Biseokchigi

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game throwing a palm-sized flat stone, or performing a certain motion, to knock down another flat stone standing on the ground.

Biseokchigi was a popular game nationwide while finding its popularity among young boys. There are two speculations about its name. One is that the game was named as Biseokchigi because it was started by kicking Songdeokbi (commemorative monuments) that honor the meritorious deeds of corrupt officials. Another is that it was named after another Korean word biseok (a flying stone), using a different combination of Chinese letters. In regard to its origin, the latter conjecture seems to be closer to the truth as other similar games have been around for a long time.

Biseokchigi is played among two teams. Each team draws a line in front of their feet and stands on the line facing each other. The distance between two lines can range from 2 - 5 meters depending on the age and experience of the players. Before starting the game, they determine the order of play. Level 1 is to knock down the biseoks that were erected by opponents, meaning if there are five players per team, one team has to knock down all five of the biseoks of the other team to move up to the next level. If they fail, however, the turn is shifted to the other team. For example, if three people succeed in knocking down three biseoks of the opponents, and two players fail, those two people are disqualified and step back from the line. The remaining three players then try to hit the other two biseoks of the opponents. If they succeed, those three players, along with two disqualified players, can move on to level 2, or the opponents will get a turn. Other reasons for disqualification include dropping a biseok while moving it and touching a biseok of the opponents with any body part, including a foot. There could be a case where a biseok that one player has thrown knocks down a biseok of the opponent but is laid over it. This is referred to as banbi, which is not counted as a success and requires that the player tries again. Regardless of the level, in the case of banbi, a biseok of the opponents is set in a way that the narrower side, rather than the wider side, of the biseok faces the player. In this setting, the player has to hit the biseok from the line to move on to the next level. Once level 1 is completed, players move on to the next level. The composition of the levels varies according to region, however the most common method and organization is as follows: Hitting by jumping one step → by jumping two steps → by jumping three steps → by standing on one foot; hitting by kicking → by carrying a biseok on the top of a foot → by carrying a biseok between two ankles → by carrying a biseok between two knees → by going with a biseok inserted between the buttocks and dropping it → by going with a bisoek on the stomach → by going with a bisoek on a shoulder → by going with a bisoek on the head → by going with the biseok while eyes are closed.

In addition, there is an unlimited amount of variations, including Shinmun Pari (Newsvendor), where players put a biseok in their underarm to drop it on a biseok of the opponent, and Bihaenggi (Airplane), where players put a biseok on the back of the hand, in addition to another way of putting a biseok on a cheek. One notable characteristic is that, in the beginning, after throwing a biseok by standing and throwing, or by kicking it, players start by using the bottom part of the body while gradually moving upward.

Each level of Biseokchigi has an interesting name as well. Dodukbal (Feet of Thieves) describes how players walk stealthily with a biseok on the back of their feet; Tokkidduim (Rabbit Hop) is named as such because the players hop with a stone between their ankles; Ojumssagae (Bedwetter) portrays players walking with tottering steps as if they urinated in their pants; Baesajang (Potbelly) describes players putting a biseok on their stomach; Hunjang (Medal) refers to a biseok placed on a shoulder, as it looks like a badge of rank; and Tteokjangsu (rice cake seller) is named as such since the players carrying a biseok on their head resemble those carrying a basket of tteok on their head. The names simply explain the movements of the game remarkably well, depicting the astonishing wit of children.

Biseokchigi

Biseokchigi
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game throwing a palm-sized flat stone, or performing a certain motion, to knock down another flat stone standing on the ground. Biseokchigi was a popular game nationwide while finding its popularity among young boys. There are two speculations about its name. One is that the game was named as Biseokchigi because it was started by kicking Songdeokbi (commemorative monuments) that honor the meritorious deeds of corrupt officials. Another is that it was named after another Korean word biseok (a flying stone), using a different combination of Chinese letters. In regard to its origin, the latter conjecture seems to be closer to the truth as other similar games have been around for a long time. Biseokchigi is played among two teams. Each team draws a line in front of their feet and stands on the line facing each other. The distance between two lines can range from 2 - 5 meters depending on the age and experience of the players. Before starting the game, they determine the order of play. Level 1 is to knock down the biseoks that were erected by opponents, meaning if there are five players per team, one team has to knock down all five of the biseoks of the other team to move up to the next level. If they fail, however, the turn is shifted to the other team. For example, if three people succeed in knocking down three biseoks of the opponents, and two players fail, those two people are disqualified and step back from the line. The remaining three players then try to hit the other two biseoks of the opponents. If they succeed, those three players, along with two disqualified players, can move on to level 2, or the opponents will get a turn. Other reasons for disqualification include dropping a biseok while moving it and touching a biseok of the opponents with any body part, including a foot. There could be a case where a biseok that one player has thrown knocks down a biseok of the opponent but is laid over it. This is referred to as banbi, which is not counted as a success and requires that the player tries again. Regardless of the level, in the case of banbi, a biseok of the opponents is set in a way that the narrower side, rather than the wider side, of the biseok faces the player. In this setting, the player has to hit the biseok from the line to move on to the next level. Once level 1 is completed, players move on to the next level. The composition of the levels varies according to region, however the most common method and organization is as follows: Hitting by jumping one step → by jumping two steps → by jumping three steps → by standing on one foot; hitting by kicking → by carrying a biseok on the top of a foot → by carrying a biseok between two ankles → by carrying a biseok between two knees → by going with a biseok inserted between the buttocks and dropping it → by going with a bisoek on the stomach → by going with a bisoek on a shoulder → by going with a bisoek on the head → by going with the biseok while eyes are closed. In addition, there is an unlimited amount of variations, including Shinmun Pari (Newsvendor), where players put a biseok in their underarm to drop it on a biseok of the opponent, and Bihaenggi (Airplane), where players put a biseok on the back of the hand, in addition to another way of putting a biseok on a cheek. One notable characteristic is that, in the beginning, after throwing a biseok by standing and throwing, or by kicking it, players start by using the bottom part of the body while gradually moving upward. Each level of Biseokchigi has an interesting name as well. Dodukbal (Feet of Thieves) describes how players walk stealthily with a biseok on the back of their feet; Tokkidduim (Rabbit Hop) is named as such because the players hop with a stone between their ankles; Ojumssagae (Bedwetter) portrays players walking with tottering steps as if they urinated in their pants; Baesajang (Potbelly) describes players putting a biseok on their stomach; Hunjang (Medal) refers to a biseok placed on a shoulder, as it looks like a badge of rank; and Tteokjangsu (rice cake seller) is named as such since the players carrying a biseok on their head resemble those carrying a basket of tteok on their head. The names simply explain the movements of the game remarkably well, depicting the astonishing wit of children.