Homeadvantages of dyslexiaDyslexic Strengths: From Dance to Self Defense

Back in high school, I used to love being on stage. Our school had a great music and drama program, and although I never landed any solos or starring roles, I still enjoyed preforming, whether it was singing and dancing or just acting.

I’ve personally not done any of that since leaving high school, but there seems to be an abundance of dyslexics who excel in those fields. I just read about one, Casey Treu, this morning. He’s a dancer who’s spoken openly about his dyslexia and how it makes memorizing steps difficult.

I remember having similar problems. It seemed to be a lot harder for me to memorize lines than a lot of the other kids, and dance steps were difficult, unless I had someone there to remind me of what came next. Needless to say, I failed miserably at the floor routine part of gymnastics when that section came along in gym class, since that was solo.

Anyway, those challenges in memorization are often overshadowed by some of the natural gifts that come with dyslexia, namely spotting patterns and making connections.

Martial arts are also a good physical example of how dyslexic gifts can come into play. When I studied Aikido and Tai Chi Chuan, I had an extremely hard time connecting names with techniques, but once I could see how each one worked with a partner, I could master the technique.

After over 10 years of being inactive, I can still remember a great deal of my training, and when I find myself in the dicey situations, I can usually get out of them with relative ease. That’s because I’ve learned how to spot elements in my environment that I can use to my advantage.

A number of years ago, I was walking home from work on an early spring day.

It was a grey day, a bit like in the picture.

There were still patches of ice here and there, but it was still warm enough to encourage people to play outside.

As I was walking, I came across two teenage girls who didn’t like something about me. As I continued on my way, they started yelling at me and advancing threateningly.

I had just finished working a 12 hour day, tired, out-numbered, and they were both probably physically stronger than I was. They certainly had a few inches of height on me, and enough aggression to get physical if I let them.

However, they were also wearing four inch tall wedge heeled boots, short skirts and crop-top jackets. For them, fashion trumped common sense.

I was wearing hiking boots with those removable YakTrak things for extra traction, along with work pants and a somewhat bulky jacket. I calmly stepped onto a fair sized patch of ice and walked across it. One followed and when she fell, the other started laughing at her, effectively forgetting about me.

An unnecessary fight was avoided, and outside of maybe a bruised bottom, no one was hurt.

A big part of knowing to do that came from the martial arts training earlier in my life, but a bigger part was my natural tendency to notice things and forecast patterns. Sure, you don’t need to be dyslexic to take the same sort of actions, but I think my dyslexia has predisposed me to that sort of self defense.

Situations like mine, and those who pursue as their careers in entertainment demonstrate well how dyslexic weaknesses aren’t always as important to day to day life as our strengths are.


Dyslexic Strengths: From Dance to Self Defense — 4 Comments

  1. I'm glad! 🙂 Dyslexia, Autism and all of those other types of neurodiversity we're used to seeing in a negative light come with strengths too often ignored. I like to try giving a more balanced picture than what's out there already.

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