Dance or Martial Arts?

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Durandal
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Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Durandal » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:30 am UTC

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Freakish » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:33 am UTC

Neither, go with Yoga.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Julie » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:38 am UTC

If you have the time, both! That way, if people gave you a hard time about dancing, you could go martial arts on them! (strictly in self-defense, of course). If you had to chose, though, I'd say go with martial arts- seems more practical.

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby JayDee » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:41 am UTC

Durandal wrote:I speed skate, and I need to do something to a) increase flexibility and b) improve balance. Now, two activities that have a great deal of both of those in them are martial arts and dance. So, my question is of everyone here - which should I do?

Both dance and martial arts seem to general. I'm not so sure about dance, but various martial arts emphasize different areas. If you have a particular style in mind that focuses on flexibility and balance, that sounds like a good choice. If it were me, though, I'd go with both.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Durandal » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:54 am UTC

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Fossa » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:57 am UTC

My personal recomendation would be to go with a soft style martial art.

In my mind the dance that would really help you with balance and flexibility would be ballet while the kind that gets girls is ball room/swing/salsa.

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby TheStranger » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:02 am UTC

I'd recommend a martial art, specifically a "soft form" (Aikido, Judo, Combat Submission Wrestling, etc...). It's a great way to work on your flexibility and endurance, and is an all around valuable skill.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby timt » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:07 am UTC

um what about gymnastics? i thought you had to be REALLY flexible to do that sort of thing. Personally i would choose dance (of coarse take a kick ass form of dancing not ballroom or anything) because the girls will love it. I'm not sure about you but i have never been in a situation where i needed physical force to get myself out of (social wise that is), a lot of situations can be talked out of and if your just looking for self defense carry mace or something with you.

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Berengal » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:09 am UTC

Capoeira is both (and awesome). I'd do it if there was a local club. Hopefully there'll be one when I move.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Kag » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:27 am UTC

Berengal wrote:Capoeira is both (and awesome). I'd do it if there was a local club. Hopefully there'll be one when I move.


This. Exactly this.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Alisto » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:35 am UTC

Dance. If all you want is flexibility and balance, dance will give you that much faster than almost any martial art. Capoiera is the one possible exception, but that's only because it's essentially a dance in itself.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Nath » Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:28 am UTC

Durandal wrote:I speed skate, and I need to do something to a) increase flexibility and b) improve balance. Now, two activities that have a great deal of both of those in them are martial arts and dance. So, my question is of everyone here - which should I do?

I suggest trying both, and seeing what you enjoy. There are many kinds of dance and many kinds of martial arts, and several of each would probably meet your requirements. I'd personally go with martial arts -- mainly because I did, and it's fun. It could also come in handy if you get attacked by the Pfhor.

Someone suggested aikido. I see why, but I disagree. I think that aikido is excellent at teaching people how to move, once they've already become fairly comfortable with basic throwing and grappling through judo or jujutsu. I don't think it's a good first martial art.

Punchey-kickey martial arts like Taekwondo seem to put more emphasis on flexibility than most throwing/grappling systems. Not my cup of tea, though.

One hidden perk of throwing systems is that they teach you how to take a fall safely. This is probably the most practical thing you will learn in a martial arts school. I've never been attacked by a pack of ninjas, but I have slipped and fallen on icy roads more times than I care to recall.

Durandal wrote:Incidentally, would anyone know how steep the learning curve is for each of those? I assume dance would be the harder one...

I don't know if this question makes sense. Is seven yellower than pop tarts? You are comparing two different types of things here. There will never be a point when you have fully learned dance or martial arts.

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Durandal » Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:41 am UTC

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Nath » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:27 am UTC

Durandal wrote:Well what I guess I mean is this - will I initially be put in a class with people far younger than me? If so, how long would it take to progress beyond that?

This varies from school to school. At a typical suburban McDojo, yes, there's a chance you'd start out in a room full of kids. But there are clubs geared towards adults, as well.

Part of it might just be dependent on the art. It's possible for adults and children to practice karate kata together. It's not really fair for adults and children to practice judo throws on each other. Many clubs have separate adult and child classes for this reason.

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Marvin » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:34 am UTC

ninjutsu anyone? seems quite promising to me, needs flexibility like any other MA, teaches you how to fall, and there is whole lot of balance training in it, wing chun would be another idea i guess, and i guess any kung fu has balance exercises.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby lamarguerite » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:38 am UTC

timt wrote:Personally i would choose dance (of coarse take a kick ass form of dancing not ballroom or anything) because the girls will love it.
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Personally,
I would say martial arts, but that's really because that's something I've always wished I'd done.

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Sable » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:45 am UTC

I would say ballroom dancing. You cannot possibly look sexier than doing Viennese Waltz with a beautiful young lady. And tango, done properly, oozes sensuality in every movement and breath.

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Marvin » Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:58 am UTC

lamarguerite wrote:but that's really because that's something I've always wished I'd done.

then why don't you?
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Zak » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:05 am UTC

I would definatly go with capoeira, looks sweet, and is basically dance and a martial art rolled into one.

All of the advantages of dance, none of the stupid asshats who can't understand why a guy would take a dance class.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby bluebambue » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:48 am UTC

I would go with dance. I have done karate, and while I was not fully engrosed in it (went 2 times a week for 2 years) I never became much more flexible and I didn't notice a increase in balance skills. However, I'm fairly sure that karate is not a matial art particularly focused on the ballance.

I think dance will suit your needs better, I am now able to do the splits for the first time in my life, and I am much more aware of my body/ balancey stuffs. Plus it is a great way to impress girls. I would suggest a jazz/ballet course if ballance/flex is your entire goal, but I find ballroom to be more fun and social, yet still a great way to get ballance (the flexibility not as much).

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby ThisIsVictor » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:02 pm UTC

I would suggest tai chi or akido.

Tai chi will do wonders for your sense of balance. I don't think it will help flexibility quiet as much, but it will be good for you. Tai Chi very meditative though. The actions are very slow and careful. If you're worried about getting bored, or don't like meditating, skip tai chi.

Akido very good for balance and flexibility. And for throwing people to the ground just by grabbing their hand and twisting. Also falling and rolling, which is just a good skill to know.

I think the learning curves are pretty similar. Both are learning body control and figuring out which muscle groups do what.

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:24 pm UTC

The main difference in my mind is in the assorted secondary exercises you might be doing with dance or with a martial art. In general, studying a martial art will have you working out with a focus on building muscle more often than studying dance. There are many dances which you could study without ever lifting a dumbbell or doing a push-up. I don't think there are any courses of martial arts study that wouldn't at least recommend doing this sort of exercise on your own time, even if the course is too basic/cheap to include it in mandatory or optional lesson time at the gym/dojo/whatever.

Dance will improve your flexibility like nobody's business. However, the right martial arts course will have the same amount of stretching and balance exercises as any of the dance courses you might take as someone not studying to become a professional dancer. The reason I would recommend martial arts is because you need muscle for speed skating. In dance you want to be flexible and strong without building up a lot of binding muscle. You're going to be building up your legs a good bit for speed skating, and it seems like a better idea to study balance and flexibility from the point of view of someone who has more muscle mass. The stretches you would do as an 80-pound ballerina are not the same ones you would do as a 180-pound speed skater.

If you do decide to take martial arts, capoeira and taekwando have the best combination of a focus on leg strength and availability of instruction. Either will have a lot of balance and flexibility training simply by virtue of the amount of legwork involved; if you're kicking someone who's six feet tall in the head, you had better damn well be flexible enough to reach without straining and balanced enough to not fall over if you miss or get blocked. Capoeira has a lot more groundwork and some courses will be more or less traditional; in some places it's taught more for performance and there is no sparring. Look up some videos of both styles, see what's available in your area, and call every single one to ask when they will be holding a demonstration or whether they have a web site with videos.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby zenten » Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:19 pm UTC

Dance and martial art are both incredibly varied areas, especially when you're not worrying about how good one is for fighting or moving to music. Heck, for any given martial art you're going to be able to find a type of dance that is more similar than some types of martial arts, and vice versa.

Most types will give you what you want though, so just look at one that looks like fun for you, is easy to find someone to teach you where you are in your budget range, and has few health problems.

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby aetherson » Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:20 pm UTC

I would suggest a soft style, as has already been said. One of the Kung Fu forms would do. I've been thinking about Capoeira myself lately. Although, this is coming from a non-soft stylist. Yeah, my balance and flexibility are good but we also focused on body hardening and power...not necessarily what you need.
You ask about learning curves and if you'll be in a group with younger children.
I would find a dojo and go to it. Speak with the instructor and ask what kinds of programs they offer for people in your age/ ability range. Ask if you can sit in with the beginner's class. Find out if they do month to month memberships or year long ones. (Be wary of McDojos: places that "Guarantee" belt promotion ever X number of months)
Just get a feel for the place. If you get a bad "vibe", don't go back.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby ZeroSum » Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:26 pm UTC

ThisIsVictor wrote:akido
Aikido, despite being an excellent martial art, doesn't do squat for flexibility unless you're talking wrists.

Martial arts with high kicks, like Tae Kwon Do or Tang Soo Do are more known for flexibility benefits.

Therefore, in this context, I agree with Alisto. (I actually agree with him in most contexts to tell you the truth.)

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Upsilon » Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:32 pm UTC

Would you rather kick someone's ass or dance with (possibly good-looking) girls?

Therein lies your answer.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:47 pm UTC

aetherson wrote:I would suggest a soft style, as has already been said. One of the Kung Fu forms would do.

Maybe I don't understand what you mean by "soft style" but it doesn't sound like something I'd use to describe the long fist wushu I studied. Did you mean one of a particular set of forms, or any form?
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby aetherson » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:04 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:
aetherson wrote:I would suggest a soft style, as has already been said. One of the Kung Fu forms would do.

Maybe I don't understand what you mean by "soft style" but it doesn't sound like something I'd use to describe the long fist wushu I studied. Did you mean one of a particular set of forms, or any form?


I tend to refer to the non-okinowan Japanese (i'm not including Uechi Ryu because they consider themselves a melding of soft and hard styles. Keo Kai Do is also more blended, but i'm unsure how they consider themselves) and Korean forms of karate as "soft styles".
Wushu would fit in the soft style grouping.
The "hard style" forms that I think of tend to have less "flowing" movements and are more direct in their technique. Where the soft styles are round and flow the hard styles are straight and tight in their movements.

Think of the ways that a Shotokan stylist moves as compared to a Shaolin monk.

The term "soft" or "hard" doesn't really have to do with how they hit or take a hit/ block. It's, in my mind, more about how they move. I've never been around, studied or worked out with a Long Fist stylist. I've only ever worked out with Crane and Tiger stylist. I don't know the actual term, but those were the forms they were learning at the time. (the form was long in the axis movement...something to do with the wide open spaces of where they trained in China).
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:09 pm UTC

I say dance. More guys need to take dance.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby ThomasS » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:45 pm UTC

If you decide to go for a martial art, my two suggestions are to look for a good instructor/school more than you look for a "good" art. Also, sit in on classes at lots of different schools before deciding. Almost any decent school will come in and let you watch a class if you call ahead. And many schools will even let you get on the mat and try it. Take full advantage of this.

Even within specific "styles" there is a lot of variation. You can find Tae Kwon Do schools that are very tournament focused, and others that are more self defense or personal development focused. There is an Aikido branch that actually has real competitive tournaments, there are more stereotypical Aikido dojo where you can go a long while without learning to apply a technique against a non-cooperative opponent.

As far as which will help with balance and flexibility... any kicking art (and especially arts with lots of high kicks, which are more of a tournament thing than a self defense thing) will give you some new things to practice on that score. But then, so will a good yoga instructor that is out to push you a little. Honest.The throwing arts (Aikido especially, but also certain Judo and Jujutsu) give a different sense of balance, and in particular force you to learn to understand the other person's balance. I always thought this was pretty cool, and you should probably find some aspects of martial arts, or dancing for that matter, which interest you beyond the generic words "balance and flexibility".

On the dance side, I'm a fan of tango. Probably comes from the whole learning to feel the other person's balance theme. In any case, much of the above advice probably translates to it also. You won't find a lot of flexibility training from typical ballroom/latin dance courses though, you'd probably have to go for ballet or something similar for that. Probably a great way to meet girls, but probably uncommon for a guy to start as a teen/adult. Well, probably uncommon for a guy to start at any age, but that is another discussion. Certainly there are adult beginner classes on all the other stuff I've mentioned, though some places have more schools than others.

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:57 pm UTC

On the subject of tango (I know this is a bit of a digression, but still relevant and maybe useful for the OP), I was wondering the other day what the major differences were between salsa tancing and the tango.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:59 pm UTC

Actually, you were wondering what the difference is between salsa and flamenco.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:01 pm UTC

I was wondering that too! But I was wondering this later, when we were not walking around in Harvard Square. And we discussed flamenco and I can identify it, I just didn't know how to describe salsa.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby aetherson » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:03 pm UTC

Tango:
Go and rent "Scent of a Woman". About half way through there's a hell of a good tango scene.
Also, "Moulin Rouge" has a kick ass version of "Roxanne" playing during a cool tango scene.

I don't know of any good salsa or flamenco in movies.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby 0range » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:04 pm UTC

Freakish wrote:Neither, go with Yoga.


QFT. I can't speak for dance, but I have 10+ years in the Martial Arts, and out of 30+ schools that I've worked out in, I didn't find one that could even tell me the difference between dynamic and static stretching, let alone when and how to do each.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby El Senor Fruit Swing » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:26 pm UTC

combine the two capoeira FTW
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Durandal » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:36 pm UTC

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Durandal » Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:09 am UTC

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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Dream » Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:18 am UTC

Durandal wrote:if you break it down,

Clearly, you want to go with dance. :D


I'm going to say dance, but I studied Aikido for years, and it would provide exactly what you are looking for. Either or, really, but dance = having cool dance moves. Aikido = being able to throw a man ten feet and pin him with one hand any time you feel like it. For me, dance wins.
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Re: Dance or Martial Arts?

Postby Nath » Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:23 am UTC

Durandal wrote:Anyway, if you guys could give me some feedback on what kind of martial arts from that selection I should take (I'm guessing it'll probably be Tae Kwon Do), then I could cross-reference it with the experience of my friends and come up with the best possible decision.

I highly recommend visiting all the schools you are considering, rather than just attempting to choose based on the name of the school. I'd rather learn a not-so-interesting martial art from a good teacher than an awesome martial art from a bad teacher.

That said, though, I am biased towards judo.


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