Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dances, War and kata

Again my interest is piqued by something I read linking the ideas of dance to martial movement. This time the sources is not from the far East but Europe: the ancient Greek war dance.

I'm reading a fascinating and comprehensive account of sword fencing throughout history (By The Sword (Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai Warriors and Olympians) by Richard Cohen, Macmillan, London 2002) which in it's preamble of early sword fighting history touches on the ancient Greeks. The Greek infantry or Hoplites were trained in fighting arts in weapons manipulation and pure fighting skills but also in the war dance which Plato sees as valuable for combat preparation. Cohen states that the Greek army did place emphasis on larger, heavier recruits but also found that the agility and the gymnastic ability that dances encouraged were of value. Not as overtly martial in the following example as Asian kata but interesting all the same.


4 comments:

SueC said...

Interesting, if not a little bizzare! However, I expect a pre-battle dance helped to bond tribe/platoon members together and got the adrenaline pumping ready for battle!

SenseiMattKlein said...

I see some practical moves in there, like shuffling, sidestepping, and takedowns.

The Kiwis have a dance called the Haka that this reminded me of. They do it before rugby games (going into battle). Great post.

Littlefair said...

Thanks Sue and Matt..

Matt, check out this previous post of mine!
http://diaryofamartialartist.blogspot.com/2009/02/war-dance-and-confrontational-body.html

Erica said...

Very interesting! I learned a lot of stuff here and i'm also searching for this kind of my report . Thanks!

Mr. Martial Arts