One of the most popular traditional Chinese arts, Ti Jian Zi, known in the western world as shuttlecock kicking, requires a great deal of skill and practice.
The game of shuttlecock kicking is believed to have been invented sometime during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and gradually increased in popularity, to a point where shops that specialized in the making of shuttlecocks began appearing all over China. The art of shuttlecock kicking reached its climax during the Qing Dynasty, when competitions were held between masters of the game from all over the country.
The shuttlecock is basically just a coin wrapped in cloth, with a punch of feather inserted through a hole. The feathers slow the coin down as it descends. There are a variety of shuttlecock kicking techniques and styles, but they all aim to keep the shuttlecock in the air, for as long as possible.
Shuttlecock kicking requires players to kick the shuttlecock with their inner ankle, either by themselves, or to other players. While beginners struggle to even keep the damn thing in the air, some masters reach an amazing level of skill that allows them to execute unbelievable moves.
Since shuttlecock keepie-ups only requires a shuttlecock and a small area to practice, it remains one of the most popular kids games, but it’s also practiced by adults and senior citizens. It’s not only great fun, but also provides good exercise.
A national shuttlecock tournament has been held in China, every year since 1987, and the ancient art has been growing in popularity outside the country’s borders.