April 19, 2020 2 min read
Jianzi is a traditional Chinese sport that originates, much like modern-day football (soccer), from the ancient Chinese game; Cuju. Cu in Chinese means "to kick" and Ju refers to a type of leather ball. Cuju was played and is recognized by FIFA as the earliest form of football (soccer) dating back to more than 2300 years ago in the city of Lin Zi.
The term "jianzi" which came later, directly refers to the weighted shuttlecock (or "featherball") that is kicked in this game. The objective of this game is to keep the shuttlecock in the air using anything but your hands/arms. In recent times a more formal structure of competitions has formed at the court, similar to badminton. There is a net separating two teams and each side's objective is to have the shuttlecock land on the opponents court.
Other types of gameplay have also evolved including more collaborative play where a circle of people try to keep the shuttlecock in the air using only one kick or "touch" at a time before another player must intervene to keep it up. Other competitions like individual juggling for the highest consecutive number, or for the longest period of time, and freestyle competitions have also began gaining popularity.
Jianzi was the inspiration for the American based company Kickit. After discovering this concept of kicking a shuttlecock in late 2015, Kickit was born. The mission was to design a kick-shuttlecock for the modern soccer player and fan to enjoy. One that is durable, travel friendly, and easier for the everyday active person. From this then came the Kickit Sport which is played over a net and can be played in singles, doubles, or triples. Here is a Kickit Doubles Tournament from Chicago, IL in October of 2020.