I took a workshop about teaching performing arts to kids a couple of weeks ago.  The guy leading the workshop was an actor and the vehicle he used to demonstrate teaching techniques was pantomime.  In other words, he taught a class in pantomime with the goal being for us to learn something about teaching kids, not about pantomime itself.

However, when I was asked to perform using pantomime, I got a lot of laughs and gasps and other audience responses.  It struck me that my martial arts training has heaps of pantomime in it.  Chen style taijiquan is particularly good training for creating objects in space, but the precision of Northern Shaolin stance training is also solid ground for pantomime.  I know exactly where my fist is in space, whether it is behind me level with my shoulder or exactly one fist's distance away from my left temple.  I can easily establish a consistent height for the ledge of an invisible window using horse stance.  I can hide the murder weapon on an invisible top shelf for later retrieval using the precise height of monk stance.

Of course this should be obvious right?  I mean every kid knows that when you are doing a martial arts form you are pantomiming beating up every mean kid who has ever set foot in the playground.  No?

Storytelling with ones hands and body is a skill that can come in handy in a lot of situations.  In places where you don't speak the local language it can be used to put money in your pocket or to defuse a potentially violent mis-communication.  (Pirates also need these skills to communicate with each other ship to ship on the open seas.)  I have been disappointed during my travels in China at how rarely I could get people to explain things with their hands.  In Turkey it was even worse, if I tried to use my hands people would become noticeably anxious and upset.