Traditional Chinese culture regards physical fitness as an important aspect, and, since the 20th century, a large number of sports activities, both Western and traditional Chinese, are popular in China.
- Ping-Pong, table tennis is the biggest amateur recreational sport in China today, in the world with an estimated 300 million players and on at international professional level with the highest-ranked players.The sport played an important role in China’s international relations; in April 1972, the US table tennis team were invited to visit China, an event later called “Ping Pong Diplomacy“.
- Another well established and popular recreational sport in China is badminton. Amateur leagues exist across the country.
- Jianzi – This is the Chinese version of hacky sack and 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 excluding hands. The game is usually played among a circle of players in a street or park with the objective to keep the shuttle ‘up’ and show off skills.If you are walking along Chinese streets, you can see bunches of people sitting on little chairs and playing games. Outdoor activities are an important part of Chinese culture.
- Mahjong is a card game for four players that originated in China. It involves skill, strategy, and calculation, as well as a certain degree of chance. Mahjong in Asia is popularly played as a gambling game, where each player is dealt either thirteen or sixteen tiles in a hand (depending on the variation being played, different places of Asia have different rules and different variations of mahjong).On their turn, players draw a tile and discard one, with the goal of making four or five melds (depending on the variation) and one pair, or “head”. Winning comes “on the draw”, by drawing a new or discarded tile that completes the hand. Thus a winning hand actually contains fourteen (or seventeen) tiles.
- Xiangqi – is a two-player Chinese chess board game. The game represents a battle between two armies, with the object of capturing the enemy’s “general” piece. Rules of Xiangqi are similar to the Western version of chess.Distinctive features of Xiangqi include the unique movement of the pao (“cannon”) piece, a rule prohibiting the (similar to chess kings) from facing each other directly, and the river and palace board features, which restrict the movement of some pieces. Xiangqi is one of the most popular board games in past times in China and also other places with significant ethnic Chinese communities.
- In addition to these Chinese sports, it is also said that the origins of football came from China where a ball was kicked into a small net by the Chinese military during the Han Dynasty around and 2nd and 3rd centuries BC!