Enter your e-mail
address below & watch for a free weekly Training Tip on some aspect of
martial arts, blade craft, conditioning, self defense, health, physical
culture, history, mind training, attribute development & more
What's New -
Video Clips of Men's Knife Dancing Around the
Compiled by Pete Kautz, 2009
Knife dancing is one place
where very old traditions of men's physical culture are passed on the modern
generation. Today the meanings of the movements in these dances are not
always obvious to the untrained eye, but for the martial observer there are many
relevant concepts of motion to be studied.
through sites like YouTube I have found a number of clips that show such dances
from around the world and have put together a resource page of quality links to
the best ones I found.
I have only
linked dances there that I feel contain a majority of combative principles.
Dances where the knife is just held as a prop and dances where the focus is on
the performer balancing knives on their body have been left off
I have also only linked men's
dances with the knife for the time being. There are women's knife dances
as well that contain martial elements (such as ones performed with the
Indonesian keris) that perhaps I will include in the future.
As you watch
these dances, look at the motion base that underlies the action. Look at
the hand motions, the footwork, the body shifting, etc. When you have your
martial arts filter on, you will start to decipher what is encoded in them.
For example, the Turkish video
Knife Dance - Battle Music, which shows a double-knife dance done by boys. Look at it
and you'll see the rolling and picking as well as the cover and slash action of Drawpoint! Plus training for range sense and courage as the boys take
turns being the target of fast attacks that come close to the face.
In other dances
you'll see different kinds linear, angular, and circular steps combined with
blade movements. Look at the dances of Yemen and you'll see the Flourette
(flourishing) action with the blade and the men circling with the left wrists
touching or left to left hand grip as should be familiar to anyone who's trained
in the partner Sungkiti exercise. Look at the Egyptian dancing and you'll
see many direct attacks such as figure eights and snap-cuts.
Dance is an
aspect of the martial arts that is seldom explored in America. For the
most part in modern pop-culture "White men don't dance" and the practice of martial
arts is not thought of in the same category. As close as we might come to
the thought of "martial dance" in the American media lexicon would probably be
something like crumping battles or B-boys.
Unless you come from an
art that has dance aspects like Capoiera, Silat, African or Russian styles
the dance connection probably isn't an aspect you've thought about much martially. Sure, you
probably know that Bruce Lee was cha-cha champion in Hong Kong but it's not like
people run out and train the cha-cha. And it's not like they need to
either. It's just that you can see how this sense of musical intelligence
and understanding of moving in rhythm influenced Bruce and his art.
How can one
understand "the opponent's rhythm" or "half beat attacks" if they don't
understand music, timing, rhythm and moving the body accordingly!
Watch the old TV
show "Longstreet" for the episode "Way of the Intercepting Fist". In
it there is a
training scene where Bruce puts on a rock album and implores James Franciscus
character to "Move with the beat, baby!"
This is why you
find a lot of JKD guys playing drums during class. It may seem weird but
it's very beneficial for you to learn to do. Listening to music as you
practice is good, but learning to create it live is another level of
understanding. Try it and see!
one Medieval group I know requires all prospective fighters to learn at least
one period dance before they will allow them to qualify in arms. This was
sometimes a real point of contention with newbies who felt it "un-manly", but I
thought it was a good tradition. Besides footwork these also are a nice
exercise in stepping with poise and grace and usually quite simple to learn.
Of course, there
are a host of other specific martial dances that we see today as well (such as
ones with sticks) as well as other dances that contain martial elements. I
have previously written at length about specific
Filipino folk dances and their
connection to the fighting arts so will refer you back to the Alliance
website for more there. When you think about it, even classical martial
art forms are
a type of dance by their nature of being a choreographed solo activity.
The point of all
this is not to go out and be on "knife dancing with the stars" (or would that be
"knife dancing with the scars?"). It's just about having a visual resource
for motion to look at and draw on that can help you better understand what you
already know and do. To make new connections that were there but had been unseen
to you before. It's all good for body mind education so take what is useful
here and make it your own!
Knife Dance Egyptian style (Egypt)
Knife Dance Egyptian style II (Egypt)
Greek War Dance (Greece)
Pontian "Maxeria" Pitsiak, Knife Dance (Greece)
Khukuri Dance (India)
Mexican Knife Dance (Mexico)
Thai Knife Dance (Thailand)
Knife Dance - Battle Music - Hancer Bari - Folklore
Turkish Knife Dance (Turkey)
Knife Dance In Yemen
Knife Dance In Yemen II (Yemen)
Knife Dance In Yemen III (Yemen)
Knife Dance In Yemen IV (Yemen)
I hope you have enjoyed this look at men's knife dances of the
world! I will post more here as I find them online.
All the very best to you,
New - Timeline