Jianzi: Wikis


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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

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]


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 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 (eg. 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.[3]


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.[4] Over the next 1000 years, this shuttlecock game spread throughout Asia, acquiring a variety 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.[5]

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.[6] 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).

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 plastic base. It weighs approximately 15 grams. The total length is 15 to 18 cm. 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

Other names

  • Vietnam - đá cầu
  • Malaysia - sepak bulu ayam
  • Singapore (and SE Asia) - chapteh or capteh or chatek
  • Korea - jegichagi or jeigi (to most Koreans know 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]http://www.pili-aep.com

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.[7][8]

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


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