Land Based Sports & Activities

Traditional Sports & Activities

Tug-of-War (Bahe)

This is the Tug-of-War and is a traditional game in which practically all ethnic groups participate with vigor. In the past, it was usually held during the Lantern Festival and between two neighboring villages. At one time the rope would be made from bamboo but from the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) people began to use twine instead. The main rope often had several branches to enable as many people as possible to join in. The number of branches tied to the main rope has been a hundred or more on occasions and as the contestants tugged to the encouragement of beating drums, the event would be very exciting.

Today, the Tug-of-War is popular at sporting events in schools as well as company socials. The game provides an entertaining highlight and causes considerable good natured amusement. However, the team that wins does so not only through strength but with the spirit of cooperation.

Ancient Football (Cuju)

This is ancient Chinese football and Cuju is the oldest football game in the world. According to historical records, it appeared back the Shang Dynasty (16th century BC - 11th century BC) and the equipment was a stone ball which was promoted by the army to build up a strong constitution among the soldiers. In the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220), it became even more popular and was written into military science of the day. There were no less than 25 versions of the game. It is said that the first emperor of this dynasty Liu Bang was proud of his father who was quite good at player the ancient football - Cuju. In the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279),

The earliest football club or guild was founded and named 'Yuanshe'. At that time many literary and art works were created on the theme of Cuju, which verified its prosperity. It was fashionable at all levels of society, folk or court, city or frontier defense. It was played by adults and children and both men and women. Although women in feudal times were of a low status and were precluded from many outside occasions, the playground seemed the exception where they could appear in public.

However, it gradually fell into decline, maybe because of the traditional notion of peace and benevolence. Although Cuju was originally a competitive game people, especially the ruling classes, sought to change its nature to one for amusement only.

Today this game has been brought into the sixth China's National Games of Minority Nationality's Traditional Sports.

Top-Spinning (Da Tuoluo)

This game which is basically spinning a top using a whip also has a long history among almost all the various groups of people but especially for children. In 1926, a top was excavated proving that the game existed 4,000 years ago! A whip is used to spin the top which can be made of pottery, stone, wood or bamboo. While the tops used by children are small and often colorful, those used in competitions are quite different. Tops for formal games usually weigh around 0.45 kilogram (0.99 pound) and the whips are at least 2 meters (6.56 feet) long. As you can guess it is difficult to handle them.

Top spinning was once a world wide popular street game for children. The cord of the whip is wound round the top that is placed on the ground of a smooth surface which may even be ice. The whip is pulled back causing the top to spin. It is kept spinning and the momentum increased with the aid of the whip. In China this simple pastime has been developed into a competitive sport. Competition rules vary in many ways. In one, often referred to a 'Battling Tops', two players will cause their tops to collide in an effort to cause the opponent's top to fall - the one that stays spinning is the winner. A variation is to get the top to spin over obstacles, a feat requiring great skill and concentration; again it is the player of the top that spins the longest that is the winner.

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