Bloody knuckles

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The game is played with both players forming fists

Bloody knuckles is a game in which each player makes a fist with the thumb wrapped around the other fingers. Then each fist punches the other's fist. Players who flinch are out of the game. Whoever lasts the longest before quitting wins the game.[1] The game is played until someone's knuckles are bleeding or they quit due to excessive pain.[2] Variations include simultaneous or alternate punching, and games in which the strike is the loser's punishment/winner's privilege. In the first two ways of playing the game, violence, though essentially consensual, is inherent, not a risk. Almost all ways of playing are dangerous, carrying the risk of injury, scarring, and damage to one's bones and hand.

The rules of this game are simple: each combatant makes a fist and then the fists punch each other. You flinch, you lose. Whoever lasts the longest before quitting wins.[1]

"Bloody knuckles" may refer to any game where the loser is punished: punched, slapped, or struck with an object. For example, in the card game, the winner strikes the loser's hand with the deck of cards.[3][4]

One of the most famous nonsanctioned playground games is bloody knuckles...a simple game that tests your speed, your strength, and most important, your tolerance for pain. Two kids stand facing each other with knuckles touching. Then one tries to whatck the other's knuckles as hard as he can. Next, the other kid goes. Back and forth, whack after whack. This game goes on until one of them quits for a simple reason: the pain becomes too intense.

— Jud Wilhite, pastor[5]

There are different variations of the game. One variation, quarters, where two players use a coin, such as a quarter, that is spun around a flat surface (usually a table). The players continue to keep it spinning by flicking it with their fingers. The other player must touch it without causing it to stop spinning and fall on the heads or tails side. Then the person who spun the coin first tries to touch it next. This turn-taking continues until the coin falls. Whichever player's touch causes the spinning coin to stop and fall down is considered the loser, and they must put their knuckles on the playing surface. Then, the winner puts their thumb on the coin and forcefully pushes it across the table onto the loser's exposed knuckles.

Another version includes spinning a coin on a flat surface, then grabbing it with the pad of the players thumb with the thumbs crossed like an x. If the player grabs the coin between the thumbs they rotate spinning until one does not grab the coin. When the player does not grab the coin, the opponent forcefully slides the coin into the losers knuckles with the knuckles flat on the surface with one arm behind if they miss the knuckles. Whoever bleeds any amount first loses.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Daniel H. Wilson; Les McClaine (2010). Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 1-59990-279-6. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  2. ^ Ghastly Games, accessed July 27, 2011, Chris Lewis editor
  3. ^ Litwack, Geoffrey (2003). Geoffrey Litwack 2002 Annual, p.53. iUniverse. ISBN 9780595267606. "Winning means the losing player puts their clenched fist on the table, and the winner holding the deck in a steel grip, brings down the edge of the deck as hard as they want on the loser's knuckles."
  4. ^ Salamone, Nancy (2010). Victory Over Violence: Nancy's Story and The Business Of Me, p.15. AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781452025094. "The person with the lowest score wins and gets to 'bloody' the knuckles of the loser by hitting them with the cards."
  5. ^ Wilhite, Jud (2011). Torn: Trusting God When Life Leaves You in Pieces, p.13-4. Doubleday Religious. ISBN 9781601420732.