Quiet Mumblings

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Jianzi - Why Badminton is for Wimps

JianziA Jianzi (or 毽子) is a set of circular weights with feathers sticking out, like the one in the picture on the right. It resembles a badminton shuttlecock, and it is thought that Jianzi was the key inspiration for the discovery of badminton in Greece 2000 years ago. Unlike badminton, a Jianzi is played primarily with the feet, not a racquet.

There are various games you can play with a Jianzi - you can play by yourself or with others. The simplest form is a kind of keep-it-up where players can work together or against each other in order to keep the shuttlecock in the air for the longest time possible. For a demo check out this video of Chinese schoolchildren playing jianzi. You can take this one stage further and turn it into a volleyball-like sport played between two teams - there are some videos of this sport on the Dutch Jianzi Football site.

Although the game is known in Europe, unfortunately it is not popular and it is hard to acquire a proper Jianzi here. But if you travel anywhere in Asia you can usually find one fairly easily - it is great exercise and you can get pretty skilled with practise.

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