A traditional form of physical exercise, comprising a single individual or small groups using a rope that is swung or twirled so that the individual ‘skips’ over the rope in an even rhythm as the rope swings over his or her head and under the feet. As a recreational pastime it has a long history, and Joseph Strutt (Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, 1801) wrote that it was ‘probably very ancient’ as a children's game and amusement. Strutt noted too, in an observation showing the adaptability of the environment to the recreational inclinations of rural populations, that during the hop season, a hop stem stripped of its leaves could be used in the place of a rope. Skipping has been used by some competitors in sports such as boxing, as a form of aerobic exercise or training. Skipping still features in informal programmes in some schools, and inter-school competitions have continued to be held. Rope-skipping as a form of intensive cardiovascular exercise and competition has been promoted in a number of countries in south-east Asia, and in North America. The Fédération Internationale de Saute à la Corde (the International Rope Skipping Federation) promotes international meetings, and was based in Canada in the early 2000s, when 1,200 competitive skippers were reported in the country. World championships were staged from 1997, and team displays of rope-skipping can combine elements of dance, acrobatics, and hip-hop. See also street games.
Subjects: Sport and Leisure.