Dragon Boating – A Unique Cultural Extravaganza

DATE: 11th Mar, 2015
Categories: GMBA and MGB May 2015

Dragon boatModern scholars, sinologists and anthropologists believe the use of Dragon boats to have originated in southern central China more than 2,500 years ago, along the banks of iconic rivers such as the Chang Jiang. Dragon boat racing has been practiced continuously for annual water rituals, festival celebrations and for the traditional veneration of the Asian dragon water deity for a long time. The celebration is an important part of ancient agricultural Chinese society, celebrating the summer harvest. They first used a “dragon boat” to save a local scholar from drowning in the river. They now honour around the 5/5 every year (Lunar Calendar).

Today, the sport is popular around the world and especially in Asia. Highly valued as a team-building sport, dragon boating requires synchronized teamwork, mental and physical strength along with good communication between team members to achieve optimum synchrony and speed. It is become an eminent team building activity even for the corporates as it includes various management principles to win the race similar to run a business.

As a part of our Global Learning experience, the GMBA and MGB May 15, students of S P Jain were given a fantastic thrill of dragon boating, experiencing the South East Asian culture and Chinese traditions.

dragon boat 1The students were divided into three groups, each of us were given a paddle and a life jacket. We were briefed about the sport by our experienced boat masters. We were taught the basic instructions and practiced several rounds to bring the synchronicity among the team members. The fun was doubled as the teams freely engaged in waster splashing activities in the hot afternoon drenching one another. The sweat of the practice was to be proved in the competition carried out among all the three boats. This built the morale, overall excitement and enthusiasm of learning the sport and developed the spirit of competitiveness.

Timing and technique are more critical than power and strength. In many sports individual performance, strength, agility etc. are the focus of attention. The first skill the coach worked with us on was to have the entire team row in time with the same technique. It is amazing that a team with less brute strength can outperform a stronger boat on timing alone. The sheer determination and effective coordination was the key for the winners of the activity during the final race.

The activity fostered the importance of team building, team coordination, physical endurance and stra-tegic and tactical thinking to steer a dragon boat to victory.

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