Friday, February 06, 2015


Last night, Ponciano told our Capoeira class the story of 'The Tiger who killed a Wife'. The husband was so distressed, he grabbed his bow and arrow and went deep into the jungle to find the tiger. When he saw it, he stilled himself and fixed his gaze on the target. He pulled back the arrow and released all the pain and anguish at his loss at the tiger. The arrow sunk deep. He went across to the tiger and found that it was in fact a stone. A stone shaped like the one who had stolen his world. The arrow had not broken, instead it had sunk deep into the stone because his intention was so intense.

Like Eric Mead in the TED clip below, I have always been fascinated by the Placebo Effect. As a scientifically minded person, you want to strip out the story and make it replicable and testable. You can certainly do that, but it removes a whole lot of the good stuff. For some people something is only interesting if it can be proved wrong. If you can't say it in a way that has the possibility of it be shown to be false, it can be beautiful, but not 'interesting' in a scientific way. By its very nature, belief and intention are not replicable. You have to buy into stories. Through dance, art, poetry, music, writing we can feel beauty and we can do incredible things. I believe much of this is actually because we allow ourselves to drop our negative beliefs. The beliefs we have that say we can't do certain things. I described one of the first times this really sunk home for me in 'faking it'. Hypnosis can be seen as faking or it can be seen as simply a very deep state of relaxation where you become very open to suggestion. Real limits then act as your boundaries rather than the limits you create in your head.

Ponciano's story of intention is relevant for me. If you are able to focus your intention on something, it can be a form of hypnosis. A form of meditation. If you can relax out of any self created concern, you can become incredibly powerful relative to your doubt-ridden self. In my 5th class of Capoeira there are still a lot of real limits. I have to do lots of strength work. I have to teach my body the rhythms. I have to learn the forms before I can forget about them and just play. I thought the Tiger story was beautiful though, and diving into stories helps you learn.

My Capoeira adventure:

1. First Class - You have to start somewhere
2. Deep End - Learn a little, and enjoy
3. Shattered - This impact is bliss for your body
4. Left from Right, Arm from Leg - Training your body to have an awareness of where it is
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