General Dance Discussion > Ballroom Dancing vs. The Martial Arts

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Spitfire, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. Taita

    Taita New Member

    Hi Swing Kitten,
    Sorry for the belated reply. I am based in CT. Currently, I am an International Latin competitor. I've also been an International Standard Competitor and have been known to be able to practice 'self defense' in just about any type of social dance occassion. :wink:
  2. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    ...And dancing helps you to lose yourself and find yourslef all at once!
  3. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    YAY!! we're neighbors!! The states are so much smaller out here! If y9ou ever want to go swing dancing let me know!! :wink: :D
  4. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Re: the best follow

    :shock: :lol: :roll: :uplaugh:
  5. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Re: the best follow

    Tell me about it! :roll:
  6. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Re: Body Lead Exercises

    This is an awesome exercise for getting followers to become sensitive to their leads, which is one of the keys to good lead follow technique.

    Point of order though... Frame is not body lead. They are completely different concepts, though necessarily inter-related. The word frame is not dehumanizing or esoteric. It is the teachers responsibility that all dance terms used are properly defined for their student.
  7. d nice

    d nice New Member

    One of the best followers I've met in Lindy Hop can barely lead a swing out. Yet she blows nearly every other follower out fo the water, even on her worst days.
  8. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    leads and following

    Certainly, Ginger Rogers never needed to learn to lead; she was a natural. And I'm sure Fred did learn to follow because he did much of his own choreography.
    But if you are not the Ginger caliber, learning to lead does give you a better perspective of the problems of following, and when you have this frame of reference, following becomes more of a logical concept. Just common sense!
    Using the 'Exceptions' to a case in point, to contradict a teaching technique, a technique that dance teachers themselves always use to improve their own 'Lead/follow' techniques, is not nice!
    Did you ever meet a qualified dance teacher who did NOT know how to both lead and follow well? Doesn't that give you a clue?
    I have a rule when I teach a student, 'Until you get a sound basic foundation of a given technique, avoid listening to others who would discourage you'. Too many cooks can turn a nice meal into a not nice meal.
    Black Sheep 'Creativity Always Threatens the Establishment'. Joe Lanza 2003 a.d.
  9. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I'll agree Joe here, at least, in part.
    I believe I have become a better a leader as a result of learning to follow. By understanding the signals necessary to be a good follower, I can better provide the lead.

    ....somehow we're not talking about martial arts.

    So here goes:
    Do you think learning how to take an attacker off balance would help in keeping a partner in balance?
  10. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

    Yep. You don't even necessarily have to be a paticularly good follower. Actually, I'll quite often lead newbie guys (Actual role reversal, not backlead, although I've learned not to say `here, you be the girl for a bit'. Guys dont seem to go for that for some reason.:?) and say - `this is what its 'sposed to feel like - now you try.' It works quite well sometimes, but going from follow mode into lead mode does graunch the mental gearbox a bit.

    Absolutely. 100%. Well sort of. Um wait a minute and I'll expand on that. Often we'll play with the very edge of a persons balance, almost allowing them to take it back, in order to move them somewhere else - or just for fun.
    So you find yourself very aware of what your partner is doiong balance wise and how you can change it. (or not change it as the case may be....)
    It also makes you very steady and sure of yourself when suddenly someone is leaning on you for support.

    Sarah <knowledge can be used for good or evil :twisted: >
  11. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    Kinetics & Dancing

    Martial Arts and Gymnastics are not that far apart in body training. Both fields develop a stronger kinetic sense and teach you the body mechanics that improve both your ability to control your own center of balance in any contorted moves.
    But the most important benefit I think I have derived from years of acrobatics was the ability to analyze and correct a movement whether it be in tennis or in dancing. And if I were proficient enough in Martial Arts, that same analytical ability would have been developed through my knowledge of M. A..
    There is one advantage that acrobatics has over MA as I see it where dancing is concerned:
    With the exception of tai chee and Gung Foo and maybe Judo, and that advantage is in the aesthetics, the styling, the smooth graceful flow that gives dancers the look of balance and flowing gracefulness that is mesmeric. I don't know that any expert in any of these arts including acrobatics ALONE can develop a sense of classical statuesque styling. I see too many good dancers ala the Arthur Murray dancers on these TV shows that throw in all the SAME Ballet poses, that are plastic with frozen smiles and are, to me, nauseating to look at.
    If some teacher could come up with an INDIVIDUALIZED course in 'Styling', i.e. the natural use of the arms, legs, body and the head in dancing that is APPROPRIATELY appealing for each individual dancer, I think they would be overwhelmed with students. I have my theory on how this could be done, and maybe I'll have an opportunity some day to illustrate how before my batteries run too low.
    Great thread!
    Black Sheep 'Dancing is Any Body Movements Put to Music', Joe Lanza 2003 a.d.
  12. will35

    will35 New Member

    I guess I probably brought up the part about men learning to follow in this thread or another, it's hard to remember. But it works whether you like it or not. It increases sensitivity in either partner. Remember the old Indian saying, "Walk a mile in my shoes." I have seen a few leaders who just don't know how a woman needs to hear what the leader is saying in the dance. That does not mean a leader has to learn to be a very good follower, but he should spend at least some time with it to get the feel of it. The follower does not have to learn to lead, I think. The leader is the person responsible for most of the dance. He points the way. He has to learn to do it in a way that is convincing and pleasing to the follower. The follower has different problems with learning to dance. Sometimes she just needs to learn to let go. It might or might not help her to learn to lead. It might get the urge to backlead out of her system, and it might not.

    "I don't know that any expert in any of these arts including acrobatics ALONE can develop a sense of classical statuesque styling. I see too many good dancers ala the Arthur Murray dancers on these TV shows that throw in all the SAME Ballet poses, that are plastic with frozen smiles and are, to me, nauseating to look at.
    If some teacher could come up with an INDIVIDUALIZED course in 'Styling', i.e. the natural use of the arms, legs, body and the head in dancing that is APPROPRIATELY appealing for each individual dancer, I think they would be overwhelmed with students. I have my theory on how this could be done, and maybe I'll have an opportunity some day to illustrate how before my batteries run too low."
    -Black Sheep

    The natural use of the body comes from doing it for years and years, and feeling how painful it is to do it in an unnatural way. Everything becomes natural with practice, but practice in dance, not Jujitsu. If dancers want to dance better, they should practice dancing. If they also like to practice martial arts, then they should do that, too. But I can't see how it could be sold as help for dance when the time could be spent better dancing.
  13. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Re: leads and following

    Well actually most of the top followers in Lindy Hop instructors or otherwise are at best mediocre leads... most of them can't lead anything beyond a swing out. Their insight comes from simply being aware of themselves.

    Now certainly learning to lead can help some dancers improve. My issue is in you saying "The best way to become the 'best follow', is to learn to lead." (emphasis mine)
  14. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Re: Kinetics & Dancing

    I think any of the arts are more than capable of producing this, assuming that ones instructor is skilled, and you have fully embraced their teachings.

    Retch. I'm SO with you on this. My biggest complaint about Ballroom for so long was that SO many of the dancers seemed to be doing the exact same dance stylistically, all latin looked the same, all smooth looked the same, all swing looked the same, regardless of the difference in step/rhythm/patterns. I can't even dance lindy hop to two versions of teh same song with the same partner, played back to back, the arrangement is different, the improvisations are different, so my styling is different.

    I have and I am. It is one of my two most sought after master classes. Luckily for the community I am not the only one.

    In the African diaspora there is no difference between dancing and music and your entire life is spent moving in rhythm.
  15. d nice

    d nice New Member

    The grappling styles to me are more immediately applicable than the striking styles, but even a hard, striking dominated form like Tang Soo DO or Shotokan or the giant of the hard styles Kyokushinkai all grant you the ability to sense motion through subtle visual and tactile clues, incorporate their opponents body movement into their own, "blending" the two.

    The benefit the grappling arts have is in the redirection of force through manipulation of momentum and balance.

    Then there is the added benefit of using hgih amplitude throws with a little adjustment into wicked air steps.
  16. danceguy

    danceguy New Member


    I've been thinking about the parallels between dance and MA for a while now, and without a doubt I'd agree that they are complementary art forms. However, and I do hope not to offend anyone here, I have a hard time calling martial arts "dance" since I've studied under some really traditional teachers where the martial side of the arts were strongly emphasized.

    Whenever people find out I study MA, most tend to ask if I study wushu. I try not to get offended, since in my book, wushu is in a whole other category. It does teach some self-defence, but the modus operandi of the art is for show, display, and competition.

    Studying some of the more rare and unknown martial arts will show a student just how deep these systems go. Far beyond all the movements, the forms, there is so much that modern martial arts have lost from their ancient ancestors. Its a rare find these days to meet an instructor who knows the old ways...where the arts were "martial arts" - the arts of war. No sparring, no belts, no kata, no spinning twirly kicks...simply a method of survival that was designed to do one thing in an application - cause death. And please let me clarify, I am not an advocate of violence and I do strive for the point that in most situations I would allow someone to hit me without fighting back if it could end the encounter with a peaceful resolution. The true secret of any martial art is never to use it...but if it must be used, then it must be as it was made to be. When the arts have become watered down (sadly, as most tend to be today), they become something else...empty movements.

    Where I see the similiarity to dancing is the balance, posture and movement of the body. But getting to the true essence of the martial arts...there are no forms, no preconceived set rules (save moral ones). So on the other hand, they are vastly different. For myself, being a Taoist, I avoid even letting people in dance class see how good my balance is. In some martial arts classes, I lose my balance on purpose. This may sound weird to some...but it should make sense to others.

    And dancing...well aren't we out there to strut our stuff and look good? A very tough call for a guy like me...but again, to understand why we do things one way, we must address the other.

    To sum it up, I do feel dancing and MA have some common ground...but as the world of martial arts is so vast...there is a huge gap in the middle. For many years the Asian systems (which I dearly love) have dominated the martial art world...but in the next few decades...I believe it will be the Russians who will give the world of martial arts back their true nature.

    As life goes on, all things come full circle.

    Warm wishes to all,

  17. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Depends entirely what you mean when you say dance. Fighting has a distinct rhythm to it, The better fighter can force his opponent to fight in his rhythm, and can syncopate that rhythm to maintain control of the lead. *shrug*

    Not quite true... the various old styles used sparring, spinning kicks, and simplistic forms of kata to teach flow, rhythm and timing... and of course there were often belts... what else would they hold their pants up with? ;) Okay seriously you have to spar if you plan on becoming proficient in combat. Striking the air or a board will not teach you how to respond to a living opponent. Sparring wasn't done for sport of course, but it was used.

    I'd disagree. Certain arts were designed specifically to be used. Ying Jow Pai and Wing Chun are two examples of arts designed with combat specifically in mind. In the case of Ying Jow Pai, it was originally comprised of Ngok Fei's Style designed for his soldiers to use in warfare.

    The Russians? Really? I highly doubt it. The Brazillians were the last people to majorly affect combat, though American/Japanese union has redesigned even their developments. The Russians are pretty much out of the loop, their last developments being the leg locks of Sambo which is pre-coldwar and already overshadowed by luta-livre/shootfighting/MMA.
  18. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    Hi Dnice,

    Oooh goody! A martial arts debate! We must talk further on this my friend. :)

    Wait a minute...that sounds like a lady I was dancing with last night...heh heh. :)

    About my post, I was referring to more "softer" styles where there is little or no movement...and the higher levels where the masters ability goes far beyond "physical" movement. But even so...I know this must happen with really advanced dancers who have been dancing for many years together. I saw this couple doing Vienesse Waltz last night...a husband and wife who just flowed so beautifully...after being around someone for many years our bodies do begin to link energetically. It was quite amazing to watch. :)

    Hmm, I think you mean the harder styles, like the early Judo and folks like Jhoon Rhee...and I've always admired him. Again I was referring to the older Chinese styles, such as dates back about 900 years or so. And yes, of course there is partner interaction in all arts...but what I meant was our modern concept of sparring. The one on one back and forth of trading strikes...not designed for multiple opponents...nor to disable them very quickly. I think sparring in most arts is more for sport these days. And don't get me wrong...I have the greatest respect for takes guts to do what they do!

    You have a good point there. Are not all martial arts designed for combat, or where at one time? I think my library of Taoist terms got the better of saying "never use it" meant to avoid using it for darker once we learn how easy it is to harm others...we realize just how sacred life is. Every master I have met has told me this...of course these were also guys you didn't want to mess with. :)

    I won't debate this one with you. But I wasn't talking about Sambo. There is a new group of martial artists on the scene, only around for about 10 years and only becoming well known in the last few. Do an online search for Russian Martial Arts...and all I can say is...prepare to be amazed. There are some folks from that country who have a method of combat that is more effective than any I've seen before..and IMHO, it will most certainly change the world of martial arts...and it already has. :)

    Take care,

  19. d nice

    d nice New Member

    You mean the Systema? Nothing particularly new or revolutionary in it. Our own spec-ops close quarters combat systms are every bit as useful as is the IDF's Krav Maga. I taught CQC for the Marines (1st, 2nd and 4th FRCO) including a stint at Quantico, and trained over, with, and under SF units from around the world. While a number of units had some interesting techniques there was little that wasn't covered in some manner by multiple other forms. Nothing that I saw as both superior and unique.

    The only thing these styles have over most martial arts is a dedicated work ethic, and a dispensement with superficial trappings. This is just the military version of what Bruce Lee was going for with JKD (minus his spiritual/artistic component).

    As to sparring, the point tag a lot of commercial styles use is more than a bit removed from the old style. However I've given concussions, knocked out and broken bones in my training partners in Shootfighting. I've seen the same in sparring in several arts. Depends on the art, the branch, and the instructor.
  20. danceguy

    danceguy New Member


    Well it sounds like you are much more knowledgeable about SF training than I am...very impressive qualifications. Remind me never to get in the ring with you. :oops:

    I don't know much about shootfighting...but it sounds pretty brutal.

    Well, I'm finally going to meet and train with the Russian folks in a few hopefully it will be a good learning experience. Now, if they teach some of that funky low stance dancing...heh.

    Hmm...we seem to have gotten a bit off thread with too much MA I'll pull a X-Body lead back to dance...

    For me, the best thing that MA has given me for dance is body awareness...being able to sense when other couples get close to myself and my partner on the dance floor.

    I wish more people were aware of this! Especially at events that serve alcohol. :shock:



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