November 20, 2014: Zen in Tango – The Martial Artist’s Point of View
“Why people with background in martial arts often become good dancers of tango and social ballroom dances” is a question I have heard many times. To me, having a background in martial arts and budo, this is axiomatic as I know what kind of training is applied in martial arts. Martial artists have adopted a training culture where the goal is perfection, which is never or rarely achieved. Skills are fine tuned with humble and focused attitude and devoting oneself totally to the said art means building a certain attitude towards training that is not so self-evident for “casual” non-competitive person attending dance lessons. Martial artists want to know in great detail how a certain movement is done and are not satisfied if they are not doing it perfectly. This attitude is a key asset when training dancing.
Secondly, martial artists learn to control their bodies. They train to have good balance and posture in all kinds of situations. This is good building block towards becoming a good dancer.
Thirdly, the state of mind needed in randori (training method in budo, i.e. Japanese martial arts) is very similar to the state of mind needed when dancing. This aspect I will discuss in more detail in this text.