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Thread: Ballet-fu.

  1. #1
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    Question Ballet-fu.

    Went to the ballet the other day.

    Some famous Japanese ballet dancer said 'Ballet wa kakutougi' ('Ballet is fighting technique'). It's obvious he was a ballet dancer, not a boxer! They're phenomenal athletes but they show more of an inclination to wear paper bags, rather than to break out of one.

    One thing struck me however... their posture is marvellous. My friend who's a pro tells me that they have this visualisation of having a line tied to the top of their heads and connected to 'up there', pulling their posture straight.

    This reminded me very much of some of my teaching in aikido and taichi...

    Q1: does your style involve such a concept? If not, is your principal posture S-back, hollow chest, or what? Does your style school you in changes of pricipal spinal alignment, and how does this affect your power transmission?

    Q2: how do you find it helps/changes during sparring/stand-up in competition?
    its safe to say that I train some martial arts. Im not that good really, but most people really suck, so I feel ok about that - Sunfist

    Sometime blog on training esp in Japan

  2. #2
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    Well **** me, I forgot no ****er ****ing practises MA anymore since this ****ing war started.

    Ya ****in ****s.
    its safe to say that I train some martial arts. Im not that good really, but most people really suck, so I feel ok about that - Sunfist

    Sometime blog on training esp in Japan

  3. #3
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    Mat.

    What can I say I practice Chen TJQ?


    We keep the spine straight, but not as straight as Yang TJQ.
    Witty signature under construction.

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    So have you practised a style that keeps the back curved?

    How do you find the mechanics of power transmission between the two?

    Have you sparred? What strikes is the straight back useful for as opposed to rounded? What about the mechanics of ducking, dodging, and eating fat punches?!

    I would start the ball rolling and answer from my experience... but then that would be the end of the thread! ... er no, actually cos I really do have to go and train...
    its safe to say that I train some martial arts. Im not that good really, but most people really suck, so I feel ok about that - Sunfist

    Sometime blog on training esp in Japan

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    The day my dojo starts making us do plies to 'Swan Lake' is the day I quit.
    K. Mark Hoover

  6. #6
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    Smile

    Interesting.
    Yeah, ballet types are excellent athletes, and the women are amazing

    I think Savate has some ballet elements to it, at least for practicing moves, if not for actual sparring... maybe crimson can verify/explain the connection?

    I use straight back, the visualization starts deeper tho, at the solar plexus, the image being that of "drawing out a sword". It changes during sparring, but thats my error!
    -Thos. Zinn

    "Children, never fuss or fret
    Nor let unreason'd tempers rise
    Your little hands were never meant
    To pluck out one anothers eyes"
    -McGuffey's Reader

    “We are at a crossroads. One path leads to despair and the other to total extinction. I pray I have the wisdom to choose wisely.”


    ستّة أيّام يا كلب

  7. #7
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    The ballet statement is not so far off...

    While fighting is fighting....the formalization of martial arts and dance have a similar and common history...if you go back a ways.

    First, the original methods of training for fighting and hunting were probably "Just do it" and we all know that this is a sink or swim type of approach.

    At some point, the old early man (cave man and primitive society) began to do things after a battle or a hunt that re-enacted the battle or hunt. Sort of a "Look what we done..." thing.

    This began to be formalized into a dance.

    They then began to do the dance BEFORE the battle or hunt to show what was going to happen.

    Then, someone noticed that doing the dance was a training for how to do the hunt or battle. Bang, martial art began...as a training tool via the dance. Up until then it was pretty much "do this..." but nothing all that formal aside from going out with the older members of the tribe.

    Now you have the dance of the hunt...the battle, etc... and it is used to show the young in the tribe what to do.

    Dance and martial art have intertwined from that time to present.

    They ARE different...but to ignore what they have in common and their common roots is shortsighted.

  8. #8
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    My fiance's aunt is a director of Ballet West in Salt Lake, and when we visited her she gave us both pointers on our posture. Fantastic stuff.
    cxxx[]:::::::::::>
    Behold, I see my father and mother.
    I see all my dead relatives seated.
    I see my master seated in Paradise and Paradise is beautiful and green; with him are men and boy servants.
    He calls me. Take me to him.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by ZIM
    Interesting.
    Yeah, ballet types are excellent athletes, and the women are amazing
    Mmmmm
    Sure are!

    At first I was a little alarmed at the men, but apparently they all wear protection to prevent them pinching their grollies - I'm sure it has nothing to do with hiding their real goods!
    And the women, the women! Any female who can put her legs behind her head gets one from me... a vote, that is... in fact, come to think of it, any female who will put her legs behind my head will get one too!

    But I don't wanna hijack my own thread...
    ZIM
    I think Savate has some ballet elements to it
    ... so I'm not gonna mention that this is because it's French, else Crimson'll get all huffy again ... sorry mate, I'm English, we've been doing it for centuries!


    I use straight back, the visualization starts deeper tho, at the solar plexus, the image being that of "drawing out a sword". It changes during sparring, but thats my error!
    Don't get this bit. What do you mean 'starts deeper'? Do you mean that you think of a line from your centreline at your solar plexus pulling you upright, and where is the sword being drawn from and towards?

    GLW: good post, over here there are lots of dances that look very martial... and the Okinawan fishing ones in particular share a lot of similarities with some of the goju moves. Very short stances with pigeon toes for gripping the gunwhales between two boats, downward hooking movements as though using a gaff to bring up a fish, or a jitte or some such...

    and some of the other Japanese country agricultural dances too have moves involving the rice flails (er yep nunchaku!) or grinders (tonfa)... not to mention the very shaolin-like moves of some of the taiko drumming...

    was privy to a performance of the Ninja Bayashi (Ninja Woods) drum piece the other day... was so excited I flipped out and kicked the drummers in the head...! Nobbut seriously, it was very martial looking.
    its safe to say that I train some martial arts. Im not that good really, but most people really suck, so I feel ok about that - Sunfist

    Sometime blog on training esp in Japan

  10. #10
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    So, back on topic...

    In wing chun of course, most people go with a straight back, and say that with the right positioning you don't need to duck and weave. Shock, horror! Maybe you don't need to with the right positioning but I've found that it improves your mobility and in some cases your energy generation, and doesn't actually go against WC structure.

    Notice I'm too chicken to put this on the WC board... it's like talking to a bunch of wooden dummies over there... cept most dummies are more interesting AND more flexible!

    In biu jee (the third and last empty hand set in Yip Man WC) there are a couple of moves which involve an overhead centreline elbow and your other hand crossing centreline to start somewhere towards your armpit then shoot out with a biu sau (finger strike) along centreline. People regard this and much of the rest of the set as a way of correcting any mistakes you make.

    I find in hard sparring you often lose your structure by someone jerking your hand across centreline and find yourself in this position. The WC way of practising this is of course to keep your back straight, but I find I can generate a lot more power from the floor if I twist and arch it a bit (the twisting goes with your opponent's energy instead of trying to resist the greater force, and builds up torque, and the arching helps to get more power into your lower spine from your legs, similar to the hollow back of some taichi, I guess). Then, when you release the biu sau, it is really usefull in breaking the opponent's grip, controlling his arms, pushing him back, or even better, hitting him! And you also use his ostensibly advantageous position to regain your own structure.

    It's kind of like the same feeling when you duck and come up with an uppercut/right cross.

    Gotta go... if anybody's gonna add anything... I'll come back and witter some more about some of my recent revelations on the transmission of power between straight and curved backs... bet you can't wait, huh?!
    its safe to say that I train some martial arts. Im not that good really, but most people really suck, so I feel ok about that - Sunfist

    Sometime blog on training esp in Japan

  11. #11
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    Just started Yang taijichuan, and my teacher emphasises straight back, no curve at all from the base of the spine up to the top of the head. Don't know about power though, not got to that stage yet.

  12. #12
    Both American Kenpo and Yang Tai Chi Chuan emphasize upright posture. I'm still a begginer in TCC, so I won't get into power generation there.

    Power in AK is generated by proper technique and body mechanics, and thorough understanding and application of principles (which I don't have time to go into now). But we try to never give up our base or our posture.

  13. #13
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    Well, we practise form with a straight, although not always upright, back. The extent to wich you can maintain this whilst applying techniques is debatable though as it could make you very 'wooden' and stiff. I'd say I try and keep a straight back as much as possible. Especially when lifting or throwing.

  14. #14
    Ether, it is actually that upright posture, with a 'stacked' spine, that enables you to remain extremely relaxed.

  15. #15
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    Smile mat

    Don't get this bit. What do you mean 'starts deeper'? Do you mean that you think of a line from your centreline at your solar plexus pulling you upright, and where is the sword being drawn from and towards?
    Yes, that's essentially it. The sword metaphor is used in pref to a 'string' in my case becuz it just works for me- a sense of lifting, not pulling as if I were a marionette, an internal component so interior musculature is involved, etc. The image comes from qiqong... something like excalibur, eh? Try it out in your stance, see how it affects your waist/hips, if its any different...
    -Thos. Zinn

    "Children, never fuss or fret
    Nor let unreason'd tempers rise
    Your little hands were never meant
    To pluck out one anothers eyes"
    -McGuffey's Reader

    “We are at a crossroads. One path leads to despair and the other to total extinction. I pray I have the wisdom to choose wisely.”


    ستّة أيّام يا كلب

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