How Germany Made A Competitive Sport Out Of 'Extreme Sitting'

Pretty much anything can be turned into a sport. Whether it's cup stacking, Quidditch, or beer pong, people will find a way to make a competition out of it. The country of Germany has done exactly that with one of the most common human behaviors: sitting. As Wired explains, hockern — which comes from the German word "hocker," meaning "stool" — is the sport of extreme sitting. 

Germany itself enjoys a multitude of extreme sports activities, like the German Triathlon Union, the German Aero Club, and the German Alpine Association (via Deutschland). But what sets hockern apart is that it's a sort of weird cross between parkour and gymnastics. The sport was first created by Stephan and Michael Landschütz, who are also the co-owners of the company SALZIGdesign. Since then, hockern has enjoyed numerous competitions and its own thriving communities. But what is the sport to begin with? Where is it played? And what are the competitions like? 

What is Hockern?

Though it is not yet internationally known, hockern has caught the attention of would-be German enthusiasts. Hockern involves athletes doing a bunch of difficult tricks, similar to something like skateboarding. And, like skateboarding, hockern players must stick a landing in order for their tricks to count. Basically, any kind of move or maneuver is allowed, but one has to actually land on their hockern stool in order for any of it to be legitimate (via Wired). 

As Oddity Central says, the stool that athletes use is a special one called a Sporthocker. Players can do all manner of tricks with it, like handstands, twirling — whatever seems flashy enough. Incorporating the Sporthocker into a routine is absolutely essential to the best performances. Team-based hockern exists alongside single-player hockern, both of which have their own incredibly impressive sets. The sport requires a wild amount of coordination and physical dexterity.

Where is Hockern played and who plays it?

As expected, the German sport is played throughout parts of Germany (as of now). As Oddity Central explains, hockern holds a fair amount of popularity in German nightclubs, with Hocktoberfest being among the most notable places for competitions. SALZIG Sporthocker frequently posts videos showcasing various hockern teams on their YouTube channel

Hockern enjoys a multitude of competitive teams, such as the Hockstars and those with SALZIG Sporthocker. A few notable players include Hannes Roth, Hockeraxel, Mr. Hat, Philippo, and more (via SALZIG Sporthocker). There was even a hockern competition held in Las Vegas at Skill Con back in 2016. One can get started in hockern by visiting its official website, which also sells various gear, stools, and even tutorials for mastering this strange extreme sport. Given the amount of fervent interest in the sport that has built over time, who knows where it will eventually land in terms of popularity.