endurance race based just 30 minutes from our HQ (that we had never heard of until researching for this article) that involves an eight-mile cross country run before being faced with an obstacle course requiring ‘the athletes‘ to crawl under barbed wire, run over burning bales of hay, swim in underwater tunnels full of icy water and negotiate their way through underground pipes.

Why is it so manly?

You mean besides the regular broken legs and bouts of hypothermia? Well, according to the Tough Guy organizer Billy Wilson, there is no other one day survival course as grueling as his. The closest, he says, is the Navy S.E.A.L’s ‘Grinder’ Assault Course but even that pales in comparison to the Tough Guy circuit. Don’t believe it? Check out the website and decide for yourself.

If you’ve uncovered a sport or physical activity more brutal than these then please let us know in the comments. We enjoy nothing more than seeing grown men beating each other to death or weeping from exhaustion and dehydration. Sadistic, we know.

Just A Guy Thing is a men's lifestyle magazine focused primarily at guys wanting to better themselves.

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