The End of an Era

The Skinny

I used to attend a Capoeira academy a few years ago. Actually, I attended several. I would leave because I don’t particularly care for politics, or poorly-run schools that keep increasing their fees, even though there is no reason to do so.

The last academy I attended was the longest of any, clocking in at about 2 or 3 years. Throughout my time there, I had to learn and unlearn many things. The kicker was that a lot of the things I had to unlearn I learned from the very teachers that were asking me to unlearn. It was very frustrating.

I watched in heartbreak as potentially great students were left by the roadside because they didn’t learn fast enough. And the students that were gifted were fed greater and greater techniques as the rest dwelled in mediocrity. New students that came to try out for the classes were not given any help, and were left frustrated. Consequently they would not come back.

I designed the school web page with no guidance (not for my lack of asking), and the promise of payment was brought forth. That never happened. They ended up paying me with free classes for a year, only to turn around and mistreat me.

One of my best friends (who also attended this place) and I sat down with them to discuss the state of things, not as students, but fellow martial artists. It was apparent then that these people did not want to listen to reason, and so we left. I walked away from all those free classes, and the time I had invested.

A waste? Not really.

The lesson I learned was that I had to be true to myself. If I want to be a good martial artist, I have to make sure that wherever I go, I am really learning things. My old instructors are also not really bad people. They are good at the core, I am sure. They just didn’t know how to run a business properly, and they had a lot to learn as leaders of a martial arts community.

The Solution

One of the things I wanted to do was to continue learning and playing Capoeira. I started a study group (with a good friend of mine) for martial arts & Capoeira using another friend’s common room (In their building). I had invited people out to try Capoeira, so that they could build the basic skills necessary to go to a real academy and learn without feeling left in the dust. I also left it open for people in my former academy to come out and brush up on their skills so that they could learn more effectively from where they were attending.

It started out well enough, but attendance over the year never really increased to the level where we could have real games with the real flavour of Capoeira. It just turned into a session about movements.

But people did learn. At least I hope they did.

The End?

Yesterday I told the attendees that it was the last class. There would be no more.

Due to my current Blue Belt status in Karate, I have the opportunity to assist in classes. This would really help me out in achieving my goals in Karate. I have spent so long doing various martial arts, and never really taking the final steps in any of them, that I feel it is about time to think about myself and actually attain a rank somewhere that is meaningful.

I also don’t like to sacrifice time that I could potentially be spending with my wife.

It’s really that simple.

Ironically, last night we had five new people show up to learn, all of which expressed disappointment at the prospect of the last session. One of the students brings her mom once in a while, and they brought some friends who are Brazilian musicians who invited us to use their church common area. They also possess all of the instruments (and the knowledge to play them), and are excited at the prospect of Capoeira.

In a few months, when things have settled for me, I might run a workshop or something with those folks once a month, as I really enjoy playing Capoeira and helping people learn.

It would also be fun to have games in the park or on the beach.

Funny Enough…

I just met with one of my former instructors to sign a contract for the use of my photos if they require it (not more than 10 minutes ago). It’s nice that he is finally taking a more professional approach to the whole thing. He is starting an official academy (in his own space), and is learning the ropes of running a business.

I wish him well.