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.