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Brachiation Racing

Track for upper-body fitness... or gibbons.
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Brachiation is the act of swinging from bar to bar beneath a horizontal ladder. Such ladders are commonly called "monkey bars" (strictly speaking, monkeys are lousy brachiators, though the great apes are quite good).

The ladders would be 25 metres (81 ft. 3 in.) long; if placed on an American football field, they would reach from the goal line to the 27-yard-line. They would also be 8 metres (26 ft.) wide, so as to allow for eight lanes, each one metre (3 ft. 3 in.) wide.

Brachiators would try not to touch the ground. They could skip bars if they wished, but would not be required to. Some brachiators might like to begin a race by leaping past as many bars as possible before grabbing hold. This would be perfectly legal, but would increase the risk of falling. If a brachiator fell to the ground, he cluld drop out of the race by leaving the area. He could also continue the race from the bar from which he fell. Three falls during the course of a race would be cause for disqualification. Two false starts would be reason for disqualification.

The distances in this meet would be 25 metres (one full length of the ladder), 50 metres (one round trip, turning at the end and returning), 100 metres (two round trips), 250 metres (five round trips) and 500 metres (ten round trips). There should also be two relay events: the 4 X 50 and the 4 X 100.

Relay events would be conducted by teams of four. In the 4 X 50 metre relay, three members of the team stand behind a line two metres (6 ft. 6 in.) behind the ladder, while the lead brachiator makes one round trip. The next brachiator must remain behind this line until his teammate completes his trip and is on the ground. This continues until all four members of the team have brachiated to the end of the ladder and back. The team with the fastest time wins. The 4 X 100 meter relay is conducted in exactly the same manner, except that each brachiator makes two round trips before the next.

Finally, there would be the Brachiathlon, in which you simply brachiate for as long as you can. Round trip after round trip, the athletes try to outlast each other. The last athlete still on the ladder is the winner.

I have heard of children brachiating 100 metres, so this isn't unrealistic (though 500 may be). AFAIK, however, there are no organized competitive brachiation events.

Xenophile, Jun 07 2006

Competitive Brachiation http://scienceblogs...arn_to_walk_upr.php
How long until organized competitive brachiation sporting events are televised? [csea, Mar 07 2008]

[link]






       Cool. Welcome.   

       I like it, definetly would be fun to watch.
Pyro-Mania, Jun 08 2006
  

       I think they had this as a female alternative to the hand bikes on American Gladiators.   

       Interesting point re: monkeys and great apes.
Texticle, Jun 08 2006
  

       If the rules were set out carefully, paraplegics would also be able to compete successfully with other professional level athletes. I think that could be a good marketing point.
NoOneYouKnow, Jun 09 2006
  

       Could put pillars and garbage cans on the ground under the ladder, as obstacles for your feet.
phundug, Jun 09 2006
  

       Or an incline for more of a challenge. By 'brachiation', do you mean always having at least one hand on a bar or, swinging and launching yourself hands-free to the next bar? Both of them would be fun to watch but with the latter it would be more of a challenge and the bars could be placed farther apart.
jellydoughnut, Jun 09 2006
  

       In P. G. Wodehouse's books, somebody bet Bertie Wooster that he couldn't swing on the rings all the way across the Drones Club swimming pool. They had roped back the last set of rings, compelling him to drop into the water in full evening dress.   

       That and a few other items lead me to think that large sets of swinging rings used to be a part of fancy exercise equipment, especially in England. Olympic ring exercises are performed on a pair of rings hung on long chains. I think I remember seeing a room of rings on chains on some version of American Gladiators.   

       I'd like to see brachiation races done on rings on chains, just because it would be swoopier. Brachiating under ladders would be cool, too. +
baconbrain, Jun 10 2006
  

       I *might* manage to complete 25m.
wagster, Jun 11 2006
  

       // however, there are no organized competitive brachiation events. // Hmmm. Why would that be....?
MoreCowbell, Jun 13 2006
  

       +
DesertFox, Jun 14 2006
  

       I understand from my aged mother that she was able to teach me about brachiation when I was a very young lad. She used to read nightly to my sister and me, including the P.G. Wodehouse episode mentioned.   

       She studied anthropology at Radcliffe, and has had a lifelong interest in human animals.
csea, Jun 14 2006
  

       [MoreCowbell], I'd imagine that   

       a) nobody else thought of it, and   

       b) it's more expensive.   

       Sure, a modern track with all the bells and whistles is probably as expensive (or nearly so) as a ladder, even one with all the bells and whistles, but any poor school district can measure out an oval and have the kids run on it.
Xenophile, Jun 14 2006
  

       Ohh! Imagine the calluses on their hands! I can still feel the burning from my elementary schools days...   

       Well I suppose they would wear some sort of standardized glove or something, but still...
generaltso, Feb 24 2007
  

       anew word and a really cool idea my my what a day! takes me back to when i was swingin from tree to tree and walkin on me knuckles back then i could scratch meself whenever i wanted to...ah shoulda stopped half dozen words ago still id put my gibbon hand up to compete and id beat all your red asses too!
the dog's breakfast, Feb 25 2007
  

       How could I not bun this? Hell, I'll even throw in a banana so you can have a balanced breakfast.
drummac88, Mar 06 2008
  

       I think the relay version should involve multiple athletes on the ladder at one time - say the second team member jumps on when the first has reached the halfway point, and so on. This would mean the athletes having to pass each other at some point on their trip, resulting in exciting manoeuvres as both swing to avoid each other.
Mr Phase, Mar 08 2008
  

       What is that 'sport' where they spin round and jump between a pair of bars? I think they'd be good at this.
Loris, Dec 02 2009
  

       A relay with two athletes on the ladder at the same time could happen if the second person on the team begins as soon as the first has reached the end and turns around. I agree that having them pass each other could make for a more exciting race.   

       I imagine the brachiators always having one hand on a bar, but if one of them thinks he can make faster time by skipping bars and "going ballistic," hey I'm all for it. Risky, but fast if it works.
Xenophile, Jul 01 2012
  

       The distance between rungs would heavily favour very specific arm-length vs.weight physical characteristics.   

       That being said, I think the idea of a field sport played underneath a grid might be interesting.
FlyingToaster, Jul 01 2012
  

       The Lengua of Bolivia and Paraguay have a game (or ritual) in which young men fight whilst swinging from lianas.   

       They fight using thorned branches held in one hand whilst gripping the liana with the other hand (and, often, their feet). However, to be really good, they have to move from one liana to the next using only their free hand. The winner is the last one to fall to the ground.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 01 2012
  

       Ouch! But if you've got a link to a video, I'll watch it.
Xenophile, Jul 12 2012
  

       The Lengua, sadly, do not like to be photographed or filmed. This was made very crystal clear, in a decisive and non-verbal way, to my brother, Sturton.   

       A little research, however, shows that the Lengua were only too happy to be photographed up until about 1970, when they realized that they could command quite a high fee from ethnologists and National Geographic film crews.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2012
  

       Then toss them some cash! But really, I can't blame them. I'd want some payment if I was going to star in some foreign video.
Xenophile, Aug 06 2012
  

       out of interest, do the Olympics and other large sporting events test in such a manner as to determine if the contestant is a strategically shaven Orang Utan named Bongo? I mean, he wouldn't be on steroids or doing any blood doping or whatever... is there a specific must-be-a-human rule? If not, I recommend that the GB team for Rio be re-thought.. Most of the track events could be easily won by trained border collies... their top speed of 30+ mph and low cost diet would be a boon to the British Olympic effort.
bs0u0155, Aug 06 2012
  
      
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