Time to try something new

From Brazilian martial arts to unicycle hockey - the new school year is a good opportunity to sample unusual after-school activities


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Reports by YP cadets Maggie Luk, Jason Kan, Justin Leung, Pearl Chan, Jacqueline Leung, Alex Wong, Iris Cheung and Katrina Lee. Compiled by Olivia Chavassieu

There are lots of unusual activities you can do in Hong Kong, and here's a list of ideas. Some are popular in their country of origin, but little-known in Hong Kong; some are emerging, trendy sports, and others are simply quirky and fun. Give them a try!

1. Zumba

This combination of Latin dance, hip hop and aerobics offers a great alternative to your usual fitness routine. Perfect for a workout, Zumba improves both cardio endurance and dance skills.

California Fitness, www.californiafitness.com/hk

Central Dance Studios, www.danceclassesinhongkong.com

2. Capoeira

This Brazilian martial art combines dance, martial arts, acrobatics and music. It was created by descendants of African slaves when Brazil was still a Portuguese colony. It is like a game between two people, each trying to gain more points through different movements. It is played in a roda or circle formed by capoeiristas, who play instruments, sing and clap their hands to mark a rhythm.

Group Capoeira Brazil, www.capoeira.hk

3. Canoe Polo

Canoe Polo is essentially water polo played with kayaks. The objective is for teams to throw the ball into the opposition's net, which resembles a basketball hoop. Although hectic, the game is highly exciting and an intense workout. It's great for anybody who loves the water or is looking for something new to do this summer.

The Hong Kong Canoe Union offers beginners' classes, www.hkcucanoe.com.hk

4. Parkour

This non-competitive sport provides quick and efficient ways to get around and over obstacles. Although first developed in France, Parkour founders drew inspiration from Asian martial arts. Parkour practitioners, or traceurs, run, roll and jump to turn their surroundings to their advantage, making this sport a discipline for both the body and the mind.

Visit the Hong Kong Parkour Association at www.parkour.hk Practice location changes every week.

5. Unicycle Hockey

Invented in Germany in the 1920s, unicycle hockey is exactly what it says: hockey played on unicycles. The rules are mostly the same as normal hockey and they play five-a-side. Followers are few, but dedicated. The club has some public unicycles, so you can try it out.

Games take place at the YMCA King's Park Centenary Centre every Friday at 8pm. For more information, go to Unicycle Hockey in Hong Kong at www.unihk.org

6. Jianzi

Jianzi, or shuttlecock kicking, is similar to badminton in that it uses a shuttlecock. However, there are no racquets in Jianzi; players use their feet and other parts of the body (but not their hands) to kick the shuttlecock and keep it in the air. It can be played individually or in teams, and is great for building co-ordination skills. You may join classes or simply buy a shuttlecock from a stationery shop and try it at the park.

From August 6 to September 10, the Hong Kong Shuttlecock Association's beginner classes are held at Tai Po Market Sports Centre every Saturday at 10am to noon. For more information, visit www.hkshuttlecock.org

7. Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is a fast-paced sport involving lots of vigorous bumping and passing. The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting a vulcanised rubber disc, the puck, into the goal while on skates. Easier said than done, the sport may take years to master. It's a game for risk-takers and adrenaline-lovers in search of thrills. The Hong Kong Academy of Ice Hockey offers regular courses, www.hkaih.org


Most of us find it easy to ride bicycles, but trying bicycle motocross - or BMX - will change your mind. It involves bicycle riders racing on tracks resembling bumpy motocross circuits. The extreme sport comes with its fair share of speed, dirt - and injuries. BMX became a full medal Olympic sport in 2008 at the Beijing Games.

For course information, contact the Hong Kong Federation of Extreme Sports, x-fed.com/?page_id=24

9. Eskrima

Take up a traditional weapon-based Filipino martial arts. Core skills involve Kali stick fighting and mastering different kinds of weapons.

Courses are available at the Hong Kong Philippine Kali Association, www.kali-fong.com.hk

10. Petanque

Played mostly in the South of France, petanque is a cheerful team game where the goal is to throw metal balls as close as possible to the cochonnet or jack. The game is normally played outdoors and is an occasion for a nice neighbourhood gathering, but the Hong Kong Petanque Club came up with a unique indoor concept to make up for the lack of flat surfaces in our city.

Visit Les Boules for more information, www.lesboules.hk