Historical records, such as mural paintings and brick carvings discovered in a Han Dynasty tomb in Chengdu, Szechuan Province, show that the origins of Chinese acrobatics date back more than 2,000 years. This type of acrobatics was developed mostly in the Qin and Han dynasties (221 B.C.-A.D. 230)
The way European and American circuses developed in the past was by picking up novelty acts, often with the use of animals, and was partly driven by commercial needs.
Chinese took a different approach, and just worked with what they already had to perfect their moves and presentation, and would constantly increase the level of difficulty.
With Chinese Pole, the poles were originally laced with rubber material and were 10-30 feet high.
Traditional pole performers would wear full body costumes.
A well-known trick is called “the flag,” where the acrobat hangs straight out at a 90 degree angle using nothing but core and arm strength.
The burn marks performers would get on their shoulders from training ended up becoming a way for acrobats to know who also trained, and also gain respect for one another in this art form.
Cirque Du Soleil has Chinese Pole in their performances these days, so you might be able to catch some there if you are liking what you see.
For now, enjoy this old footage of some neatly cut performers, and to learn more on the history of Chinese Acrobatic Theater, check out Circopedia.