Shuttlecock player

Jiànzi (毽子), ti jian zi (踢毽子), ti jian (踢毽) or jiànqiú (毽球) is a traditional Asian game in which players aim to keep a heavily weighted shuttlecock in the air using their feet and other parts of the body (but not hands, unlike the similar games peteca and indiaca). The game, which goes by many different names (see below), may be rules-based on a court similar to badminton and Volleyball, or be played artistically, among a circle of players in a street or park, with the objective to keep the shuttle 'up' and show off skills. In Vietnam, it is known as đá cầu and is the national sport, played especially in Hanoi.

In recent years, the game has gained a formal following in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.

In English, both the sport and the object with which it is played are referred to as "shuttlecock" or "featherball". No racquets are used.


The game

Jianzi as folk sport

The shuttlecock, called a jianzi in the Chinese game and also known in English as a 'Chinese hacky sack' or 'kinja', typically has four feathers fixed into a rubber sole or plastic discs. Some handmade jianzis make use of a washer or a coin with a hole in the center.

During play, various parts of the body, but not the hands, are used to keep the shuttlecock from touching the ground. It is primarily balanced and propelled upwards using parts of the leg, especially the feet. Skilled players may employ powerful and spectacular overhead kicks.[1] In China, the sport usually has 2 playing forms: Circle Kick among 5-10 peoples, and Duel Kick between 2 kickers. Circle Kick uses upward kicks only for keeping shuttlecock not touching ground. Duel Kick is very popular recently among Chinese young players, using "Flat Kick" techniques like Shooting Goal techniques in soccer sports. Therefore, the "Flat Kick" techniques applied in Chinese JJJ games as major attacking skills.

The formal game

Competitively, the game is played on a rectangular court 6.10 by 11.88 metres, divided by a net (much like badminton) at a height of 1.60 metres (1.50 metres for women).[2] The new game of Ti Jian Zi called "Chinese JJJ" has been invented by Mr. John Du in 2009, which uses low middle net of 90 cm & inner lines of the standard badminton court, applying soccer's shooting goal techniques for exciting attacking each other. The book "Chinese JJJ Rules & Judgement" in Chinese has been published by China Society Pressing House in May of 2010, the English version of the book is translating now & will be published before the end of 2011 by author's plan. 5 formal events included in Chinese JJJ just similar as in Tennes games: Men's & Women's Single, Men's & Women's Doubles, Mixed Doubles. [3],

The informal game

There are unlimited variations of the game, such as trying to keep the feathercock in the air until an agreed target of kicks (e.g. 100) is reached, either alone or in a pair. In circle play, the aim may be simply to keep play going. In all but the most competitive formats, a skillful display is a key component of play. [4] There are 2 informal games in Chinese JJJ games using the same middle net: "Team game" having 3 players on each side & "Half court game" using just a half court for double player game only. [5]


The first known version of jianzi was in the 5th century BC in China. The name ti jian zi, means simply 'kick shuttlecock' ('ti' = kick, 'jian zi' = little shuttlecock). The game is believed to have evolved from cuju, a game similar to football that was used as military training.[6] Over the next 1000 years, this shuttlecock game spread throughout Asia, acquiring a variety of names along the way.

Jianzi has been played since the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), and was popular during the Six Dynasties period and the Sui and Tang dynasties. Thus the game has a history of two thousand years. Several ancient books attest to its being played.[7]

Shuttlecock player

Modern history

Jianzi came to Europe in 1936, when a Chinese athlete from the province of Jiangsu performed a demonstration at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. In Germany and other countries people began to learn and play the sport, now called 'shuttlecock'.

In June 1961, a film about the sport called The Flying Feather was made by the Chinese central news movie company, winning a gold medal at an international movie festival.[8] In 1963, jianzi was taught by teachers in elementary school so that it became even more popular.

Well known in Asia, the game has been gaining popularity in Europe. The World Shuttlecock Championship is an annual event held since the founding of the International Shuttlecock Federation (ISF) in 1999. Until then, various countries took turns organising championships.

The sport continues to receive greater recognition, and was included as a sport in the 2003 Southeast Asian Games and in the Chinese National Peasants' Games. Among the members of ISF are China, Taiwan, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Laos, Vietnam, Greece, France, Romania, and Serbia. Vietnam and China are generally considered best, while in Europe, Hungary and Germany are strongest. On August 11, 2003, delegates from Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia founded the Shuttlecock Federation of Europe (S.F.E.) in Ujszasz (Hungary).

After being invented in 2009, Chinese JJJ got much faster spreading all over China due to its techniques similar to soccer sport, its simple skills friendly to beginners and its fun for skilled players. In June 2010, Chinese JJJ's "The First Beijing Invitational Tournament" held successfully, having participation by foreign players such as "German Shuttlecock King" Martin, who was a former professional soccer player before studying in Beijing. In 2 years till May of 2011, there were foreign players of more than 10 countries played the game, proving firmly the game's attractiveness to soccer players. In 2011, the first formal Chinese JJJ Championship will hold in province ShanDong, and a couple of other provinces are planned to follow.

In August 2011, an American company released a toy called Kikbo based on jianzi.[9]

Health benefits

Playing shuttlecock is vigorous aerobic exercise, and provides the health benefits of any active sport. Building hand-eye coordination is also good for the health of the brain.

Shuttlecock sport Jianzi

Official jianzi for competitions

The official featherball used in the sport of shuttlecock consists of four equal-length goose or duck feathers conjoint at a rubber or plastic base. It weighs approximately 15-25 grams. The total length is 15 to 21cm. The feathers vary in colour, usually dyed red, yellow, blue and/or green. However, in competitions a white featherball is preferred. The Official Jianzi for Competitions The Shuttlecock uses in Chinese JJJ games weighs 24-25 grams. The height from the bottom of rubber base to top of the shuttlecock is 14-15 cm, the width between tops of 2 opposite feathers is 14-15 cm.

Other names

  • USA - kikbo[9]
  • Vietnam - đá cầu
  • Malaysia - sepak bulu ayam
  • Singapore (and SE Asia) - chapteh or capteh or chatek
  • Korea - jegichagi or jeigi (to most Koreans known as sports only for children)
  • Indonesia - bola bulu tangkis or sepak kenchi
  • Philippines - larong sipa
  • Macau - chiquia
  • India - poona (forerunner of badminton) (unknown to most Indians)
  • Greece - Podopterisi
  • France - da câu or plumfoot or pili
  • Poland - zośka
  • The Netherlands - "Voetpluim" or "voet pluim" or "Jianzi"

Related games, derivatives and variants

Sepak takraw is popular in Malaysia, using a light rattan ball about five inches in diameter. (Sepak means "kick" in Malay, and takraw means "ball" in Thai.)

Indiaca or featherball is played with the same shuttlecock as jianzi but on a court, similar to a badminton court, and played over the net using the hands.[10]

Kemari was played in Japan (Heian Period). It means ‘strike the ball with the foot’.

Chinlone is a non-competitive Burmese game that uses a rattan ball and is played only in the circle form, not on a court.


External links

Official organisations

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • jiānzi — [ref dict= Universal (Ch Ru) ]尖子[/ref] …   Chinese phonetic list

  • jiǎnzi — [ref dict= Universal (Ch Ru) ]剪子[/ref], [ref dict= Universal (Ch Ru) ]茧子[/ref], [ref dict= Universal (Ch Ru) ]趼子[/ref] …   Chinese phonetic list

  • 件子 — jiànzi [piece] [方]∶件 两件子衣裳 …   Advanced Chinese dictionary

  • 剪子 — jiǎnzi [scissors; ctippers; scissors] 即剪刀, 剪切东西时用 …   Advanced Chinese dictionary

  • 尖子 — jiānzi (1) [bite; pinnacle]∶顶尖 (2) [suddenly resounding music for voices in a Chinese opera]∶戏曲中指忽然高亢的唱腔 (3) [the best of it s kind]∶出类拔萃的人; 领头的人 体育尖子 …   Advanced Chinese dictionary

  • 毽子 — jiànzi [shuttlecock] 见 毽 踢毽子 …   Advanced Chinese dictionary

  • 犍子 — jiānzi [castrated bull] [方]∶犍牛 …   Advanced Chinese dictionary

  • 茧子 — jiǎnzi (1) [silkworm] [方]∶蚕結的茧 (2) [callus]∶见 趼子 …   Advanced Chinese dictionary

  • Guqin — …   Wikipedia Español

  • Guqin — Classification Chinese Silk (絲) …   Wikipedia

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