Still kicking a shuttlecock at 70
Updated 16:58, 28-Sep-2018
CGTN
02:54
CGTN

CGTN

Guo Hongsheng, 70, has lived with his descendants in northwest China's Xi'an City for over a decade.

He has been practicing ball games, gymnastics and acrobatics throughout his career as a PE instructor. Growing old with his old injuries, he had to quit practicing the games, although inactivity was never an option. He began to kick shuttlecock and eventually mastered the skill. He can kick it while walking, sitting and even lying on the ground, which often draws attention in the park. He has also invented new tricks.

Guo Hongsheng practices jianzi in the park. /CGTN Photo

Guo Hongsheng practices jianzi in the park. /CGTN Photo

"I've been working out at the gym for over 20 years. Yet I'm particularly interested in kicking shuttlecock because there're many tricks, and the performance is entertaining. When people gather around to watch, you'd feel complacent," Guo said.

CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

For a time, he was obsessed with the sport; Guo began his exercise in the park at 6 a.m. His record was 10 hours a day. "That amount of exercise was too much," Guo said. "So I reduced it to kicking shuttlecock in the morning and going to the gym in the afternoon. I have to train my legs," he said, showing his leg muscles.

CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

"I enjoy showing my skills. Why? Because I always take challenges. Everybody has a dream, and one needs to make efforts to realize it."

His unique skill "kicking while lying on the back" brought him onto the CCTV stage in 2009. He invented and practiced it on the yoga mat in the gym. For a year he trained himself seriously, like practicing acrobatics when he was young. Before the performance on TV, he had to practice on the stage as well to get used to the lights and the surroundings.

CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

Although Guo is fascinated with kicking shuttlecock, his attitude toward sports becomes more peaceful as he grows older. For him, the ultimate purpose of any sport should be to keep fit. Nobody deserves to get hurt during the process: "I always think ahead. I'm not young anymore. I could kick in my 60s, 70s, maybe even 80s, as long as I had my skills, I shall be proud of myself. It's about a good mindset and the right attitude for kicking shuttlecock and for working out as well."

CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

As his reputation as a shuttlecock master spread far and wide, many people came to learn from him. Other people who kicked well also began to teach. For a while, the parks in Xi'an were filled with people kicking shuttlecocks.

As a retired instructor, Guo sticks to his own teaching style: "I just take the leading role, as a torchbearer. I promote this sport by practicing it myself."

CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

"Nowadays, young people like you are busy striving, while we the seniors shall take care of ourselves and remain healthy. That's the most important thing. It's good for ourselves, for the family and the society." Kicking shuttlecock, looking after his grandchildren and visiting other amateurs, Guo is satisfied with his life now: "You just need something that makes you happy when you grow old."

The story is one in The 1.3 Billion series exploring the diverse lives that make up China.

The story is one in The 1.3 Billion series exploring the diverse lives that make up China.