HOME News Center News

ECNU’s Tai Chi Soft Ball exercise selected as a showcase project for the “China-Foreign Universities Sports Culture Exchange Program”


Under the guidance of the Information Office of Ministry of Education the “China-Foreign Universities Sports Culture Exchange Program” began this week. The event is organized by China the Education Association for International Exchange in celebration of the 31st Chengdu FISU World University Games. ECNU's Tai Chi Soft Ball exercise has been selected as a showcase project for this event. The Soft Tai Chi Ball exercise, highlighting unique traditional Chinese cultural connotations, is a newly emerging sports project in collaboration with ECNU and its partnership schools in France. It is expected to attract both domestic and international student engagement as a way to promote cultural exchange in sports among international higher education institutions.

On July 4th, three martial arts coaches from France, including Nassim Berrichi, visited ECNU to attend the event. After having observed Prof. Yang Jianying, who trained students in playing Tai Chi Soft Ball, the French coaches developed profound interests in the sport. On July 9th, as arranged by Prof. Liu Wenwu from the School of Physical Education and Health Sciences, Prof. Yang Jianying provided theoretical and technical instructions on Tai Chi Soft Ball exercises to the three French colleagues. They were also invited to experience this newly emerging sports game that embodies traditional Chinese philosophical concepts. This activity allowed them to exchange their ideals on Sino-foreign cultural exchange in sports .

The Tai Chi Soft Ball exercise is a sport invented by Prof. Yang Jianying from the ECNU’s School of Physical Education and Health Sciences in May 2019. This activity draws inspiration from the profound philosophical concepts of Daoism, such as “the Movement of the Tao by Contraries Proceeds”, “Femininity Exceeds Mightiness” and “Doing Nothing While Doing Everything”, among others.

It also incorporates the Tai Chi philosophy of “the Unity of Nature and Man” and “the Unity of Yin and Yang . The exercise is characterized by techniques that embody the traditional principles of the ancient Chinese philosophy, such as retreating for advancing, using softness to conquer strength, acting in accordance with the situation, seamless integration, and achieving a harmonious flow of movements. Since its invention in 2019, the Tai Chi Soft Ball exercise has been incorporated into the university curriculum and promoted through various activities such as community outreach, campus events, and Tai Chi Soft Ball competitions in communities and primary schools in Shanghai.

In additon, this newly emerging sport has gained widespread recognition as it has been introduced to universities in cities across China, including Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, Jinan in Shandong Province, Nanchang in Jiangxi Province, Loudi and Changsha in Hunan Province, Qiannan in Guizhou Province, and Chengdu in Sichuan Province.

After having experienced the Tai Chi Soft Ball exercise, a Polish exchange student at ECNU, An An, shared a comment about it: “this exercise features a sound foundation in Tai Chi and Daoism, and there’s a lot of fun."

Prof. Yang Jianying expressed his plans to introduce related courses to more international students like An An. This sport embodies a unique form of traditional Chinese culture. ECNU aims to enhance Sino-foreign cultural exchanges, while expanding interest for this novel sports game, so that it can become a popular sport worldwide .

Copy editor: Melody Zhang,  Mayfield Joshua Monroe

Editor: Yvaine Lyu