Capteh


Capteh is a traditional game that requires great dexterity and balance in keeping a feathered shuttlecock in the air for as long as possible by kicking it up with the heel of the foot. A popular game among children in Singapore, it is also well-known internationally.1

History
The earliest reference to a game of kicking a feathered object dates back to the 5th century BCE in China. Later known as ti jianzi (踢毽子), which means “kick little shuttlecock” in Chinese, the game was used to train military men.2 During the Tang dynasty, Shaolin monks in Henan were also known to have practised the game to strengthen their martial art skills.3 It was popular for about two millennia, from the Han dynasty (206 BCE–200 BCE) until after the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE).4 Since the Song dynasty (960 CE–1278 CE), the game has been known as jianzi (毽子) or jianqiu (毽球), as derived from the Chinese word for “arrow”, and which sounds the same as the word for “shuttlecock”.5

Known as da cau in Vietnam, capteh was included as a competitive sport at the 22nd Southeast Asian Games, which were hosted by the country in 2003. Internationally, the game is known as shuttlecock kicking. The founding of the International Shuttlecock Federation in 1999 is testament to the international status the game has garnered.6


In Singapore, the game is known as capteh.7 The name is thought to be either Malay or Hokkien in origin.8 Variants of the name include chapteh, chaptek and chatek.9 Still very much alive in Singapore, the game is promoted in a range of places – from museums and retail outlets to vintage cafes.10 It was also included as one of the activities for the Sports Hub Community Play Day held on 17 September 2016 at the National Stadium.11

Description

The game is played using a rubber disc topped with rooster feathers, which is also referred to as a capteh.12

The game, which can be played individually or in a team, involves keeping the capteh in the air for as long as possible by kicking it up using the heel of the foot until it is missed or dropped.13 Though familiar to Singaporeans as a game of leisure, it has also been played as a competitive game.14

When played individually, each player is judged on the number of kicks he makes. The competing players agree on a winning tally of kicks, and the winner is the first player to reach that tally or attains the highest score.15 To decide who plays first, each player kicks the capteh with his heel, without putting the foot down. The one with the highest score before the capteh falls to the ground or before his foot touches the ground is the one who starts first. For the game proper, each player kicks the capteh until he misses it or loses his footing. The player is able to put his foot down with each kick. However, he is not allowed to use his hands to touch the capteh.16 Adept players have been known to introduce innovative moves, such as kicking alternatively with either foot and attempting various stances such as Leopard Head and Sitting Tiger during kicks. In Leopard Head, where the first touch is important, players may use a knee to knock the capteh into the air when it drops from height – a move known as the leopard head – to get the right height for a kicked return. In Sitting Tiger, players practise repeatedly knocking the capteh up with first one foot and then the other. This technique also requires playing the capteh with the instep, which requires great flexibility and balance.17

When played in groups, the play area for each team is marked with a circle drawn on the ground.18 Alternatively, each team makes a circle.19 The game is played in the circle with the first assigned player attempting to keep the capteh in the air until it falls to the ground within the circle. Then the next team member continues the count while playing in the circle. This continues until all team members have taken a turn in the game. The winning team is the one that scores the highest number of total kicks.20



Author
Bonny Tan




References
1. International Shuttlecock Federation. (2010). History of shuttlecock sport. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from International Shuttlecock Federation website: http://www.shuttlecock-world.org/site/news/history_of_shuttlecock_sport/
2. International Shuttlecock Federation. (2010). History of shuttlecock sport. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from International Shuttlecock Federation website: http://www.shuttlecock-world.org/site/news/history_of_shuttlecock_sport/
3. Lim, R. (Ed.). (2006). Gateway to Asian games. Singapore: Asiapac Books, p. 27. (Call no.: JRSING 790.15095 GAT)
4. International Shuttlecock Federation. (2010). History of shuttlecock sport. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from International Shuttlecock Federation website: http://www.shuttlecock-world.org/site/news/history_of_shuttlecock_sport/; Columbia University. (2009). Timeline of Chinese history and dynasties. Accessed 2017, April 24 from Asia for Educators website: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/timelines/china_timeline.htm
5. International Shuttlecock Federation. (2010). History of shuttlecock sport. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from International Shuttlecock Federation website: http://www.shuttlecock-world.org/site/news/history_of_shuttlecock_sport/; The shuttlecock (Chien-tsu). (2016). In Traditional Chinese games. Retrieved 2016, October 11 from The Chinese Historical and Cultural Project website: http://chcp.org/virtual-museum-library/traditional-games/#Shuttlecock
6. International Shuttlecock Federation. (2010). History of shuttlecock sport. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from International Shuttlecock Federation website: http://www.shuttlecock-world.org/site/news/history_of_shuttlecock_sport/
7. Yen, F. (2006, September 19). Just for kicks! The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Brief history. (2006, September 19). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Yen, F. (2006, September 19). Just for kicks! The Straits Times, p. 11; Low, J. (2002, October 31). Shuttlecock-kicking makes SEA Games debut. The Straits Times, p. 6; Ong, B. K. (1998, October 21). Singapore Sports Council puts museum online. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Kaur, G. (2015, March 13). Do you know these games? The Straits Times, Life! Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Yen, F. (2006, September 19). Just for kicks! The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Iau, J. (2016, September 8). Sports Hub Community Play Day to allow public to use National Stadium pitch. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
12. Lim, R. (Ed.). (2006). Gateway to Asian games. Singapore: Asiapac Books, p. 25. (Call no.: JRSING 790.15095 GAT)
13. Lim, R. (Ed.). (2006). Gateway to Asian games. Singapore: Asiapac Books, pp. 26–28. (Call no.: JRSING 790.15095 GAT); Have fun with traditional games. (1982). Singapore: The Association. (Call no.: RCLOS 394.3095957 HAV-[CUS])
14. International Shuttlecock Federation. (2010). History of shuttlecock sport. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from International Shuttlecock Federation website: http://www.shuttlecock-world.org/site/news/history_of_shuttlecock_sport/
15. Have fun with traditional games. (1982). Singapore: The Association. (Call no.: RCLOS 394.3095957 HAV-[CUS])
16. Yen, F. (2006, September 19). Just for kicks! The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved 2016, October 10 from NewspaperSG.
17. Jianzi. (2013, Oct 17). In The sports book (p. 195). Dorling Kindersley Ltd. Retrieved 2016, October 10 from Google Books website: https://books.google.com.sg/books?id=kdcAAQAAQBAJ&lpg=PT196&ots=nKlpwcBzii&dq=leopard%20(chateh%20OR%20chapteh%20OR%20chatek%20OR%20chaptek)&pg=PT196#v=onepage&q=leopard%20(chateh%20OR%20chapteh%20OR%20chatek%20OR%20chaptek)&f=false
18. Have fun with traditional games. (1982). Singapore: The Association. (Call no.: RCLOS 394.3095957 HAV-[CUS])
19. Lim, R. (Ed.). (2006). Gateway to Asian games. Singapore: Asiapac Books, p. 26. (Call no.: JRSING 790.15095 GAT)
20. Have fun with traditional games. (1982). Singapore: The Association. (Call no.: RCLOS 394.3095957 HAV-[CUS])



The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic. 

Subject
Recreation>>Sports
Games--Singapore
Sports and games
Sports, recreation and travel>>Sports