Early European Roots of the Fling

History of Catflinging
The Classic Flingist
Early European Roots
The Middle Ages
The Highland Fling
Development of the Art
The Cat in Warfare
Cats in Duelling
Cats Used in Hunting
Cats in Household Defense
Catflinging in the Olympics
The Joy of Flinging
Other Types of Flinging
Improv. That Didn't Work
Famous Flingists

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Early European Roots

Petroglyphs discovered in the cave of Cridwth near Aberystwyth in northern Wales and tentatively dated eleventh to seventh century B.C. reveal that cat flinging was not only practiced in the isles at the time, but had achieved, as a sport, a remarkable degree of technical sophistication. Unlike the Greek games, cat flinging was evidently practiced to the exclusion of other sports.

Flinging for distance was clearly the highest priority to the ancient Britons. They realized early that much greater distances could be achieved if the radius of the swing were made longer. This could be accomplished up to a point with the use of a sling which could be let out gradually as the swing increased in speed. The result was a considerable increase in centrifugal force, far beyond anything the Greeks would have achieved with their short slings and direct hand holds.

The primary factor still limiting distance was now no longer the speed with which the cat was swung but the maximum radius of the swing. Effectively flinging for distance requires flinging at an angle of about forty-five degrees, at which angle the maximum sling length seems to have been about three feet, as confirmed by fragmentary evidence -- any longer, and the cat would hit the ground on the down swing. The earliest fling sites of Cornwall and Devon are characterized by semicircular pits, designed evidently to increase safe space on the down swing. Fossil evidence from the period would, however, tend to indicate that the margin of safety was inadequate. It is, unfortunately, impossible to say whether this reveals that Britons were shorter than we presently suspect, the cats longer, or that the entire Celtic race was under the impression that they were actually taller than they really were. The presence of archaeological evidence disproving the first two would tend to indicate that the last seems to be the most probable. In any case, the semi- circular trench concept was hard on cats.

The problem of increasing swing radius was later solved entirely, the only remaining limiting factors being the power of the flingist and the tensile strength of the cat. The solution was simply to raise the flingist on a platform thereby eliminating altogether any danger to the cat. Speeds thus attained must have been immense as swing radii were commonly in excess of twenty feet. Attempts at channel flinging are probable. It is highly gratifying to the researcher that clear and obvious evidence of this practice was never successfully eradicated by those forces bent of the annihilation of all vestiges of our flinging heritage -- indeed such a task would have been difficult. To this day, standing stones throughout Europe remain as much misinterpreted testimony to the dedication and devotion with which our ancestors revered the ancient sport.