The knuckle hop has been described as a "pain game". It is characteristic of many Inuit games in that it tests an athlete's ability to endure pain as well as their physical abilities and technical skills.
The competitor positions himself in the prone position on the floor. The elbows are flexed to a 90-degree angle and tucked firmly into the sides of the body, the wrists are extended and locked and the hands are clenched into fists. When the athlete raises his body into the starting position, he is supported only on his toes and knuckles of the clenched fists.
From this position, the athlete propels off the floor and hops forward with the hands and feet breaking contact with the ground simultaneously; the athlete lands on both hands and feet simultaneously and immediately executes the next hop. The attempt ends when the athlete touches the ground with any part of the body other than the toes and knuckles, or when the back drops below the plane of the elbows.
The athlete who covers the greatest distance is declared the winner.
About Northern Games
The traditional Northern Games originate from the time when the Inuvialuit were still semi-nomadic and are played for both fun and survival, developing strength, endurance, and resistance to pain, or when groups from different areas visited.
Today, the annual Northern Games keeps the traditions of celebration, gathering, and sharing alive.