Oh, just thought of something… Some time ago, someone asked if a dancer could fight, and I came to the decision that, perhaps, if he would use something close to the idea behind Yang style Taijiquan, since there is very little tension in the movements, as you mostly direct the enemy around your core and throw and push and pull… Hard to do, but perhaps possible :3

That was othersidhe’s question and I think it was more along the lines of the dancer’s dances made it look like he could fight instead of actually being able to fight and whether or not there were any martial styles that overlapped with dancing instead of hiding your martial art inside of a dance and hoping no one notices or looks too closely to see the tells.

There are definitely ways to make it work, the problem is that the author actually needs to work hard to justify the why part of the equation. You can, ironically, get more mileage out of a character who looks like they’re capable of fighting via their dancing versus a character who looks like they’re fighting in their dancing and can actually fight.

It’s a deception question, a martial art that’s designed to look like a dance but now looks like fighting has broken the illusion. The goal in hiding a martial art in a dance is to make the character look less dangerous as opposed to making them look more dangerous. However, disguising the martial art, whatever martial art that is, takes a fair amount of work on the part of the martial artist. So, there has to be a significant and important reason for why they are expending that much effort.

For example: most of the major martial arts out there that incorporate dance (like Taekkyon or Capoeira) do so because there was a reason why the martial forms needed to be hidden and the practice of traditional martial combat was outlawed. The other reason why a martial style may include dance (such as in some folk dances from different cultures around the world) is because the dance expresses something important to the understanding of the cultures’ celebrations or belief system and the martial style itself. This is pretty much part of where the performance aspect of modern Tournament culture in the US comes from.

People always find ways around restrictions. Some of the most famous weaponry (excluding the katana) out of Japan like the nunchaku and the kama were originally farming tools used by peasants to defend themselves against bandits. During the Edo era in Japan only the Samurai class was allowed to own weapons, peasants were forced to rely on their local lord or samurai for protection. But no system works perfectly, so they developed weapons and martial forms out of the tools they used daily, in order to hide what they needed to protect themselves from those who would punish them.

So it’s more a question of: is there a reason why they should be hiding their martial art and are there enough people around them who are doing the same to be able to support the illusion? For a style to actually be a style there has to be more than one or two people practicing it, otherwise what your character is doing starts to look very obvious to the outside observer even one who is not familiar with the culture in question.

-Michi

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