Tai chi Y3D66: I danced my dance

There’s a book I have at school. I forget the title. It’s an anthology of primary source documents from American history, from colonial times through the end of the Vietnam War. One of the early pieces in the book is a few weeks’ worth of entries from the diary of a Virginia plantation master, lately come into his wealth and property, about 1754 — when there wasn’t yet even a United States, when it was all still just colonies.

In amongst his recordings of his usual doings, is the curious line “I danced my dance.” he does it every day in every entry. Sometimes he does it twice. The footnotes suggest that he’s practicing a dance routine so that he knows how to dance for one of the local social events. One footnote comment suggests that maybe it’s a fencing sword-form.

Today, my tai chi routine suggests that maybe its a little of both. My routine today was far more dance-like than martial…. But there’s no disguising its militant origins.

Today I danced my dance. That’s pretty much all I can say.

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2 comments

  1. I remember when I first discovered the whole dance as martial tradition in antiquity, with stories about military commanders inviting leaders from towns to be conquered to watch their warriors dance to see if they could persuade them to forego putting up a struggle. One of those eye-opening “The past is another country” moments.

    Don’t mess with those guys–I mean, have you seen them dance?

    • I definitely think there’s something to that. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see a genuine army of warriors dancing, but I’ve seen video of dancing villagers from Ghana doing a traditional tribal war dance, and it’s a little terrifying.

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