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LockSport

Have you heard? Move over David Beckham and Dame Kelly Holmes, for there’s not a sport around that can challenge the technical mettle and steely determination required of LockSport!

Predicted by Lockforce to be the new sports craze (trust us!), LockSport or Door Hardware Sport, as it is known to some die-hard lockthusiasts, is gaining increasing traction in the UK and further afield.
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The history of Locksport actually goes back further than you may think…to the 1850s in fact, which was a decade in which lock manufacturers both sides of the Atlantic began take lock security seriously. Public competitions were hosted to highlight the impenetrability of the locks being vended, which in turn cultivated an environment where lock-pickers could practice their skills without suspicion falling on their motives. It was the genesis of the noble pastime of LockSport that an increasing number of us are enjoying today.

And while the conventions made for great publicity, that’s not say that these lock manufacturers were wholly successful in their marketing ploys. One notable story remains that of the Bramah lock company, whose open challenge open to anyone to pick the darling of their lock portfolio at the London’s Great Exhibition of 1851 ended in an American challenger Alfred C Hobbs opening the device in no less than 24 days… in front of several judges and what one can only surmise as an exhausted audience! An incredulous Bramah were left with egg on their face and a hefty reward to pay out…

After the Bramah incident, LockSport then suffered a lull in activity until the rise of hacking as a popular pastime in the 90's again put lock security (both manual and digital) firmly back in the spotlight. Instead of through the guise of product shows, LockSport now made itself manifest in purpose-held ‘security conferences’. And while industry was involved, it was not for PR objective to which it was once driven. The efforts of lockpickers would rather be observed to highlight areas of vulnerability in lock designs that vendors could subsequently address before bringing their products to the wide public.

Indeed, one such organisation, TOOOL: The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers, was instrumental in identifying the tactic of lock bumping, a technique against which your authorised locks fitted by Lockforce are now protected. TOOOL hosts a celebrated lock picking tournament each year…albeit in a rural hostel described by one journalist as an Ikea gulag!!…Alas we at Lockforce predict it will be a fair while before door hardware sports receive the same recognition and funding as its more glamorous sporting counterparts.

Nonetheless, lock fever can certainly be seen to be taking hold, with lock picking competitions popping up across the continent! For Instance, the Czech Association of Lock and Key Services debuted its LONG AWAITED Lock exhibition this year for budding enthusiasts, meanwhile LockSport events in Poland, Germany and the UK continue to enjoy growing success.

But what about the ethics of practising a sport that can so easily be used for evil as well as good? While recognising that they could deploy their talents in breaking into people’s property, those interviewed say they just get a buzz out of the mechanics of picking locks…and that’s thrill enough for them! However, the undercover cops that are rumoured to attend the LockSport extravaganzas suggest not everyone is happy with LockSport’s growing fan-base…