“’This is how to start a thumb war, and both people should say it simultaneously…

1, 2, 3, 4 I declare a thumb war… 5, 6, 7, 8 Try and keep your thumb straight…’

This is the official thumb war starter, I always pronounce this rhyme before a battle! With the rhyme also comes hand gestures though, the competitors hands should be interlocked and then as the rhyme is said, the opponents cross their thumbs back and forth until the song is over and then the battle begins.”

Shauna was born and raised in Encino, California. She now attends CSUN in Northridge California, where she lives with her boyfriend. Shauna was taught this thumb war rhyme by her father when she was 3-years-old. Her father was always engaging Shauna with games and riddles and make a point of  always teaching her the “official way of doing things.” Shauna explained to me that thumb wars or thumb wrestling “is a serious sport, there are rules, and cheating is not tolerated!” The game is always started by the song and then two thumbs proceeded to battle until one thumb pins the other one, some variations have a specific number of seconds that the pinning must last, like in wrestling, but for Shauna, “a pin which lasts more than a second or two is legitimate.” The game itself is a common childhood game and Shauna remembers it being a game her parents used to suggest on road trips or plane flights when it was hard to carry a board game or other forms of entertainment.

Shauna demonstrated the rhyme and how to play the game when we were out to coffee, after learning the rhyme and the rules such as not using other fingers to help pin the other person’s thumb, we played. The idea of the game is obviously to play with another person, so not only was she a performer and taught me, I then became an active participant and could now teach someone else. I was a passive observer and then became and active participant.