What do metal projectiles, screaming males, and explosives have in widespread? The reply is the nationwide sport of Colombia: tejo.
By no means heard of it? It is garden bowls on steroids, or badminton with hand grenades – a refreshing mixture of adrenaline, testosterone and gunpowder. And the correct manner of enjoying, it’s stated, entails consuming ludicrous quantities of beer as you go. What may probably go flawed? And why does a sport as innocuous as bingo need to contain the potential of dismemberment in loopy Colombia?
Tejo relies on a recreation developed by indigenous warriors greater than 450 years in the past in Turmeque, within the Boyaca division, the place it was typically performed to earn the proper to wed a spicy maiden from an opposing tribe. Gameplay consisted of hurling golden discs right into a gap roughly 20 meters away. A few of these historical gold discs could be seen on show in regional museums, however most have been melted down by the Spanish of their tireless quest for the dear metallic. Nevertheless, the conquistadors did make their very own refined enchancment to the sport – they added explosives to the combo.
The game’s present incarnation options dense metal discs, thrown right into a field measuring one meter sq. on the far finish of the tejo lane. A small paper triangle filled with gunpowder sits on the lip of a plastic circle within the heart of the clay-filled field.
Gamers rating one level for getting nearer than their opponents, three factors for lighting the gunpowder on impression, six factors for getting their tejo disc within the circle, and 9 factors for doing the entire above (surprisingly, no factors are awarded for retaining your fingers throughout the complete recreation).
Many rural pueblos sport tejo fields, and locals are all too prepared to disgrace you in entrance of their girlfriends. However don’t suppose that is only a man’s sport: muscly Colombian chicas are additionally completely happy to trounce you within the artwork of exploding garden darts.
To enhance your accuracy, copy the locals’ wrist-flick – it offers the disc a spiral motion like a soccer and makes you look much less beginner. Put some Shakira hip-action into your throw to distract and amuse; it is likely to be your solely probability. If all else fails, accuse your opponent of dishonest mid-game or throw a rock at his decrease again simply as he tosses, to unleash an alcohol-fueled rant and launch some tejo-tension.
However thoughts your digits while you fish your tejo disc from the clay. Generally the gunpowder goes off with out warning, and tales abound of gamers dropping eyes and fingers, but persevering with to play their beloved recreation into their 90s.
Youth leagues practise on the weekends, with smaller quantities of gunpowder and minimal grownup supervision, in a Russian roulette of guffawing, working and firecracker pops. However do not even take into consideration smearing the nice title of tejo. When requested in regards to the prudence of youngsters enjoying with dwell explosives, the referee assured me, ‘Oh tejo’s not harmful. It is the gunpowder that is harmful.’ Kick-boxing appears so lame now.
Dominic Bonuccelli travelled to Colombia on project for Lonely Planet. You may comply with his adventures on Lonely Planet: Roads Much less Travelled, screening internationally on Nationwide Geographic.