Fun fitness warm up: Janken suicide runs

What is Janken?

Janken is most commonly know as rock, paper, scissors. The origins of which come from Asia. The first known mention of the game was in the book Wuzazu (五杂组) by the Chinese Ming Dynasty writer Xie Zhaozhi. Throughout Japanese history there are frequent references to “sansukumi-ken” (三竦み拳), meaning “ken” (拳) [fist] games with a three-way [三] (san) deadlock [竦み] (sukumi), in the sense that A beats B, B beats C, and C beats A. The games originated in China before being imported to Japan and subsequently becoming popular. The earliest Japanese “sansukumi-ken” game was known as “mushi-ken” (虫拳), which was imported directly from China. In “Mushi-ken” the “frog” (represented by the thumb) is superseded the “slug” (represented by the little finger), which, in turn is superseded by the “snake” (represented by the index finger), which is superseded by the “frog”.



What is a suicide run?

In sport, a suicide can refer to a type of gruelling running drill, usually performed on a basketball court. Athletes run suicides by repeatedly sprinting from a starting point to each of a series of lines across the court, and back again. The drill is intended to improve speed and agility; its gruesome name reflects the intensity of the physical effort it requires.

So how do we combine the two to make a super fun fitness activity?

We play Janken suicides. At each line you match up with a partner to play. Winner runs, loser completes either 5 push ups, 5 curl ups or 5 jumping squats.

To put a different spin on it we play Bear, Hunter, Mermaid instead of the boring old rock, paper scissors. Kids love to act things out.



The inclusion of ‘bear, hunter, mermaid’ forces us to engage all four quadrants of the brain while we are exercising, thinking and working hard. All of our synapses are lighting up with glee! Exercise builds our fitness and helps us to grow brain cells!

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Check this game out in action!


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