Magyar nyilatkozat a China Dailyben
2011. október 21. Kína
Október 21-én az Európának szánt angol nyelvû kínai újságban, a China
Dailyben a lábtoll-labdázásról írt Zhang Xi. Írásában három európai, a német
Peter von Rüden, a görög Jordan Stavridis és a magyar Fehér János rövid
véleményére is kíváncsi volt.
A feathery balance
By Zhang Xi (China Daily)
Jianzi kicking, a traditional Asian game that emerged during the
Han Dynasty, is becoming popular around the world. [Provided to China Daily]
Badminton-like shuttlecock matches grow in popularity in China and
After years of sedentary office work, Wang Guiqin, 56, is starting
to feel spry once more.
Upon retirement, the Beijing native joined a group of similarly
aged folks for a daily dose of a traditional Asian game where participants use
only their feet and body (hands are not permitted) to keep a shuttlecock, which
is called a jianzi in Mandarin, lofted in the air.
Each day, Wang and her friends gather in a small garden to balance
and kick the weighted, feathered jianzi. Some play by themselves, while others
kick the shuttle back and forth to each other.
"I didn't exercise much because I had been working in an
office for a long time. After my retirement last year, I had hoped to find a
suitable way to stay in shape, so I began to play jianzi, which is not that
strenuous for me," Wang says.
Wang says she has not only gotten stronger physically, she has also
made some new friends because of the game, much as she did when she was young.
"Actually, when I was young, almost all girls knew how to play the game.
Nowadays, I play for health," she says.
But it's not only the elderly who are playing the game in the
streets and courtyards of China. Shuttlecock competitions are slowly cropping
up all over China, with officiated matches between teams of three players
leaping, kicking and spiking the jianzi growing in popularity.
The game apparently emerged during the Western Han Dynasty (206
BC-AD 24), more than 2,000 years ago. The game is believed to have evolved from
cuju, a game that has similarities to soccer and was used in military training.
Aside from the exercise of keeping the jianzi in the air, as Wang
does daily, there are two other ways of playing jianzi, both of which are
competitive. One is the shuttlecock competition, which is similar to badminton
in that a net is used between two teams on a small court.
The feathery jianzi, which buoys elegantly in the air when kicked
high, also lends itself to a sort of artistic performance, where a single
kicker uses a series of complicated movements to keep the shuttle aloft. This
artistic style of competition is scored similarly to gymnastics.
The first-ever national competition in China for the artistic style
of jianzi kicking was held in 1933, 16 years before the founding of the
People's Republic of China. It was not until the 1980s that people adapted the
game to shuttlecock competitions.
In 1987, China established the Chinese Shuttlecock Association and
in 1999, the International Shuttlecock Federation (ISF) was created at a time
when other countries around the world were beginning to recognize the sport.
Currently 21 nations and regions in the world recognize the ISF.
Last year, China hosted the 6th ISF World Shuttlecock
Championships, the third time the nation has played host to the games. Athletes
from 14 countries and regions participated, with China and Vietnam dominating
most of the events. The next competition will be held in Vietnam in 2013.
China also has its own national competition. Different cities in
this country have hosted the annual National Shuttlecock Championship for over
20 years through the scant support of local governments and shuttlecock
This year's game is being held this month in Jiangsu province and there
are approximately 450 participants, 100 more than last year.
There is also the China Shuttlecock Open, which made its debut last
year in the capital and attracted 35 teams of nearly 200 players, all of whom
came from corporations, universities and social organizations. This year's
China Shuttlecock Open, slated for the end of this month, will again be held in
Beijing and will include men, women and mixed divisions.
Jianzi is also growing in popularity in other countries such as
Germany, Hungary and Greece. Hungary, for example, was one of the first
countries aside from China to organize its own shuttlecock federation back in
Feher Janos, secretary general of the Hungarian Shuttlecock
Association and vice-president of the International Shuttlecock Federation,
says shuttlecock championships in Hungary have been organized since 1996. He
explained that the sport could develop even further if the ISF was a member of
the General Association of International Sport Federations and International
World Games Association, both of which are international bodies of smaller
Peter von Ruden, founder of the German Shuttlecock Federation and
one of the vice-presidents at the ISF, says Germany is also organizing
tournaments and leagues but said the sport could develop faster if games were
In Greece, the sport is blossoming. Jordan Stavridis, president of
the Greek Shuttlecock Federation (GSF), says the organization has 20 athletic
clubs and hundreds of athletes.
"We had the 1st Pan-Hellenic Shuttlecock Championships in 2003
and we are trying to play as much as we can," Stavridis says. "GSF
has begun the process of getting the sport to be officially recognized by our
sports ministry. We are pretty sure that the sport will be very popular not
only in my country but also around the world."
One major obstacle for the sport, at least in China, is the lack of
financial support and recognition from the central government and sponsors, say
several Chinese jianzi organizers.
"In the past, only local governments financially supported the
game," says Wei Yong, secretary-general for both the ISF and the Chinese
Shi Yanfang at the Beijing Shuttlecock & Rope Sports
Association agrees, saying: "We still lack money since many businessmen do
not think it is worth to support this game. Although TV stations broadcast our
competitions, not many people know about this activity. We still have to raise
money by ourselves."
But as the game of shuttlecock becomes popular throughout China and
in Europe, the development of the artistic style of kicking jianzi is slower.
Shi says that is because the artistic practice is much more difficult than the
"Although the artistic practice of jianzi has a longer history
than shuttlecock competitions, you need a lot of training to master the
artistic kicking methods, which has restricted its development," Shi says.
There are about 100 different movements in the artistic practice of
kicking jianzi. The only national competition in China for the artistic style
of jianzi was held in 2006, Shi says, though a second tournament could be held
Deng Dan, a former champion in artistic jianzi kicking, also hopes
the activity will develop in different regions in China.
"This activity is not that popular in China, especially in the
southern and western regions," says Deng, who adds that young people know
little about the sport in cities such as Chongqing in southwestern China.
"Here, elderly people prefer this sport," she says.