When I talk about Chinese tops, I like to do the comparison with the french petanque; indeed, these are two activities that we can practice anywhere, apart from any club or association, and which most of the time bring together informal groups of people of all ages and backgrounds. The comparison stops there of course, because if you can practice the petanque about any where (just to have a pretty much flat area), the practice of the Chinese top requires a clear location and a smooth soil, concrete, flagstone, marble, etc.: a clear place because top player needs at least a 5 by 5 meters square to wield a 2,5 meters long whip; a smooth ground because the spining top’s head is not fit to irregular surfaces, such as asphalt parking, for example, (unless you play a large top with a 30 mm ball head).
In China, finding place to practice spining top is not really a problem. Indeed, in most chinese cities you can find huge parks which are attended from dawn to dusk (and even after) and which have all paved spaces, perfect for playing tops. But do not go for as much to unpack your top and your Whip in the first square or Park you will find if you don’t see other players; with the renewed interest in this activity, there are a growing number of complaints from residents who no longer support the snapping of whips as early as 6 o’clock in the morning, and now, some municipalities have taken orders prohibiting this practice during certain hours, days or periods. Thus, in Wuhan, according to what I understood by reading articles on the subject, playing tops and whip is prohibited during the weekends and the days before school or university exams.
If you are travelling in China, you will find a list of places where you can play spining top at the end of this article. It is a non-exhaustive list which will be regularly updated over my travels.
In Western countries
At writing time, I stay in China and I have not yet experienced the practice of Chinese tops in France or in any european countries but with the development of Da Tuoluo, the question will quickly arise: where to practice? The plateform of the Paris metro would be perfect as well as the waxed concrete underground parking, but I doubt that in one case as in the other one leaves you enough time to double tap your spining top before alerting the police.
More seriously, there’s the malls esplanades, the concrete driveway that leads to your garage or the floor of a gymnasium or a dance hall. I await your testimony and experience feedback.