Mr. Sato shares how pole dancing changed his life and could change yours.

Back in 2016, our reporter Mr. Sato entered the world of pole dancing for the first time. The fact that he was a middle-aged man prone to smoking, drinking, and pigging out, it began as one of his many hilariously out-of-character experiments.

▼ Mr. Sato dancing in 2013

However, over time, the hobby began to have a profound effect on him, changing not only his physique, but his mind and outlook on life. Now, although he’ll humbly say he still has a lot to learn, he has become a finely tuned dancing foodqueen performing on stage.

▼ Mr. Sato dancing in 2020

Mr. Sato would now like to share what he’s learnt over the course of his dancing, in the hopes that it could help others like him.

Old guys everywhere, dance!
By Mr. Sato

By the time you enter your 30s, you can probably know your limits and abilities. Those with the gift of the gab can excel at sales and people with a great degree of focus can go into manufacturing. As for me, I was never really good at anything in particular, but the one thing I knew for certain was that I sucked at athletics.

However, it’s been three years since I started pole dancing, and although I’m still not very good at it, I learned to love to move. In recent years my interest in physical activity has been growing and I came to realize that dancing is a great thing. So, I want to say to all the others who are like what I used to be: Old guys everywhere, dance! Moving your body to music is a great thing!

Actually, I feel uncomfortable calling what I do “dancing” but I don’t know what else to call the movements I make to music, so at least allow me to use the term for now.

・Avoiding “beauty”

Prior to all this, dancing had absolutely nothing to do with my life. Moreover, I had always consciously distanced myself from anything related to “beauty.” I never really saw any beauty in myself, but I know there must have been a longing to find beauty deep inside. It was just always overwhelmed by feelings of shyness and embarrassment, so I ignored it. I’m sure this attitude came about as a high school student.


I was clumsy and awkward then and any time I ran or did any physical activity, the other kids laughed. Ball games and other team sports were worse, and I always felt like I was dragging my teammates down with me. It was just annoying and frustrating to participate.

I thought, “It’s impossible for a person like me to even pretend to be beautiful. It’s simply not for me.” Once I resolved that, I stopped feeling frustrated with myself. That’s how I continued to think for the next thirty years.

Eating would be the only competitive sport Mr. Sato considered 

・No need to worry about anyone else

When I started pole dancing in 2016, I realized that I had grown up and didn’t have to think like that anymore. By exercising at my own pace and not worrying about how I looked compared to other people or winning a pointless game, I never felt frustrated or sorry about myself. Now, I only feel frustration when I can’t accomplish what I set out for myself, but that kind of frustration only pushes me to do more.

Realizing that the only person judging me was myself was very liberating, and the way I thought about physical activity changed. I felt I still wasn’t “dancing,” though. I was just trying to learn a pole trick or two, and that was good enough for me.

・Dancing was still out of the question

Bit by bit opportunities came that changed my thinking further. There would be performances or competitions where I needed to perform to three or four minutes of music. It’s not just doing tricks, though. They need to be done gracefully and in time with the music.

One of Mr. Sato’s first performances in 2017. Notice that while his tricks are impressive, he is doing very little in between them.

I used to watch TV shows where celebrities tried to dance and sometimes fail for our amusement. I used to laugh at that, but now I can’t. Dancing is difficult, like chasing music with your rigid body that often feels like a robot running out of oil.

At first I thought I could just fake it by doing some faux kabuki or karate movements in between my tricks, but it wouldn’t work. Instead I came to find enjoyment in moving my body, but dancing was still a bridge too far…

・Express myself?

Still, I continued but with little confidence that I’d ever be able to truly “dance.” I went to the studio often, either practicing my own arrangements or a teacher’s choreography. I also performed twice a year, and that is how I discovered what I was missing.

I wasn’t expressing myself.

Aside from technical skills, by watching the performances of the other 20 or so participants each time, I saw that they each had something appealing. I could see feelings such as joy or sorrow clearly in their dances. It was like they were building a story.

For me, the urge to experience things and express my thoughts has always been stronger than any fear or self-doubt. In that way, maybe instead of my words, I could be communicating with movement, and then would I be really dancing?

・A language beyond words

For my entire life I’ve been good at expressing myself through talking and writing, so I never considered doing it with my body. Even when I started all this, my only motivation was to do this alone and to get over my own bias against exercise. I never thought about it as a tool of communication, one that could express thoughts and feelings beyond words.

When I raise my eyes and look forward I have hope. If I clench my fist I’m angry or determined. I can also add elements of sadness by pressing that fist against my chest.

There are many words to explain “happiness” but seemingly endless ways to do it through large and small interwoven movements. And it varies from person to person, which makes dance a rich source of individuality, more freeing that anything I have done before!

This concept of “beauty” that I had blocked out from my life wasn’t a specific sense or a goal to attain, it was a medium of communication, one that anyone is welcome to use regardless of their own physical looks or ability.

・You can too

I know there are a lot of men my age, who are just like I used to be and want nothing to do with dancing. To all of you and anyone else reading this, I want to say that dancing can change your life! At the very least it’s great muscle training.

It’s also super easy to win competitions when you’re the only person in your league

But if you keep at it, it will become something more powerful than just exercise. It will help you to express yourself in ways you never thought possible. It’s safe to say these days that typing opinions into the cacophony of social media isn’t very effective, so why not find a better and more fun way to let your true self be heard?

Photos ©SoraNews24
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