Tag Archives: muay thai

Dancers: The Sleeper Agents Among Us

14 Jun

Muay Thai may be both the most graceful and most brutally efficient martial art known to mankind (or at least to this specimen of it). There is no place in it for a superfluous movement or a meaningless gesture. Each stance either maintains or intensifies velocity and balance or else conserves energy for defending against impact. It also makes heavy use of the body’s natural bludgeoning tools- elbows and knees.

“That’s great”, I can hear you saying as images of pink tight-clad nancy boys compete for space in your head with shirtless, sweaty men, “but what does it have to do with ballet?” I will enlighten you, Gentle Reader.

Here is a ballet dancer performing a movement called a grand battement.  Look for a moment at the lifted leg. See what little effort the girl is using to maintain that stance.

Now stand up and lift your leg as high as you can before you fall/tear a ligament. Once you’ve completed that exercise you will have a better idea of just how strong a dancer’s legs are.

Comparison time! Here is a Muay Thai fighter performing a sideways kick:

Now, here is a ballet dancer performing almost the exact same movement:

You may look at these pictures and think, “But one of these men is kicking ass and the other is wearing a costume made out of velvet.”

You would be right. Putting aesthetics completely aside, though, look at the bodily position and the structure of the movement.  It becomes clear that just because a ballet dancer isn’t kicking ass doesn’t mean they can’t. Ballet is dirty, sweaty, tough and demanding. While a dancer may appear harmless compared to a boxer they have many key qualities in common.

-Both possess precise knowledge of  their bodies and how they move. The flip-side of this is that they are dangerous in a fight because they also understand how your body works and all its weak points.

-Both possess uncanny endurance, not to mention almost unreal pain tolerance. If you don’t believe me, feel free to put on a pair of pointe shoes and walk en pointe for 35 seconds. I dare you.

-Both must have stubborn, determined, one-track minds to have reached the level of excellence that they have in their art. Do you really want to go up against someone who, when they have decided to destroy you, just will not stop until they have done so?

-Ballet and Muay Thai actually share more movements than you might think. Muay Thai frequently utilizes a quick, dodging (sideways, back or forward) movement known in ballet as a chasse. This literally means, “to chase”. Now why does a harmless thing like ballet include a move like that if not to secretly train super-soldiers?

Basically, what I’m saying is that ballet dancers are the other side of the Muay Thai (or any martial art) coin. Instead of using their super-powers to beat people up in very cool ways, they use them to enrich the world with beauty. Many people, however, do not realize just what dangerous potential lurks underneath that lacy surface. This is why ballet dancers need love. We must keep them peaceful. So next time you think ballet is for pansies, remember what murderous potential those leotards are concealing. Hug a dancer today.