Dancing dragon uses the techniques of science and religion to synthesize elements from both eastern and western fighting styles into a beautiful and deadly art. It follows five basic principles: simplicity, orthogonality, broken rhythm, power from the earth, and the left hand path.


In science there is a principle known as Occam's Razor. In martial arts, a similar rule applies: a simple move is inherently preferable to one more complex. Complex effects can still be generated by complex sequencing of simple moves. What is important is that the granularity remain fine, so any interruption can be easily shrugged off.

The easiest way to victory lies in attacking first, then maintaining the attack until the opponent's defense falters. Maintaining the attack requires continuity; simplicity is the key to continuity.


Orthogonality has several meanings in mathematics and art, but the computer science meaning applies best to martial arts: actions by components of a fighter's arsenal should not propagate side effects to other components. This means that striking high and fast with my left sword should not influence my ability to strike high or low, quick or slow, with my right.

The ability to stagger attacks which strike anywhere from either side is exceptionally powerful. So, a fighter must never limit himself to one arm, one leg, or one weapon. Balanced weapons are preferrable to unbalanced; when one weapon is shorter or lighter, the style invariably becomes unbalanced to match the weapons.

The more chaos a fighter channels, the more deadly he becomes; orthogonality is the key to chaos.

Broken Rhythm

There exists a dichotomy in the way martial artists are taught rhythm. In the beginning, they are taught to time their footwork, strikes, indeed all their efforts to a steady, constant rhythm. While perhaps useful as a teaching tool, it leaves students completely unable to use their skills in any kind of real context.

When, later, the student begins sparring training, he must learn how to incorporate a more broken rhythm to avoid being defeated by his own predictability. Many students at this stage find it difficult to perform complex sequencing without the steadying effect of a constant rhythm.

Because of these two factors, most students of martial arts find it impossible to use them until they begin to reach an absurdly high degree of skill. Given the Buddhist teachings that have permeated eastern martial arts for centuries, this is even considered a desirable goal. From the perspective of the left-hand path, though, this is lunacy.

One of the few martial arts that teaches broken rhythm from the beginning is capoeira. This is why a simplified version of the capoeira step is the basis for all footwork in Dancing Dragon. Thus, a student will be able to apply any technique in an extemporaneous context as soon as it has been learned.

As Rusty Cundieff once wrote, predictability is the stepchild of ingenuity; broken rhythm is the bane of predictability.

Power from the Earth

A wise old Russian circus performer named Felix once said: "All dancing, all fighting, all just... push off the ground!" He then proceeded to take a small tree trunk, and began spinning it at high speed around his body. Though he occasionally used his upper body to provide direction to the whirling mass of wood, the impulses driving it were visibly coming from his stomping feet.

The muscles and bones of the human leg are simply stronger than those in the arms, and so we should always strive to use them to full effect. When using the legs, it becomes apparent that a deeper stance gives more power than a high stance; this is true in both physical and metaphysical contexts. Dancing Dragon applies this principle in all contexts, with weapons and without; it is especially vital when grappling or using heavy weapons.

Victory requires both stability and power; power from the earth is the key to stability.

Left Hand Path

Since the advent of Buddhism, its philosophy has become almost inextricably intertwined with eastern martial arts. Christianity has had the same effect on western martial arts, especially during the Middle Ages. These religions are typical examples of the spiritual genre known as the right-hand path; the goal is the annihilation of the ego so an individual conciousness can merge with the Infinite. It uses passive mode meditation, where gnosis is achieved by the elimination of stimulus.

There is, however, another way: the left-hand path. It seeks, rather, to potentiate the ego until the individual conciousness achieves Infinity while maintaining its ego boundary. It uses active mode meditation, where gnosis is achieved by the overflow of stimulus rather than by its elimination.

Battle invariably leads to an overflow of stimulus; when one has trancended to Infinity, defeat is impossible.