Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Shattered

'This impact is bliss for your body. Right now it is ow, ow, ow, but in a month or two it will be woo, woo, woo. You are not made of sugar or crystal. You will not melt. You will not break. It can be both humbling and very powerful. You will struggle but then you will have moments where you have control you didn't know was possible. This is not arrogance. This is part of the practice.'

Not Sugar. Not Crystal. Won't Melt. Won't Break.

Last night I went to my third Capoeira class. I felt shattered. It wasn't much longer than an hour, but I was clock watching from about half an hour in. This is not a brutal gym like experience where you have someone shouting at you to push harder. The movements are subtle and beautiful, but you are really using your whole body. The teacher is half floating, musical in his lightness. Like gravity doesn't apply to him. If I was taking it personally, it would be like someone taunting me about how easy it is. For me, the sweat started early as I tried to listen to instruction, conquer the mounting fatigue, and to remember to breathe and enjoy the class. I arrived at that point where your body gives up after one push up, and then the count continued to ten, and then switched arms (one arm push ups!!!). The push ups were part of half dance, half martial arts moves. There is a story involved. I think life tastes better with stories. Being able to witness other students at the boundary of the battle between strength and gravity - a spectrum between a donkey (me) and a poet (the teacher) - gave me some indication of a path worth following.

Afterwards as I was walking home, I was thinking about scales for the piano. There are plenty of scales I could do for Capoeira. Push-ups, sit-ups, planks, yoga - it all becomes a part of training to be able to play Capoeira. Just like the piano. When the drills become second nature and the expression becomes the focus. Like a kid moaning about learning at school when they don't see the point of what they are doing, part of the motivation for something comes from having a 'why'. The why may be an end goal, but it may also be a how. Capoeria seems like a wonderful way to keep fit and get the body moving because it weaves in a story, where training is a dance.


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