How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?)

While you read why not listen to my album ‘Electro Baroque‘ (all tracks are also available on iTunes using the link here)? Classical music using modern instruments:

or if you prefer to listen to my electro/techno album ‘Studio Valiumm‘ here are the videos (also on iTunes using the link here):

More info about my music is at the dedicated website www.TRANSFORMATES.com

It is quite likely that the International Olympic Committee were rather confused when they learned that the number of Germans (especially in the South) watching the Olympic closing ceremony was considerably lower than they had predictedWell I have to say it was pretty short-sighted of the Olympic organisers to schedule their closing ceremony to coincide with one of the cultural and sporting highlights of the Alpine calendar. On Sunday 12th August 2012 the Bavarian Championship in Fingerhakeln (Sports involving your Middle Finger) took place in the town of Lenggries, Upper Bavaria.

In case you are not familiar with middle finger wrestling let me explain what this major Alpine sporting event involves. Two gentlemen in traditional Alpine dress (Lederhosen and Alpine felt hat) sit facing one another over a table. The manner in which the table is attached to the floor is specified in the rules for the sport. A line is drawn in the middle of the table and the two gentlemen insert their middle fingers (one each) into a leather ring.

The objective of the sport is to pull your opponent over the table using only your middle finger. Perhaps the best way for me to describe the wild excitement which accompanies these events is by sharing a couple of videos with you. Please, however, be warned: there is a lot of blood and some of the spectators can get a bit carried away with their passion for the sport.

Video 1 from Bavaria (Local Fingerhakeln event in Bavarian Schnaitsee)

Video 2 from St. Koloman near Salzburg (Alpine International Championships in Austria featuring Josef Utzschneider from Bavaria – Heavy Weight Alpine Fingerhakeln Champion 2011. If you learned Hochdeutsch at school now is the chance to test it! )

For such an important sport there are some very precise rules. The leather ring is clearly defined and the only material the Alpine wrestlers can use on their hands is magnesium powder which facilitates finger grip. It is also laid down in the rules how the opponents can brace themselves against the table to try to resist being pulled over it. The two people standing behind the ‘Haklers‘ are there to help them when they fall backwards. The man in the middle is the referee and ensures the leather ring is exactly in the centre of the table before allowing the bout to commence.

The sport has an interesting history. Originally Finger Hakeln was introduced as a way of settling local disputes. If two farmers felt strong affection for the same lady they could determine who is the most appropriate partner by finger wrestling. This may explain why the idea of ladies participating in the sport is for Alpine gentlemen a strict no-no. Maybe we need to bring Nicola Adams over to the Alps to show them a thing or two about how Yorkshire ladies perform in the big ring. I certainly wouldn’t advise an Alpine gentleman to try to challenge this lady to a friendly bout with his middle finger.

A historical understanding of the origins of finger wrestling throws light on that quaint custom in the Alps of raising one’s middle finger when one is angry with someone. Traditionally this was a way of inviting the opposing person to a finger hakeln bout in order to settle the issue in a gentlemanly way. Therefore my advice to visitors is to use the raised middle finger gesture sparingly when travelling through this region (and if you are considering using the gesture it would be advisable to do some weight training with the finger in question – this is one of the ways that the local champions train).

As far as I am aware there have been no instances of doping in Finger Hakeln apart from the consumption of copious quantities of beer, which in Bavaria is considered to be a form of nutrition (if you would like to read more about german beer and its history please see my article on this subject by clicking here). Middle finger wrestling is a ‘clean’ sport (apart from the blood, magnesium and occasionally some spilled beer). It would make an ideal candidate for future olympics. In fact the Munich Beer Festival (Oktoberfest) would make an excellent permanent venue for the Finger Hakeln Olympics. If you are considering visiting the Oktoberfest and you see men in felt hats and lederhosen with their middle fingers inserted into their rings it would not be a bad idea to be friendly and offer them a beer! Certainly do not show them your middle finger! They are probably training for the Finger Hakeln Olympics

If you like fun you will love my recent video about ‘Pretty Boy Sally’:

This & 5 other TRANSFORMATES 變 Tracks are now released on the EP TRANS 1: EVOLUTION available to download in Sept 2014 from record stores (incl. ITUNES, AMAZON,… ) or immediately from the global distributor here.

Read more about the humorous escapades of the TRANSFORMATES project here.

Happy Finger Hakeln,

Chris Duggleby

If you found this review of interest you may find some of my other recent articles worth reading. To do so just click on the titles below:

31st March 2014: Women In the Army: Germany – Problems with Sexual Harassment,Scandinavian Solution ….Sleeping Together

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

24th February 2014: NAZI Research into the use of Mosquitoes as Biological Weapons to Infect Allied Troops with Malaria.

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine – The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen.

28th December 2012: If you want to suck on my worm you had better whistle my song! 

23rd December 2012: Lower Saxony puts naked winter sports event on ice for safety reasons following massive popularity of undressed ladies on sledges and fears of over exposure. 

22nd December 2012: German tax authorities require lorry drivers to keep a toilet log-book(“LKV Fiscal Bog Log”).

25th August 2012: Bubble Tea – German scientists claim to have found traces of carcinogenic chemicals.

25th August 2012: Sex Tax declared a success by Bonn – once again Germany leads the way in fiscal innovation with high-tech self-service sex tax collection system.

18th August 2012: Polar Bear dies of Encephalitis after catching Herpes from a Zebra in Wuppertal Zoo near Düsseldorf.

4th August 2012: Sexual Equality on the Slide: It Started with Men-only Parking in Triberg – Now we have a Men-only Waterslide in Erding.

4th August 2012: Alpine Cows are Fined 100 Euros by Judge for Ringing their Cow-bells too Loud (Steiermark Kuhglockenstraffe: die Kirchenglocken zunächst?)

4th August 2012: Should Horses be Forced to Wear Diapers to Keep Berlin Visitors’ Shoes free of Poo? (Pferdeäpfel Verursachen viel Dampf um Brandenburger Tor).

28th July 2012: Boxing Fellow Inmates to Survive Auschwitz – Cartoon Story of Hertzko Haft by Reinhard Kleist. 

28th July 2012: Naked Night Swimming in the Lakes Around Munich (costumes and towels are for wimps!)

28th July 2012: Naked In-line Skating in Dachau (Is this Germany’s Preparation for a new Olympic Event? – Watch out Beach Volleyball!)

7th July 2012: Sexual Equality in the Black Forest town of Triberg: Men only parking spaces.

If you are interested in similar reviews to these please visit the contents page of articles my English language Alpine press articles. The link is here.

Now prepare for an uplifting experience! 

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One thought on “How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?)

  1. Pingback: 19 Bizarre National Customs From Around The World | World Ugliest Baby Portal

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