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Jump rope refers to a variety of games and exercises performed with one or more people and one or more ropes. Jump rope is an internationally practiced sport. The international organization for jump rope is the Fédération Internationale de Saut à la Corde (FISAC) or the International Rope Skipping Federation. There are continental federations for the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania, which represent jumpers in more than 48 countries. There are also national organizations, such as USA Jump Rope (USAJR) and its competitive branch, AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Jump Rope.
With a practice that is carried out worldwide and that may date back to Ancient Egypt and China, there are naturally a variety of different ways that have evolved to use a jump rope. In addition, there are specialized uses of jump rope, such as jumping rope to lose weight or jumping rope as an element of a boxer’s training. There is also Chinese jump rope, but this is considered a different practice.
The type of jump rope that is most widespread in the United Stated but not done competitively is Long Rope, in which two individuals turn the ends of a long rope while a third jumps over it as it strikes the ground. The types of jump rope practiced in international competition are fairly widespread, although individuals also develop specialized skills, techniques, and tricks. These categories are Single Rope, Double Dutch, and Pair or Partner Jumping, but they can be combined.
Single Rope refers to rope jumping done by a jumper who holds one end of a rope in each hand and twirls it over his or head and under his or her feet, jumping over it. In Double Unders, the rope must pass under the feet twice during each jump; in Triple Unders, it must pass under the jumpers feet three times per jump. Double Dutch is best imagined as two people facing each other and holding a long rope, one in the right hand and the other in the left hand, and swinging it so that it arcs above their heads as it moves towards their opposite hands. Simultaneously, they hold a second rope in their other hands, swinging it towards the first rope but so that one rope is at its highest peak while the other is hitting the ground, and vice versa.
The skills of speed and endurance are timed in competition, but are routinely done by people everywhere, who also jump Single Rope more casually. Freestyle, which may optionally be done to music, may not use props or equipment, but otherwise may be freely invented by the jumper. In competition, judging takes into account skill level, the designated area for the performance, correct performance of skills, and other technical details. Many people, however, practice elaborate routines in schoolyards and driveways, and just keep jumping until they miss.