6 Traditional Hobbies That Will Benefit Your Life in China

6 Traditional Hobbies That Will Benefit Your Life in China
Oct 31, 2019 By Degen Hill , eChinacities.com

If you've ever found yourself saying "I'm bored" in China, you’re probably not doing China right. Forget Netflix, the gym, and surfing the web; there are countless traditional ways to bring mental and physical well-being, as well as cultural understanding, into your daily life. Here are six traditional hobbies that will benefit your life in China.

Tai Chi

1. Calligraphy - Turn characters into art

Even though most people in China write Chinese characters on their phones or computers these days, the art of calligraphy is still alive and well, especially among the older generation. Typically, calligraphers use a broad tipped brush and ink (or a huge brush and puddle water if you've ever seen the old guys in parks) to carefully write Chinese characters with style and flare. Officially, the art of calligraphy is defined as "giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner."

Although calligraphy itself isn't a super applicable skill, the process and the outcome both have their uses. The time spent learning about the different characters, the meditative nature of writing out each individual stroke, the benefit to your language skills, and the community of Chinese calligraphers you’ll meet will all be beneficial to your life in China.

2. Guzheng - Way cooler than Wonderwall on a guitar

The guzheng, or Chinese zither, is a Chinese plucked string instrument with more than 2,500 years of history. Although it was once the most popular instrument in China, these days, especially with people's busy schedules, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who plays it.

Just like with any instrument, you’ll find learning to play the guzheng is both stimulating for the brain and good for your dexterity. Most importantly, however, you'll amaze Chinese people if you can play even the most simple of songs. It might not be an easy instrument to jam around a campfire with, but the fact that you were interested in learning a traditional instrument will speak volumes in Chinese people's minds.

3. Tai Chi - Calm the mind and center the body

Ever seen those movie scenes of someone standing on a cliff moving slowly in front of the rising sun? That's Tai Chi. Some people define it as a martial art, but I wouldn't recommend breaking it out in a bar fight. It is, however, very useful in promoting blood circulation and serves as a great form of meditation.

The concept of Tai Chi represents the fusion of yin and yang into a single ‘ultimate'. The basic idea is that it allows your mind to focus solely on the movements and forms, providing a state of mental calm and clarity - which can be highly beneficial when dealing with the stress of life in China.

Tai Chi is a truly versatile hobby, as you can do it by yourself or join a class/club and meet likeminded people while you’re at it. Whether you enjoy solitude or group participation, Tai Chi ultimately offers you a fitness routine and some mental peace in a country that's perpetually moving.

4. Tea ceremony - Caffeinate with grace

I‘ve never met a foreigner who’s into tea ceremonies, but Chinese people seem to love them, so why not give it a try? At a very basic level, tea ceremonies are a formalized way of making tea through a process that has been refined over centuries to yield the best taste. The activity involves both the ceremonial preparation, presentation, and drinking of tea.

Similar to Tai Chi, tea ceremonies involve many different 'moves', and learning to do them correctly and in a specific order is said to be relaxing for the mind. The other cool aspect of tea ceremonies are the unique places you can enjoy them. There are exceptionally beautiful and relaxing teahouses in cities all over China, and those with an interest will easily find a ready community to slurp with.

5. Kung Fu - Be water, my friend

If Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan didn't make you think Kung Fu is awesome, then I'm not sure who can. We've seen in it movies, maybe watched a competition on TV, and likely practiced a few moves at home when no-one was looking. Despite residing in the birthplace of Kung Fu, however, China expats rarely actually consider taking it up. Here's why you should.

Learning a martial art, in general, is extremely beneficial both physically and mentally. It helps you form a routine, there's always more to learn and improve on, it's a great way to stay physically fit and deal stress or anger, and it may just get you out of a scrape one day. Kung Fu is just one form of Chinese martial arts, so if that isn't your thing, try one of dozens of other styles instead.

6. Ping Pong / Badminton - The social sports

Heard of ping pong diplomacy? Maybe it’s time you built some bridges yourself. Although not usually considered the most aggressive of sports, ping pong and badminton can get pretty fast and competitive when the players know what they’re doing. And the players know what they’re doing in China.

These two sports are well worth taking up in China because you can play them year-round, inside or outside, they offer an excellent opportunity to meet people, and they are universally practiced and loved. And while racket sports are all good for your health, both ping pong and badminton are considered 'skill sports’, so there's always room for improvement.

There are tons of things to do in China, but the six hobbies listed above are sure to improve your mental, physical, or social health when also giving you a window into Chinese culture. Have you picked up any weird and wonderful hobbies in China? Let us know in the comments below!

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Keywords: life in China traditional Chinese hobbies

10 Comments

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1

taskeenhaider181
comment|76486|1881706

Great

Nov 04, 2019 03:51 Report Abuse

2

taskeenhaider181
comment|76484|1881706

Why is it ok for chinese to do these things but its something I should go back to my country for doing? Are you disrespecting Chinese culture and their people?I'm a guest here, when in china, do as the Chinese do, Apparently you have never been out with business men or any Chinese males for that matter...because if you have, you will be drinking and smoking , singing songs at KTV and going out to dinner or night BBQ and getting massages.That's what most Chinese men do for fun. What do you do?Sit around doing calligraphy and playing the hulusi and pretending to do kung fu in your bedroom? If that's what you like, that's cool man, to each their own. Although I would never tell you to go back to your own country because china has turned you into a pretentious dick...that would make me a dick. And playing mahjong is great fun.. great way to meet people.

Nov 04, 2019 03:46 Report Abuse

3

tjh14
comment|76488|1875010

Probably the most ridiculous comment I've read in 20 years on the Internet. You have either low reading comprehension or IQ, likely both.

Nov 04, 2019 06:11 Report Abuse

4

taskeenhaider181
comment|76482|1881706

Good

Nov 04, 2019 03:43 Report Abuse

5

biggj123
comment|76477|308467

I prefer "real traditional" Chinese hobbies like going to KTV, playing mahjong, drinking, smoking cigarettes, sitting around a night BBQ until after midnight eating mystery meat and getting drunk, dancing with the old ladies in the town square, rolling my shirt up exposing my stomach(Beijing bikini) and walking down the street like the coolest guy in town with a smoke hanging out my mouth, getting "foot massages" wink wink..and driving my car like 5 year old on LSD....those are real traditional Chinese hobbies...I mean...calligraphy...Kung fu..tea ceremony??? Who the f@#k does that sh!t??...other than people in cheesy tourist advertisements for china...doing these things i mentioned will give you a far better cultural understanding of China. Although admittedly I do love gong fu cha...or kung fu tea...sitting around a tea table smoking and drinking expensive tea out of little cups with my Chinese buddies....that's usually how the evening begins before we get into whores and boozing. And it good for before and after a meal...whores and boozing that is;) And you can sqeeze drinking tea somewhere in there too.

Nov 01, 2019 17:25 Report Abuse

6

Nikwestside
comment|76478|1655194

Bro, I think it's time for you to repatriate from whence you came. China's evidently not good for you.

Nov 03, 2019 11:27 Report Abuse

7

biggj123
comment|76480|308467

Why is it ok for chinese to do these things but its something I should go back to my country for doing? Are you disrespecting Chinese culture and their people?I'm a guest here, when in china, do as the Chinese do, Apparently you have never been out with business men or any Chinese males for that matter...because if you have, you will be drinking and smoking , singing songs at KTV and going out to dinner or night BBQ and getting massages.That's what most Chinese men do for fun. What do you do?Sit around doing calligraphy and playing the hulusi and pretending to do kung fu in your bedroom? If that's what you like, that's cool man, to each their own. Although I would never tell you to go back to your own country because china has turned you into a pretentious dick...that would make me a dick. And playing mahjong is great fun.. great way to meet people.

Nov 03, 2019 12:09 Report Abuse

8

Nikwestside
comment|76489|1655194

Look, I'm the first guy to criticize China for all its faults and minor (and major) annoyances. But you're nothing short of demeaning 1.4 billion people as if they are all racist and xenophobic, bad drivers and deeply immoral and unhealthy. If that's how you view them, then you better leave this country because you have lost your privilege to stay here. At least in my book. And you can use as many fake ECC accounts you want to upvote your comments, it won't matter in the least.

Nov 04, 2019 10:47 Report Abuse

9

biggj123
comment|76491|308467

Hey, just because I point out what's right in front of me does not mean I'm against it or have any problem with it. It just how it is. And what's wrong with KTV, dancing, BBQ, getting massages, driving without worrying about road safety and having the occasional drink and smoke? If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.And well, from my observation,some... if not most are kind of racist and xenophobic. I don't think they are any more racist than anyone else on the planet, they just don't hide it as other people do. And I resect that, at least they honest about when they say "no blacks need to apply only white" or "Muslims are terrorists and need reeducation" or" these white devils are ruining china and taking our woman" They don't beat around the bush. Good for them for being honest about how they feel. Fuck it, who cares. I don't care what they do or think, I just deal with the good ones and observe the rest. And I did upvote my comment and downvoted yours once each. I have 2 accounts but i don't remember the password or the email for the other one. The upvotes and downvotes I assume are from people who agreed with me and thought you were being a dick. I'm sure you won't believe that anyway...but it's no surprise since you choose not to believe obvious truths anyway. I mean come on,, you're telling someone to leave a country that you're not even a citizen of just because you don't agree with what they said...and not only that, what I said was the truth...that's a dick to do. I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees that. You can just call me asshole and tell me to f@#K off or argue the point like anyone would.

Nov 04, 2019 17:03 Report Abuse

10

RobRocks
comment|76475|270246

play station works for me

Nov 01, 2019 08:46 Report Abuse