I recently signed up at a new gym with those high-tech treadmills that have built-in TVs. Whilst scrolling through the channels to find something to watch, I came across a sport that made me giggle so much, I almost fell off the treadmill!
The game is 脚斗 (jiaodou). Two men enter an arena to a fanfare of fake fire, dry ice and huge cheers from the audience. The first thing you notice is that one leg has a lot more protective cover than the other. They stand apart from each other, pick up one leg, and start hopping up and down. An animated referee tells them to ‘go’ and they start attacking each other with the bent leg!!! The aim is to knock your opponent down, but you don’t seem to be allowed to let go of your leg.
From this particularly chinglish website, they have translated the game as “Cripple Knocking” – a particularly non-PC title! (The Chinese official English name seems to have been labelled as ‘judose’). The article compared Cripple Knocking to the NBA and how it plans to become a similarly standardised sport. It seems to be a children’s game that China has decided worthy of bringing into the domestic arena.
The game I watched on the treadmill that day was played up in true gladiator style. The two domestic teams, complete with stylish coifs, revved up the audience and danced around like it was the coolest sport on the planet. But I’ll let you decide for yourself… This video has all the gladiator style theatrics!
(And, thanks to Tara for research help!)