Last time during our second Capoeira workshop at Žalianamis – atviras jaunimo centras. Our Audrius Kiuberis began the opening circle with a talk about tolerance. Instantly, the theory was put into practice as some new participants were eager to get the training started, getting impatient with the discussion and waiting to spring into action mode. What is tolerance then? Is it simply waiting until someone finishes speaking or perhaps we can take advantage of the opportunity to practice being open – minded to what someone has to say beyond our own personal convictions and expectations? What Audrius was trying to communicate was that in this modern society we like to think of ourselves as tolerant or even project a “self-image” of tolerance, especially when it comes to gender equality, LGBT rights or religion. How many of us are actually OPEN to hear out someone else’s “truth” even if it may challenge our own “truth”.
So how tolerance was the subject of our capoeira class? It is true that Capoeira initially may attract people who are generally interested in the martial arts and the sense of power. However, this unique contact sport shows that true strength is gentle- it is not about proving ones superiority with force, it is about knowing it within and choosing to be gentle with others. Tolerance means being patient with each other. Especially when people of various physical training experience come together to work out together. We work as a team and put aside our individual desires to gain or to “achieve” something. We choose as a group to honour each persons limitations – even if it means that the whole group needs to repeat the same sequence until everyone is on board. As the African proverb goes: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Author: Giedrė Kotryna Kazragytė