Jianzi has to be one of the most entertaining games to play and spans over 2000 years of history, the earliest records being from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.). Jianzi translates as little shuttlecock and two official versions of the game exist. The first is simple in which the participants stand in a circle and prevent the shuttlecock from touching the ground by hitting it upwards with any part of the body apart for the hands. Any number can play, from two upwards, but obviously the larger the circle becomes the more difficult it is to control the shuttlecock. The other version is a competitive game of two teams in which the shuttlecock is kicked between the teams over a net, similar to badminton. Jianzi remains extremely popular in the parks of China and its popularity has spread around the globe. Playing the game is an excellent warm-up before class and improves the player's leg dexterity as well as working all of the muscles that are important for kicking.
Jianzi - the Kung Fu game