The shinkendo gi and hakama are very picturesque, and all of us in the group–even the serene senpai–are impressed with ourselves when we are all in uniform, all holding bokkens, moving in unison through goho battoho or working rokudo back and forth across the armory. At the same time there are foil fencers, sprinters, jugglers, unicyclers, and flag corps practicing there, but we are the ones who look pretty. We like it.
Once you have the gi and hakama, though, that’s it. After you test for ichimunji you get a patch to put on the back of your jacket, but there is nothing else–not available, not even allowed. All in unison, emit a sigh of ennui. We entertain ourselves by accumulating new weapons instead of new adornments.
Enter the antithesis of shinkendo:
Bellydance! I was so set in the martial arts frame of mind for the first class that I wore all black, pulled my hair back in a tight ponytail, and removed all jewelry and makeup.
Fact 1 about bellydance: you should have a scarf or belt around your hips.
Fact 2 about bellydance: it is best if it makes noise or moves when you move.
Fact 3 about bellydance: it is preferable to wear a skirt so that you focus on the movements of your hips and not your legs.
Fact 4 about bellydance: not only is big jewelry encouraged, but one generally leaves one’s hair down. Because one is more fabulous that way.
Early this week I dutifully visited the instructor’s shop during my lunch hour and bought the hip scarf (seen above) and two silver ankle bracelets with bells (seen below). I also searched for, and found, a tube of Maybelline’s discontinued Moisture Whip lipstick in East Mystique. There was no point in trying to photograph it, because its color is so subtle… orange mica in a pink base that, together, make a lovely, earthy color that compliments my coloring perfectly. I have been mourning its loss ever since I used up my last tube of it eight years ago. I am so, so happy to have one more fling with this fabulous and oh-so-appropriate color.
Shinkendo for peace–bellydance for joy.