Martial Arts Without Sparring: Mandance?

My daughter does Ballet one day a week and Jiujitsu (MMA) two. She’s eight. She’s a she. These are all good things.

The ballet helps her flexibility and balance. Besides, she’s a GIRL and even though girls can be feminine and kick ass at the same time, I’m taking great pains to ensure her interests in ass kicking are balanced with her greater interest in growing up to be a well-adjusted female member of society.

While pondering this as I often ponder things (mostly while in traffic), it occurred to me that gender roles and what society expects out of individuals based on where their reproductive organs are, are fairly well entrenched.

If we’re being completely honest with ourselves, most people, yes even guys, like to dance. The amount of alcohol or level one needs to go to impress a female required to facilitate this happening will vary from individual to individual. But failing the sauce or the chance for musical foreplay, dancing is not the most masculine pursuit. Hell, John Wayne didn’t dance. He did, however, kick copious amounts of ass.

And with most urges that get repressed by society, people tend to find an outlet to pursue them in a socially acceptable manner or a manner that balances the urges with the image they want to put forth.

You probably see where I’m going with this already.

So let’s cut to the chase and compare forms-based or non-sparring Martial Arts/Schools with Dance Schools.

  • Flashy costumes often bordering on “fabulous” (if you know what I mean)? CHECK!
  • Group and partner performances/demonstrations? CHECK!
  • Mirrors so you can preen and always look your best? CHECK!
  • Excessive amounts of stretching? CHECK!
  • Instructor-lead choreography? CHECK!
  • Partner-assisted coordinated movements? CHECK CHECKITY CHECK YOURSELF!

All of these are feminine qualities/pursuits. However, when you put on Asian pajamas, they are all magically masked by the oh-so-manly implication that you’re learning to kick someone’s ass.

But without doing any actual ass-kicking (at least via sparring), it’s just Mandancing. This is not to say that violence is a masculine trait, or even a positive one. What’s happening though is much like a male ballet dancer stuffing a sock in his pants and/or walking around glaring at people with a chip on his shoulder; projecting what’s only an image to overcompensate for his love of a feminine pursuit.

So if you spend several hours a week practicing something that resembles fighting, that’s suggestive of fighting, that you want to believe helps you get better at fighting, but you’re not actually fighting, then go ahead and admit it: you like dancing.

Sifu Bob’s House of Krotty is basically LaFleur Academy of Dance. And your silk pajamas? Yeah, not much more than a lacy tutu. Enjoy your costumes and your choreography, mandancer.