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TIANJIN D. OLYMPIC MUSEUM
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How well do you know about China's Traditional Sports-(Cuju)


Publish date:2020/9/2   Pageview: 461


 


  Ancient Chinese Football also known as known as cuju, was a popular sport played by ancient Chinese people. “Cu” means to kick, “ju” refers to a type of leather ball filled with feathers, and Cuju means "kick the ball with foot". According to the International Football Association, cuju was the origin of football as a sport.



How did ancient Chinese football develop throughout history?

  Chinese ball games can be traced back to over a thousand or even ten thousand years ago. Cuju, ancient Chinese football with definite rules, came into being during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Period in the capital of the Qi state, Linzi.



  In the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. -220 A.D.), cuju was not only the recreational activity of the general public, but also an important means of military training. At the same time, cuju games were made more uniform with the establishment of rules. The activity was direct competition of two teams,Chinese Football having special play ground, which were called Ju Cheng, with two goals and fixed number of players. During the match, the players ran and strived to control the ball like fighting against the enemy in the battle, displaying its strong antagonism. There was also a referee specially set to guarantee the fairness of the game.



  When the Tang Dynasty took over, the cuju ball evolved from the previous stuffed ball into a puffy ball with a two-layered hull. Another thing worthy of mention here is the appearance of female cuju teams. Records indicate that once, a seventeen-year-old girl beat a team of army soldiers.


  Ancient Chinese football (cuju) flourished during the Song Dynasty. Professional cuju performers were quite popular , and would fall into one of two groups. One group consisted of civilians who made a living as cuju performers. The other group were trained and performed for the royal court. The earliest professional cuju club Qi Yun She, or Yuan was set up in large cities across China, and the participants were cuju lovers or professional performers. The former had to formally acknowledge a professional as his teacher and pay a certain amount of money before becoming a member, thus ensuring the income of the professionals.


  During the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, the cuju game with a single goal or two goals phased out of  history, while the cuju activity without goals continued until the Qing Dynasty. The skating-loving Manchurians even combined cuju with skating, creating a new sport called "cuju on the ice", which was created to train the lifeguards.


  Cuju began its decline during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) due to neglect, and the 2,000-year-old sport finally faded away.


On July 15, 2004, Mr. Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, declared to the world on the Third China International Football Exposition that football originated from China.


How did people play ancient Chinese football (cuju)?


There were two main ways to play cuju: “Zhu Qiu” and “Bai Da”.



  Zhu Qiu was commonly performed at court feasts celebrating the emperor's birthday or during diplomatic events. This competitive match between two teams consisted of 12-16 players on each side, and each player is named after his standing position. The competition is indirect, with the two teams standing separately by their own goals. Before the game, the two “qiutou (team leaders)” decide whether there will be two or three rounds, and then they draw lots to see who will take the service. After the kickoff team passes the ball for a round during which the ball is passed to the “qiutou” at last. Finally, the “qiutou” shoots the ball towards the goal. If the ball bumps into the netting and falls, his teammates have to get the ball before it hits the ground and pass it to the “qiutou” again. If the ball falls to the rival’s side, it becomes their turn to shoot the ball. When the ball hits the ground, the round is over. The team with more goals wins.



  Another way to play cuju ball without the goal is called Baida. The number of players range anywhere from two to 10.The playing ground is enclosed with thread and players inside kick the ball in turn. The game was decided by the number of mistakes made by each side. For example, if the ball was not passed far enough to reach the other players, points were deducted. If the ball was kicked too far out, a big deduction was made. Kicking the ball too low or turning at the wrong moment all led to fewer points. Players could touch the ball with any part of the body except their hands, and in the end, the player with the highest score would win.


 

    

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