When I look at parkour athletes and martial arts practitioners, I feel like I want to be as free yet controlled as they are.
It’s mastering your body and being completely in tune with your surroundings. I feel such a strong pull towards wanting to achieve such a state.
I’ve never had such a desire before. But it materialised once I learnt to be mindful of my surroundings and my body.
Practising a sustainable vegan lifestyle was one outcome of my being mindful. I’ve got into the idea of growing my own food and living off grid but what I really crave is the idea of freedom.
The definition of freedom may differ between each individual. To me, freedom means being able to express myself fully in any shape or form. It could be travelling without restriction, writing without inhibition, homesteading, or even challenging my body to move in certain ways that allow maximum expression.
As human beings, unless we have a certain disability, we are made to move and create. At the very least, we walk. But that may not be enough to satisfy our need to survive either physically, mentally or emotionally. In such a case, we would need to extend our range of motion.
Kindergarten Was Fun
I was first introduced to the idea of dancing and performing in kindergarten where it was kinda compulsory to do a yearly showcase. I remember enjoying learning the steps, putting on funny costumes and performing on stage.
Of course at that age, I didn’t think much of it. But to me at least it definitely planted a seed.
Then in primary school, I took up gymnastics and I found I could do more with my body. I could bend my back and make a bridge. I could spread my legs apart into a split. These were shapes or poses that I never thought my body was capable of doing.
I liked it very much.
And I liked the feeling that came along with it.
When Life Hit Me
Sadly, my gymnastics days didn’t last even two years. Long story short, at one point I started falling really ill each time at practice. I’d feel nauseous after some exertion and I just couldn’t move with my head spinning and my stomach reeling.
At that time, I didn’t know what it was but I remember feeling embarrassed. So I decided to quit. That was my first big regret in life.
Later in my teenage years, I was diagnosed with a type of anaemia. It all made sense then. Whatever “illness” I went through as a child was a symptom of this disease. The only way I knew how to cope with it was not to exert myself, hence my quitting gymnastics.
But eventually, I caught the dancing bug again and when there was an opportunity to perform at school, I just signed myself up.
My relationship with dance and movement had been on and off. I’d only ever dance at school clubs. Even so, I was consistent. I danced at secondary school for a couple of years, and then stopped when going into college. And then picked it back up again only in my 3rd year of university.
Segue to Martial Arts
Around the time after I became vegan, I was inspired by the practice of martial arts and Bruce Lee’s philosophy. I wanted to try it out.
Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. — Bruce Lee
So after university, I tried out Muay Thai for a year.
And damn, I never thought kicking a punching bag and hitting another person’s stomach would be fun.
However much I enjoyed it and learning a lot from it, there was still this nagging feeling of wanting to get back to dance. I was still practising some moves when I could find the free time.
BACK TO DANCE
After my one-year Muay Thai stint, I decided to get to know the Malaysia dance scene. I started going to classes and watching battles or competitions.
Now a year on, I’ve never been more in love with dance. I’ve been consistently going to different types of classes and have gained amazing friends. I’ve been recording my journey on my dance instagram and that has been great to keep me accountable!
So yeah, I can feel my body improving and getting more toned than ever before so I’m really happy.
I shall leave you with some videos of me dancing x