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International Traditions

          The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language defines tradition as "the passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by communication." The same goes for the sport of finger jousting which has many international traditions. The three we are going to cover are our sport's originating names, gestures of good disposition, and international names for the scoring index finger.

          Before the formation of the WFJF, the different games that finger jousting is a combined and modernized form of were known by different names besides finger jousting in some parts of the world. The two most common of those were finger wrestling and finger fencing. Finger wrestling was a poor name choice since our sport doesn't use grappling or pinning, and it was already the name for a Bavarian drinking game and sometimes used synonymously with the game of thumb wrestling. Finger fencing was a better name choice than finger wrestling, but finger jousting pays homage to its British roots and is steeped in tradition.

          Unlike the name of our sport, there isn't one thing decided upon for gestures of good disposition. The most popular of these gestures of good disposition are handshakes, bows, head nods, and man hugs. The handshake is often used as the proceeding gesture of good disposition (after the match) and has been used as an ancient gesture of showing good will and no hidden weaponry for thousands of years. Bows may have been borrowed from finger jousters in the Orient and are most often used as the preceding gesture of good disposition (before the match); most often it is done with the arms down at the sides of the legs and performed to a 90° angle if possible. Head nods are often used as preceding gestures of good disposition in leisure jousts especially when there is an intense rivalry between the jousters. Finally, man hugs are often used as proceeding gestures of good disposition between two jousters who are on friendly terms or very fatigued. Other officially accepted gestures of good disposition have existed in the past. The best example would be "skin" which was eliminated because of its unprofessional look, and it's finger jousting gang violence roots.

          The scoring index finger has gone by many names in its history. In modern finger jousting circles, it is known as the lance since lances are the instruments of scoring in jousting on horseback. Before the WFJF, those who referred to our sport as finger fencing called the scoring index finger the foil or epee. This point making finger has also been known as the sword (Europe), katana (Japan), spear (Israel), and pokey finger (Kindergarten).

          Tradition is important to the sport of finger jousting, because it is the factor that keeps jousters together. Tradition is the force that drives jousters to compete for titles and honor. Without tradition, a finger jouster would never truly be well rounded which is why it is one of the four quadrants of finger jousting.

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