The DRAGON-TIGER DANCE
Foreword by Sifu Bodhi Sanders
By Kempo Karate
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Kata is a Japanese word meaning "form" or “dance.” It refers to a detailed choreographed pattern of martial arts movements meant to be practiced alone. Kata are the formal exercises of Karate. Kata is much like “shadow-boxing,” or sparring against an invisible opponent. You imagine the opponent’s fist coming and perform the appropriate block, then counter-attack with a strike of your own. Some kata are practiced against multiple opponents, some against a single foe.
Theoretically, every solo kata has a matching kata that can be performed by two players interacting. Some martial arts, like Kempo, have a variety of such elaborate and complicated practice forms. The Dragon-Tiger Dance is one of these. This exercise is an excellent way for training partners to develop speed, distance, timing and rhythm.
There are many ways to practice this form, as a solo exercise; as a series of one-step sparring drills; as a demonstration of the anatomical targets, the strikes used against them and the blocks; as an elaborate, slow two-man drill; or a dynamic fight scene action sequence!
Demonstrations, explanations, schematics, photos and illustrations of the Dragon-Tiger Dance
"The goal of all martial artists should be to become like the dragon, controlling the aggression of the tiger." Bodhi Sanders
This Two Man Form is derived from Chinese Kempo. It contains many of the ancient Hand-Weapons used by the venerable masters, including the Buffalo Knuckle, which is formed by extending the middle knuckle from of the fist and locking it into place by squeezing the others; and the Shuto, or Swordhand, which is formed by isometrically tensing the little finger side of the hand to simulate a sharp cutting edge.
When practicing, strive to develop a timing and a rhythm to the give and take of attack and defense presented. Perceiving and accommodating the tempo of the opponent is the first step in leading him to make a mistake.
The Dragon-Tiger Dance uses the Shaolin principle of the continuous and returning fist. Each technique sets up the next one in the series.
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