Dragons have long been part of many Asian cultures. Unlike the Western view of Dragons, where they are creatures to be feared and killed, Eastern Dragons are revered. They are often described as being wise to an almost clever state. Eastern Dragons are often described as having a smile on their face and a look filled with wisdom. They live for centuries at a time and the symbol of good luck. Eastern Dragons also tend not to have wings, rather they move through the air using their mystical powers.
Dragons appear in many of the Chinese forms of Martial Arts. Some school will teach the traditional Dragon Dance. This dance normally involves several people moving in unison to control a large fabric dragon. As they twist and weave the dancers must stay coordinated to avoid tangling the long fabric. Some of these dragons can be several meters long.
Another common dance, which is often associated with many dragon forms, is the lion dance. It involves a two-person team, one being the head of the lion and the other the tail. As a drummer beat a special rhythm, the lion will perform great feats of acrobatics that almost represents the playfulness of the creature they are trying to imitate. One of the culminations of this dance is to "consume", or use a knife to cut up, a head of lettuce.
In some systems, dragons are viewed as the most powerful creature because of their mythical state. Because no one has actually ever seen an dragon, it is believed they can hide by transforming into many form. Their movements take on a circular motion mimicing the weaving of the long dragon body through the clouds.
Learn more about other animals & elements in Martial Arts as part of our Chinese New Years articles.