The Evolution of Two-Person Sports: From Ancient Origins to Modern Thrills

The history of two-person sports dates back to the ancient world with a range of activities. Sports, an excellent combination of entertainment and exercise has many forms and has changed numerous times over the years.

From traditional sports to modern sports to Olympic sports, we will cover the most popular and engaging two player sports of all time!

1. Fencing

This Olympic sport is one of the most traditional games out there. Fencing is a combat sport which includes the skills of a classic swordsmanship, involving duels and self-defense. The first game of fencing was played somewhere between 17th to 19th century in Europe. A lot of people are unaware of what fencing is and how is it played. Two athletes engage in a competition of attack and defense with the aim to strike the fellow contestant with a unique sword to receive a point.

The player with the higher number of points wins. There is a special uniform and set of equipment that is worn by the fencers. The modern version of fencing involves three disciplines, with different rules and blades: the foil, the épéeand the saber. This is a not a solo sport but a tough yet unique sport that requires a lot of practice and endurance.

2. Badminton

Commonly played as a game of singles (two players play against each other) or doubles (two players in each team), badminton is undoubtedly one of the most popular and common sports in the world. The origin of badminton goes back to mid-19th century which was earlier played as a game of battledore (former name for racquet) and shuttlecock. It is played formally in an indoor badminton court or casually outdoors by people of all ages.

3. Beach Volleyball

The first game of beach volleyball is supposedly said to be played and recorded at a beach in Hawaii which gave name to the sport. Soon, it became famous in parts of US and other countries as it was a cheap sport that could be played easily with a group of people. The activity consists of two players in each team on each side, where they play a game with the objective to throw the ball in the ground of the opponent’s court over the net. This has evolved as an Olympic sport where the two person per team game is played in a sand court with the same rules applied as above.

4. Table Tennis

This is a table sport which was originally known as ping pong, also how it is casually addressed today too. Table tennis is a game of racket/bat and ball which is played on a flat table with a net in between. It is a competitive sport that is simple to learn although it can be challenging.

5. Racquetball

Racquetball is a mixture of squash, tennis and American handball which was invented by Joe Sobek around the 1950s. The English term ‘racquet’ is an old way of saying the modern word ‘racket’. This easy to learn yet difficult to master sport involves a short racket and a hollow rubber ball which is played in an indoor court, with a single opponent usually. The key is to hit the ball as fast as you can once it hits the ground. It cannot hit the ground twice or the ball hitting the other opponent, which in that case, the game is replayed. This active sport requires a good level of speed, coordination and balance. It is considered as a full body cardio as you are using all of your muscles to play this game.

6. Wrestling

A form of martial arts that is watched and enjoyed by many people around the world. This is considered to be one of the oldest combat sports out of all time. Wrestling is a two-player sport that involves a series of grappling techniques with the aim being to hold or throw down the opponent. There are two types of wrestling at the Olympic games: Freestyle and Greco-Roman, where the player cannot attack the fellow contestant below their waist or use legs to hold one another. Other than that, there are a lot of international wrestling championships held in different parts of the world.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is a professional and popular wrestling company founded in 1980 which has been grown into different fields and is followed by people across the globe.

7. Tennis

Another Olympic sport that is commonly played as a two-person sport. Tennis is played as singles, doubles and mixed doubles (different gender teams) game. Although similar rules are applied as in racquetball, the players face each other on opposite sides of a court with a large net in between. The ball must pass through the net in order to score a shot and a player cannot step over the net to hit it.

Fun fact: ‘jeu de paume’ a game close to tennis was first played in 11th century in France. This game was played inside a monastery courtyard, where the players used their palms to hit the ball.

8. One-on-One Basketball

A classic game of basketball that can be played one on one in an indoor court or outside in an open area, with the same sets of rules and game as played in the team sport. Basketball has been around for a while with its booming popularity in teenagers and young adults. It is played widely in schools and universities and also professionally at a national and international level. The one-on-one basketball became famous after the World War II.

9. Mixed Martial Arts

This action sport that is a combination of several combat sports (boxing, jiu-jitsu, wrestling and judo etc.) from across the world has emerged as one of the fastest growing multi-combat sports. Mixed martial arts (MMA) involve different fighting techniques such as grappling, striking, kicking and ground fighting.

There are separate events held for females and males. The term MMA was first used in 1993 by a television critic Howard Rosenberg in a United Fighting Championship event.

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Written by Openiun