Stretch out those muscles, because this week’s debate is a movement match-up for the ages. One side keeps the beat from the start, while the other is an age-old martial art. Lace up your shoes and get ready to kick it up a notch, because it’s Tap Dancing vs. Kung Fu! 

Smash Boom Best producer Aron Woldeslassie is jazzed for tap dancing, while actor, improviser, and voice artist Billy Soco is kickin’ it for team kung fu! Which side will step up to the win?

Vote below for the team YOU think won!

Also… do you have your Smarty Pass yet?? Get yours today for just $4/month (or $36/year) and get bonus episodes every month, and ad-free versions of every episode of Brains On, Smash Boom Best, Moment of Um, and Forever Ago. Visit to get your Smarty Pass today!

As an added bonus, your Smarty Pass will grant you access to a super special debate starring Sanden and Molly!

Audio Transcript

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MARLEY FEUERWERKER-OTTO: From the brains behind Brains On!, it's Smash Boom Best.

MAREN: The show for people with big opinions.


MOLLY BLOOM: Hi, I'm Molly Bloom, and this is Smash Boom Best, the show where we take two things, smash them together, and ask you to decide which one is best. Today's debate is a movement match-up. One side keeps the beat from the start, while the other is an age-old martial art. Lace up your shoes and get ready to kick it up a notch because it's tap dancing versus Kung Fu. In one corner, we've got Smash Boom Best producer Aron Woldeslassie tippity-tap-tapping for tap dancing.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Get up off of that thing and tap dance--


ARON WOLDESLASSIE: --till you feel better.

MOLLY BLOOM: And in the other, we've got actor, improviser, and voice artist Billy Soco kicking it for team Kung Fu.

BILLY SOCO: Have a taste of Kung "Fu-d" for your soul.


MOLLY BLOOM: And here to judge it all is Maren from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Maren likes debates, puns. She'll stand by the Star Wars prequels, and she was obsessed with cardboard boxes when she was little. Welcome back, Maren.


MOLLY BLOOM: So Maren, tell me more about the cardboard box obsession. What did you like about them?

MAREN: Oh my gosh.


MAREN: So I'm a fairly crafty person. I'm an artist. But when I was little, I'd see the toilet paper rolls and boxes, I'd be like, I can do something with that. I can make a sculpture. And I never didn't because I would just collect things. You think you're really, really cool when you're good.


MAREN: [CHUCKLES] So my poor mother had to fight me tooth and nail about this one box inside of a box inside of a box in my closet with--


MAREN: --a ton of just different cardboard things that I swore I would make something with.

MOLLY BLOOM: And did you ever?

MAREN: I made a weird--


MAREN: --cat thing once.

MOLLY BLOOM: I like the optimism in that.

MAREN: Yeah, I was always so hopeful.

MOLLY BLOOM: I love that. So you have judged Smash Boom Best before, and you're an experienced debater. I'm wondering if you have any tips for our debaters today.

MAREN: Hmm. Keep consistent with what you think is your strongest argument, and go 110%.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very good advice. Will Maren side with team tap dancing or favor Kung Fu? Only she can tell. Maren, are you ready to judge this thing?

MAREN: Let's hope so.

MOLLY BLOOM: Before we get into this debate, it's time to review the rules of the game.


Every debate consists of the Declaration of Greatness, the Micro-Round, the Sneak Attack, and The Final Six. Our judge, Maren, will award points to the team that impresses her the most after each round, but she'll keep her decisions top secret until the end of the debate. Listeners, we want you to judge, too. Mark down your points as you listen. At the end of the show, head to our website,, and vote for whichever team you think won. OK, Aron, Billy, and Maren, are you ready?

MAREN: Yeah, let's go.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: "Tap-solutely."

BILLY SOCO: Let's kick it.


MOLLY BLOOM: Then it's time for the--

MARLEY FEUERWERKER-OTTO: Declaration of Greatness.

MOLLY BLOOM: In this round, our debaters will present a well-crafted, immersive argument in favor of their side. Then they'll each have 30 seconds to rebut their opponent's statements. We flipped a coin, and Aron, you're up first. Tell us why tap dancing is tip-tops.


LITTLE BETTY BISCUIT: Well, hi there. My name's Little Betty Biscuit, and I plan on becoming the biggest star in the whole world. I can sing. I can juggle. I can even touch my nose with my tongue. [SLURP] But lately, I've been losing incredible roles to my nemesis, Eliza Glick, all because she can tap dance. [SCOFFING] I could learn how to tap dance if I just had a teacher.

THADDEUS T. ROBINSON: A teacher, you say? Well, I'm the tap danciest teacher you ever laid your eyes on, Mr. Thaddeus T. Robinson. Pleased to meet you. And tell me, Miss Betty Bagel, what kind of tap dancing do you want to do?

BETTY BISCUIT: It's Betty Biscuit. And the flashy kind that'll blow that overrated redhead right out of the water.

THADDEUS T. ROBINSON: So you want to learn jazz tap, like this.



Or Broadway tap.



LITTLE BETTY BISCUIT: For a girl like me, the only way is Broadway.

THADDEUS T. ROBINSON: And you've got shoes, right?

LITTLE BETTY BISCUIT: I've got loads of shoes-- pumps, sandals, high-tops, low-tops, roller skates.

THADDEUS T. ROBINSON: I mean tap shoes!

LITTLE BETTY BISCUIT: Oh. No. We could tape some quarters to my heels.

THADDEUS T. ROBINSON: Kid, you have got a lot to learn.


ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Little Betty Biscuit does have a lot to learn, but it's not her fault. Tap dancing has a rich but not a very well-known history. It emerged in the United States in the 1700s when slave owners took traditional African percussion instruments away from enslaved Black Americans. Enslaved people had to come up with new ways to make music and keep their culture alive, so they clapped and tapped their feet to create rhythms and beats. These styles of dance merged with British forms of dance like the Irish jig and clog dancing to create early tap.


When it was introduced to the American vaudeville circuit in the late 1800s and early 1900s, tap dancers started wearing fancier clothes and put metal plates on the heels and toes of their shoes to create that crisp sound you know and love.

LITTLE BETTY BISCUIT: What in the name of sugarplums is the American vaudeville circuit?

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Imagine a touring circus full of different kinds of performers, like jugglers, singers, and dancers.


SUBJECT 1: Welcome to the stage, the incredible juggling Gillespie Brothers!




--the talented Mr. Quick Tapping Terence


ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Without American vaudeville, we probably wouldn't know about horse shows, magicians, stand-up comedy, and of course, tap dancing. Tap would evolve again as jazz music became more popular. Oftentimes, musicians would get tap dancers on stage with them.

LITTLE BETTY BISCUIT: What's with all the evolutions? Is this dancing or Pokémon?

THADDEUS T. ROBINSON: Oh, a tap-dancing Charmander would be so cute.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: When you tap, you literally make music, something few other dance forms can say.

LITTLE BETTY BISCUIT: Wait. Is tap dancing dance, or is tap dancing music?

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: It's both. Take a listen to this.


Tap dancing really hit it big in the 1930s, thanks to the silver screen. Big movie stars like Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and Gene Kelly were bringing tap dancing to the masses, and that's another reason why tap dancing is so rad. It's the essence of showmanship. Watching a world-class tap dancer will get your blood pumping and your heart singing. And it just makes you feel good. Think of Happy Feet with those animated penguins cutting it up on the ice.


LITTLE BETTY BISCUIT: And don't forget my latest film, Little Betty Biscuit's Beautiful Morning, a Tap Dancing Extravaganza.


ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Regardless of the name-- and let's be clear, that's a terrible name-- tap dancing and the movies go hand in hand.

LITTLE BETTY BISCUIT: OK, OK, OK, tap has all this amazing history, but what's important is me. Robinson, can you teach me or what? I'm getting older by the second!

THADDEUS T. ROBINSON: All right, let's see what you got.


Kid, you are going to be big.


THADDEUS T. ROBINSON: A big pain in the neck.



MOLLY BLOOM: Ending with a flourish, I love it. Maren, what did you think about Aron's Declaration of Greatness?

MAREN: Well, I think I have to start first and foremost, felt like judge pandering because you mentioned Happy Feet.


MAREN: And I mentioned that last time I was on the show how much I loved that movie.



ARON WOLDESLASSIE: What a coincidence.


MAREN: What?

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Who could have thought?

MAREN: Almost like someone did their research.


MAREN: Yeah. I am a huge fan of movies, so I loved hearing about Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers. And I think he made a lot of good and varied points about the history side of it and the art side of it. Excited to see how you'll build on those.

MOLLY BLOOM: Billy, it's time for your rebuttal. You've got 30 seconds to kick tap dancing to the curb, and your time starts now.


BILLY SOCO: OK, tap dancing, here's the deal. You only go back when was it? 300 years or something? My goodness, Kung Fu goes back 1,500 years ago, at least. Also, did you mention that there's two styles of tap-- jazz and Broadway? Kung Fu has five main animal styles and has since grown over 400 substyles around the world. I mean, it's like two shoes hitting the floor. I do that every day. Come on!


MOLLY BLOOM: And time.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Five animal styles? What is this? Is this a martial art, or I don't know, a menu? All right, that's just too--


ARON WOLDESLASSIE: That's not intriguing at all.




MOLLY BLOOM: OK, Billy, let's hear it. Tell us why Kung Fu is the move.

BILLY SOCO: I have loved Kung Fu since I was 10. When I first saw Bruce Lee in the movie The Way of the Dragon--


--I remember standing in front of the TV thinking, now this guy is my hero.


Bruce Lee was an actor and a supremely cool and powerful martial artist who slapped snakes in the face,



did two-finger push-ups,


and spun people like a human hurricane.


He was a Kung Fu master.


But Kung Fu isn't all snake slapping and people spinning. It's an ancient martial art with spiritual roots.


We don't know exactly when it started. It's probably thousands of years old. But one origin story begins about 1,500 years ago when a Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma arrived at the famous Shaolin temple in China.


According to the story, when he got there, he discovered that the monks were so weak that they were falling asleep while they meditated.

BODHIDHARMA: I am Bodhidharma, and I have journeyed from afar to--


I-I don't mean to interrupt, but--


Ugh. Well, for crying out loud, hello!



BILLY SOCO: Bodhidharma taught the monks a set of 18 movements designed to keep them awake and make them stronger. And it worked. These movements became the foundation of Shaolin Kung Fu. Later, some versions of Kung Fu added five animal styles to their practice-- the Dragon,


the Tiger,


the Leopard,


the Snake,


and the Crane.


Many masters channel each animal's unique energy and characteristics in their practice.


Tap dancing was invented less than 300 years ago, but it's going out of style as fast as fidget spinners and "Baby Sharks." Meanwhile, Kung Fu keeps getting more and more popular.


Actor and Kung Fu legend Michelle Yeoh, the star of hit movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Everything Everywhere All at Once, was just named the 2022 Icon of the Year by TIME magazine. And did I mention she just won an Oscar?


Which brings me back to my hero, Bruce Lee. He was the star of several Wushu martial arts movies, which became wildly popular around the world starting in the 1960s. And one of his most famous sayings is--

BRUCE LEE: Be water, my friend.

BILLY SOCO: "--be water, my friend." To get a better idea of what he meant by that, I went to a Kung Fu class at the Manhattan Shaolin School in New York City to talk to Kung Fu teacher and performing artist David Fung.

DAVID FUNG: Hands together. Good afternoon, everybody. Let's warm up wrists and ankles. 1--

BILLY SOCO: Watching him teach all these kids Kung Fu was super cool.

DAVID FUNG: And flail. Down.

BILLY SOCO: And when I asked David to describe what it means to be water, he said water, like Kung Fu, is all about balance and flow. And both are closely tied to the Chinese concepts of qi and qigong.

DAVID FUNG: So qi is the life energy in our bodies, and qigong is the practice of qi, basically trying to harmonize body movement and breathing together.

BILLY SOCO: Harmonizing movement and breathing helps the kids in his class throw sick moves.

KIDS: Ha! Ha!

BILLY SOCO: But it also helps a lot of people relax and get in touch with their bodies. And some research suggests it can have health benefits, too, like lowering blood pressure and strengthening the immune system. David told me that Kung Fu is even thought of as meditation in motion.

DAVID FUNG: It just requires so much of your body, and you can't necessarily say that about a lot of other practices, of having strength and speed and flexibility and dexterity and stamina all rolled into one in order to just try to accomplish one movement. I always come back to Shaolin because of its depth, because it's more than what it seems.

BILLY SOCO: Kung Fu has it all, more than a thousand years of history, a deep philosophical tradition, and it's the martial art for animated pandas and Oscar winners. Plus, it can be used for self-defense, fitness, meditation, and better health. Oh, and did I mention the animated pandas?


Can tap dancing claim even a fraction of that? [SCOFFS] I don't think so. I asked one of the kids in class what they thought about tap dancing, and their answer was pretty telling.

SUBJECT 2: Tap dancing is lame.

BILLY SOCO: And Kung Fu rules.


DAVID FUNG: And ready. Go. Go. Don't rush. Go. You're one team. Go.

KIDS: Hee-ha!


KIDS: Ha! Ha!

MOLLY BLOOM: A fierce and flowing argument there for Kung Fu. Maren, what stood out to you about Billy's Declaration of Greatness?

MAREN: Well, I think it was very catching for me to be on-site, hear testimony from kids learning about it. I think the arguments around how it's meditation and it's good for health certainly contrast a lot with the tap dancing arguments. But I was just talking about how much I like movies, and started with movies. So I think they'll be very interesting to see how that plays out.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Aron, it is time for your rebuttal.


MOLLY BLOOM: You've got 30 seconds to dance circles around Kung Fu, and your time starts now.


ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Prepare to be dazzled. Kung Fu is good in film. Sure, you got Enter the Dragon, but you know what we have? Singing in the Rain. Yeah.



ARON WOLDESLASSIE: We're literally making it rain with how much better we are than Kung Fu. Oh, yeah, you've got your fun, Oscar-nominated pictures about a panda. Oh wait, he didn't even win an Oscar. You know who did? A group of penguins cutting it up with their feet, OK? That's how I feel. Also, I see that you have five animal styles. If I want to see animal styles--

MOLLY BLOOM: And time.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: --I'm going to go to the zoo. Yeah.


BILLY SOCO: My goodness, you must be "Kung-Fused." "Kung-Fused."




BILLY SOCO: More like "tap out." Am I right?


Am I right?

MAREN: You're in a roll.




MOLLY BLOOM: All right, all right, this is a fiery debate today, Maren. It is time to award some points. Give 1 point to the Declaration of Greatness you liked best and 1 point to the most awesome rebuttal. You get to decide what makes a winning argument. Did one side sway you with some fierce facts, legendary logic? Who made you laugh? Who made you think? Who made you feel? Award your points, but don't tell us who they're going to. Have you made your decision?

MAREN: Mm-hmm.


MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. Billy and Aron, how are you two feeling so far?

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: I'm feeling strong and musical and rhythmic.

BILLY SOCO: I'm feeling in touch with my inner energy and with all things around me, "Everything Everywhere All at Once."

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] Beautiful. And we need to point out that Maren judged the first time she was here, penguins versus pandas. And now, today--


MOLLY BLOOM: --she's essentially judging--


MOLLY BLOOM: --tap-dancing penguins versus Kung Fu pandas.



BILLY SOCO: Oh my goodness.

MOLLY BLOOM: We're going to take a moment to warm up or stretch it out.

MAREN: And we'll be right back with more Smash Boom Best.


SUBJECT 3: You're watching State of Debate, home to rage and rhetoric and awe-inspiring argumentation.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: What's up, debate-heads? It's Taylor Lincoln here with the peanut butter to my pickle-- trust me, you got to try it-- the one and only Todd Douglas.

TODD DOUGLAS: Hey, debaterenos. Much like peanut butter and pickles, we make an unexpected but harmonious duo, don't we?

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Couldn't have said it better myself. Peanut butter and pickles aside, we just spotted someone using a logical fallacy. That's a debate technique that lacks logic.

TODD DOUGLAS: This time, it was a hasty generalization. That's when someone makes a bold, general claim about a group or phenomenon without evidence to back it up.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Oh, brother. Don't they know you can't just go claiming things all willy-nilly?

TODD DOUGLAS: Well, that's exactly what Sandra just did. Let's check it out.

MOM: Sandra, are you ready to trick or treat?

SANDRA: Almost. Just putting the finishing touches on my can opener costume.

MOM: OK. Well, don't take too much longer. I was thinking we could drive to Jangletown and hit up the houses there.

SANDRA: What? No. Mom, Jangletown is the worst. I went there last Halloween with Izzy, and it was awful.

MOM: Now why do you say that?

SANDRA: We stopped at this one house, and we got raisins. And no, they weren't even chocolate-covered, just dry, musty, rusty raisins!

MOM: OK, Sandra, that's a tad dramatic. Plus, that was just one house. That doesn't mean all of Jangletown is bad. Also, don't you eat raisins in oatmeal every day?

SANDRA: But it's not candy! Let's be real here. It only takes one house to ruin the whole neighborhood. I bet all of Jangletown is a letdown. First, wrinkly grapes. What's next? Prunes?

MOM: Sandra, come on.

SANDRA: Where would they draw the line-- loose Craisins, packets of dehydrated soup, fistfuls of quinoa? I'm telling you, they can't be trusted. Jangletown? More like Stinkytown.


TAYLOR LINCOLN: Ooh, actually, Sandra is totally wrongtown.

TODD DOUGLAS: Yeah, she was way too quick to make a hasty generalization about Jangletown

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Right. Just because she had one bad experience at one house last year doesn't mean the whole town is full of tricks instead of treats.

TODD DOUGLAS: Right. Plus, I like raisins, especially with a fistful of quinoa.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Sounds like it might be time for a snack break. We'll catch you next time on--

BOTH: State of Debate.


[SMASH BOOM BEST THEME MUSIC] Best Boom Smash. Smash Boom Best.

MOLLY BLOOM: You're listening to Smash Boom Best. I'm your host, Molly Bloom.

MAREN: And I'm your judge, Marin.

MOLLY BLOOM: And we love getting debate suggestions from our listeners. Take a listen to this transporting debate idea from Hudson.

HUDSON: North Pole versus South Pole.

MAREN: What a polarizing debate idea.

MOLLY BLOOM: We'll check back with Hudson at the end of this episode to see which side he thinks should win.

MAREN: And now it's back to Kung Fu versus tap dancing.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's right, and it's time for round 2, the--


MOLLY BLOOM: For the Micro-Round challenge, each team has prepared a creative response to a prompt they received in advance. Today's Micro-Round is pandemonium. For this challenge, we asked Aron and Billy to come up with three persuasive, passionate puns for their side. They'll take turns reading their puns, going back and forth. Since Aron went first last time, Billy, you're up. Hit us with your first pun.

BILLY SOCO: The only time tap is cool is when we're being like water.


Get it? Tap water?

MOLLY BLOOM: Tap water. That's a thinker.

BILLY SOCO: I'm here all night.

MOLLY BLOOM: It's a thinker. All right, very nice work, Billy. Aron, sashaying over with your first pun.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: What did dancers say when they're all tired? Ugh, I'm all tapped out.


MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Billy, you are up again.

BILLY SOCO: Oh my goodness, "qi-z," Louise, "qigong" crazy if you think tap dance is cool.


MOLLY BLOOM: [SIGHS] Very good. All right, Aron, time for your second pun.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Dance is only like two kinds of water-- sparkling and tap.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh! All right.

BILLY SOCO: I heard that one before.



MOLLY BLOOM: Billy, it's time for your final pun, and make it punchy.

BILLY SOCO: Here's some advice to tap from Kung Fu. Stop "dragon" this out. You'll "tiger" yourself. For goodness "snakes," you'll "crane" your neck. Just "leopard" all go. [WHISPERS] Mic drop.

MOLLY BLOOM: That have all five animals in it. [CHUCKLES] And last but not least, Aron, let's hear your last pun.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Ugh, you'll never believe it. I got a quarter stuck to my shoe and started making music. It was an act of "tap-enstance."



ARON WOLDESLASSIE: I want our listeners to know. A field of fireworks went off. Just--


Somehow, from the quality of my joke, I get--



MOLLY BLOOM: Incredible.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: --pretty fantastic.

MOLLY BLOOM: Well, that was so much pun, Maren, what stood out to you about this last round?

MAREN: Seems there was a common idea that came up, something about water. I don't know. I wasn't paying attention.

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] Maren, it's your job to pay attention.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: I mean, in your defense, Billy's work will put you to sleep real quick. Yeah.




ARON WOLDESLASSIE: We'll tune out, yeah.

BILLY SOCO: Oh, it's--

MAREN: Wow, coming out swinging.



BILLY SOCO: So many styles to keep me awake--


BILLY SOCO: --and to keep me strong.

MOLLY BLOOM: Maren, it is time to award a point, but don't tell us who it's going to. Again, the criteria are up to you. Did their puns tickle your funny bone? Did they make you think? Have you made your decision?

MAREN: I have.


MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. Then it's time for our third around the super stealthy--

SUBJECTS: Aha! Hooha!


MOLLY BLOOM: This is our improv round, where debaters have to respond to a challenge on the spot. And today's Sneak Attack is secret handshake. Billy and Aron, for this challenge, we want you to come up with a secret handshake inspired by your side. Walk us through step by step. Does it involve a shimmy, a shake, a smash boom twist? Teach it to us. And listeners, see if you can do it along with our debaters. Well, Billy went for us last time, so Aron, you're up. Guide us through your secret handshake for tap dancing.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: All right, first things first, you see your chum across the way. You take three steps forward. As you do, you click your heel against the ground every step of the way. You shake their hand like a gent. Then what's this? Loop-di-loop. You do a big spin. You do another big spin. And then you take a third smaller spin, but with this time, that the tip of your toe is just barely grazing over the ground.

You see your chum in front of you. Then you're both at your feet. You kick them into each other very lightly, not too hard, as if to say, I see your tap, sir. And then you do the same with your back heel. You shake again, and then you both agree that karate's terrible.

MOLLY BLOOM: It's not karate.



BILLY SOCO: You agree that's-- I think we can all agree karate is terrible.


However, Kung Fu is vastly superior.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Fine, fine, the-- then you agree that all martial arts are terrible.




MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, man. Wow.

BILLY SOCO: How dare you?

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: I dare, sir, with gusto.

BILLY SOCO: Martial arts-- martial arts-- would beat dance any time.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Billy, it is your turn. Enlighten us with your handshake for team Kung Fu.

BILLY SOCO: Yes. Well, first off, this handshake starts with a greeting to your bud for saying hello, and you wave. And at that point, they let you into their domicile, and you step in, and you take your shoes off. And you walk into their house, and you high-five your bud. And after you high-five, you then move your arm into a Snake stance, where your left or right arm sits in a snake position. And then you start striking at each other but in a playful way.

And then you move your arm from a Snake position to then both arms outstretched to your sides, like two snakes facing out, but these are actually wings. And then you move your arms up and down like a crane. And then, after that, you bring them together. And then you kick to the left, and you kick to the right. And then you kick to the back, and then you kick to the front.

And then you give a handshake to your bud and say, thank you for inviting me over for this meal. And your bud says, thank you for coming. And then you say, I'm glad we're friends. And then your bud says, me, too. Thanks, Kung Fu.

MOLLY BLOOM: Awww, what a polite secret handshake.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Your secret handshake involves breaking into someone's home, doing the--


MAREN: They're friends.


MAREN: I think a key part of this handshake was the consent.



MOLLY BLOOM: Listeners, if you take video of yourself doing any of these handshakes, we would love for you to send them to us at, all right? Maren, it's time for you to award another point. You can use, again, whichever criteria you want. It is completely subjective. Have you awarded your point?

MAREN: I have.


MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. And it's time for our final round.



MOLLY BLOOM: In this round, each team will have just six words to sum up the glory of their side. Billy, you've got six words to tell us why Kung Fu is king.

BILLY SOCO: OK, I first want to say thank you so much for this opportunity. It means so much to me and the Kung Fu community at large, and here are the six words that I leave you with. No tap movies, Kung Fu forever!

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] Very nice. OK, Aron, your turn. Let's hear your six words that'll make us click our heels for tap dancing.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Tap dance is music-- for us.


MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, wonderful work.


MOLLY BLOOM: All right.


MOLLY BLOOM: Myron, time to award a final point for The Final Six. Have you awarded it?

MAREN: Hmm. Still thinking.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, she's deep in thought.

MAREN: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: It's a tough one. Go with your gut. Which of these Final Six was elegant, concise, won you over? Maybe there was a logic involved. Maybe there was heart, ethos, pathos, logos.

MAREN: [CHUCKLES] All right.

MOLLY BLOOM: Have you awarded your point, Myron?

MAREN: I have.


Much deliberation.

MOLLY BLOOM: Are you ready to crown one team the smash boom best?

MAREN: I think I am.

MOLLY BLOOM: Drum roll, please.


And the winner is--

MAREN: Tap dancing.




BILLY SOCO: Why it's--





BILLY SOCO: I'm melting.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: And the people's champion takes the-- wins the day!

BILLY SOCO: I'm melting.


BILLY SOCO: Oh no, just my tap shoes are left.


MOLLY BLOOM: And so, yeah, Maren, walk us through what-- was there a moment that decided things for you?

MAREN: Well, it certainly was no easy feat. I thought Kung Fu put up a good fight.

MOLLY BLOOM: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

MAREN: Going into The Final Six, each were tied with 2 points. And I think, in the end, tap dance swayed me a little bit more with those final words.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, man, it was the closest of close debates, and excellent judge. Thank you so much, Maren.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: Oh my gosh, Billy, you did such an incredible job. I learned so much about the ancient form of Kung Fu. All these different animals, I didn't-- I had no idea about that going in. Honestly, before this, the only thing I knew about Kung Fu came from the Wu-Tang Clan. So I am now an expert, sir.


Thank you so much. Also, you're so funny and charismatic. I hope everybody studies both tap dance and Kung Fu because of you.


BILLY SOCO: Awww. Thanks, Aron. I got to say the way that you lent your passion to tap dancing was very inspiring. And being able to identify an art form that can cross boundaries, that can be two things at once, I think, was really enlightening to me. And also, I never thought of it that way. The way that you described it, too, I think, there's also a lot of similarities. At the end of the day, in your words, I think they do, both Kung Fu and tap, bring us together.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very, very beautiful.


Well, that is it for today's debate battle. Maren crowned tap dancing the smash boom best, but what about you?

MAREN: MARIN: Head to and vote to tell us who you think won.

MOLLY BLOOM: Smash Boom Best is brought to you by Brains On! and APM Studios.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: It's produced by Molly Bloom, Rose DuPont, Ruby Guthrie, and me, Aron Woldeslassie.

MOLLY BLOOM: We had engineering help from Derek Ramirez and Gary O'Keefe with sound design by Rachel Brees.

BILLY SOCO: Our editors are Shahla Farzan and Sanden Totten.

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: And we had production help from Marc Sanchez, Anna Weggel, and Nico Gonzalez Wisler.

MOLLY BLOOM: Our executive producer is Beth Pearlman, and the APM Studios executives in charge are Chandra Kavati, Alex Schaffert, and Joanne Griffith. Our announcer is Marley Feuerwerker-otto. And we want to give a special thanks to Sophia Luagi. Austin Cross, and Taylor Coffman. Aron, is there anyone you'd like to give a shout-out, too, today?

ARON WOLDESLASSIE: As always, I want to thank my mom. You're the best.


ARON WOLDESLASSIE: And I also want to thank Rem for helping me think of so many good Kung Fu jokes. You're the man. And that's it.

MOLLY BLOOM: How about you, Billy? Any special shout-outs?

BILLY SOCO: I want to thank my sister, Stephanie, for growing up with me and watching Kung Fu movies with me, and my family for letting me film a Kung Fu movie in high school outside of our house.


BILLY SOCO: If I get the footage, I'll bring it back to the show.

MOLLY BLOOM: What was--

BILLY SOCO: And I'll show you.

MOLLY BLOOM: --it called?

BILLY SOCO: I think it was called Kung Fu Fighting. And we laid the song "Kung Fu Fighting" over it.

MAREN: MARIN: I was about to say it was inspired.


MOLLY BLOOM: Maren, how about you? Do you want to give any special thanks or shout-outs?

MAREN: MARIN: Yeah, I'd like to shout-out Kaden, who's also a judge for Smash Boom Best, who has been my partner in debate for the last three years. Couldn't have done it without them. And honestly, the entire Minnesota Urban Debate League has just been a really supportive organization and the reason why I'm on here.

MOLLY BLOOM: I love it. Before we go, let's check in with Hudson and see who he thinks should win his North Pole versus South Pole debate.

HUDSON: I would choose North Pole. The North Pole is warmer, and some people think Santa is at the North Pole. And there is no land at the North Pole, only ice.

MOLLY BLOOM: Mm. Do you have an idea for a knockdown drag-out debate? Head to and tell us about it. We'll be back with a new debate battle next week.

ALL: Bye.


(SINGING) Ooh, you're the smash boom best. Ooh, through the test. Ooh, you're the smash boom best. Ooh, better than the rest. You're the smash boom best. You're the smash boom best.

BILLY SOCO: Let me call my martial arts buddies.

MAREN: You were so close to the right name, though.


MAREN: You could call it "partial" arts. [LAUGHS]

BILLY SOCO: Taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, are you on the line?

Transcription services provided by 3Play Media.