Gloucestershire, England -- One of the most popular events at the annual "Cotswold Olimpick Games", The Shin-Kicking World Championships is a bruising discipline, not for faint hearted competitors or spectators.
Organizers say it's an age old fascination with pain that makes the Shin Kicking the main "Olimpick" event that draws the biggest crowds.
"When it comes down to it it's basically the same instinct that use to take people to hangings or guillotining, I think people like to see pain, they like to see people getting hurt, they like to root for their particular favorite but I think it's a precarious thrill, people like to see people doing something they don't necessarily have the guts to do and I think for that reason, it has a universal appeal," said competition judge James Wiseman.
All that is required to enter the event is two feisty feet and as much straw as you can shove in your pant legs to protect your shins. The idea is to kick your opponent's shins until you bring them down, the harder you kick, the more likely you are to win.
There are few rules to the competition, but certain regulations have been introduced over the years to make the event safer.
"We pretty sensible here in the Cotswolds, people sign a disclaimer. They go into it knowing what to expect, we do have ambulance crews standing by. I've been doing this for ten years and in that time I've only ever really seen one serious injury. So it's generally entered into in good spirit and we try and take every precaution possible to make it as safe as possible."Wiseman explained.
While the premise of the full contact sport may seem brutally simple, stamina, speed and agility are key to staying on your feet.
As one competitor, Matthew Fisher, discovered, too tired to carry on despite winning two out of his three bouts.
"I won the first one and the second one, he kicked at me and I went to try and kick him but I think I did just pull him down rather than kick his feet away and then, yeah, just after that I just had no energy, my legs gave up on me, so it's just an endurance thing so I am very pleased I did it," a drained Fisher said.
Each bout is decided on the best of three and competitors start by adopting a shoulder hold, leaving their legs and more specifically their shins free to inflict the damage. Giving the competition a gladiatorial atmosphere, thousands of spectators roared of approval when competitors hit the ground.
British contestant Ben Corfield emerged as this year's winner, beating Australian finalist Jessie Hunt.
Corfield, 32, a Civil engineer from Gloucester hadn't been looking forward to the final after collapsing from sheer exhaustion following the semi-finals, but he out-kicked his antipodean opponent in the deciding bout which lasted more than five minutes to take his victory.
"This is quite possibly the worst day of my life and probably the best, I feel terrible but also feel great," an exhausted but elated Corfield said after his win.
Attracting thousands of visitors each year the "Robert Dover Cotswold Olimpicks", first held in 1612, are held annually on Dover's Hill, near Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire.