The Chinese Power Walk

The way that my brain works leads me to noticing things that others might just gloss over. I don’t know why I pick on up these small, seemingly unextraordinary parts of life, but it’s what I do and while traveling I try to document them as much as possible.

I guess from my perspective different types of people from all around the world are still very similar, so it’s the smaller things that differentiate them from each other. Like, how Filipinos, no matter where they’re at, will just start singing out loud if a song they like starts playing. Or, how so many people in South Korea wear the most fashionable, square-shaped backpacks. These types of day-to-day things are the most interesting to me as I travel through somewhere new.

Considering that I lived there for over 9 months straight, there are many, many things like this that caught my attention while staying in China. But, one of my favorites is what I like to call “The Chinese Power Walk”, which you can see the man doing above in the photo that I took while crossing a normal street in Beijing. As you can see there’s not much to it, basically all you have to do is hold your hands behind your back while walking. The Chinese Power Walk isn’t overly flashy and doesn’t really catch anyone’s attention, but for being so simple it looks so damn dignified while subtly screaming, “Hey, I’m a badass!”

Mao Zedong’s O.G. power walk in the 1950s

I’ve only seen men walk this way and while they’re usually a little bit older, I’ve often seen guys in their 20s and 30s rock this casual power pose, too. When I’ve brought it up to some of my Chinese friends they think that this style of walking probably came from Chairman Mao Zedong who ruled Communist China for nearly 30 years through the end of the 1970s (see photo above).

I think they’re probably right, but no matter where it came from, I love that it’s a thing in China and notice it nearly every time I’m out wandering around.

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