Archery (射箭运动) has a long history among the Mongolian people living in China. After Genghis Khan unified the tribes in Mongolia in the 13th century, the practice of archery developed very quickly. Its horse archery was famous throughout the world.
In ancient times, Mongolian archers used ox horn bows, rubber band strings and wooden arrows. The shooting distance was 10 to 20 meters. The target for competition was a felt target painted in five different colors, and the target center was movable. It could drop down when it was hit. There was no target in another kind of competition, in which archers shot arrows from dozens of meters away at a ground target, a piled object in the shape of a pagoda. The winner was the archer who hit the target. According to the rules, each archer had four arrows and was required to shoot them all in three rounds. The winner or loser was determined by the number of hits scored. During the competition, the archers wore colorful robes and riding boots.
There are two types of archery competitions: shooting in standing position and shooting in riding position: When shooting in standing position, archers are required to shoot their arrows at the target centers at the same time. If the target center is hit, it automatically falls, and the crowds applaud. Comparatively speaking, shooting on horseback is more popular among the Mongolians. Whenever there is a festival, shooting activities on horseback are held. According to historical records, people shot rabbits in the Liao Dynasty (916-1125), and shot at willows in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). In the ensuing Yuan Dynasty, the rulers encouraged the people to learn mounted archery to strengthen the country, as bows and arrows were the main weapons used in warfare.
There are dozens of national traditional sports in China. Apart from those described above, they include horse racing (Mongolian), walking with a pot on the top of the head (Korean), springboard (Korean), kite, yak racing (Tibetan), wrapper throwing (Bouyei), elephant tug of war (Tibetan), stick waving (Bouyei), pyramid, human dragon (Yao), competing for headless goat (Uygur), swing (Miao), double flying dance (Manchu), climbing knife-ladder (Miao), hopscotch, sandbag throwing (Manchu), flagpole waving (Hui), fiery rope jumping (Yi), figure skipping (Hui), and tossing a colored silk ball (Zhuang).