After a year or two in capoeira (or any human endeavour for that matter), you will encounter someone who will tell you what capoeira is. And really, one fine day, you'll have to decide for yourself what it is.
But today, I'm going to tell you what it is.
In capoeira there will always be people who have been in it longer than you. They are more knowledgeable; they can do fancy things. Because they are obviously superior, we should kowtow at their feet and respect--nay, worship--them. We should idolise and pedestalise (yes, I made that word up--that's what Arts majors do) them. They can do no wrong, for they are superior in capoeira, and are therefore superior human beings. If they are upset, it must be because we, as inferior human beings, are at fault. We must be to blame.
Yes, it's quite ridiculous when it's written down, isn't it? But I bet it didn't seem so when it was a latent background semi-formed thought.
Do you worship these people?
Impressive crazy skills, no doubt, but a skill is a skill is a skill. Just because you want to learn it doesn't make a master of that skill worship-worthy; it just means that you ought not to upset that person if you want him to teach you.
And you'd be surprised how full of sh*t people can be, in any human endeavour. Does a Ph.D make your professor a better human being? No. Even if it's legit, all it means is that he's spent more time studying than you. You don't look up to him because of his title. You're nice to him because he controls your grades. And just maybe, if you're lucky, he's a nice human being who cares about your growth in his discipline, and he does things beyond what is necessary to help you.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we should judge people by how useful they are. We should use people depending on how useful they are, certainly (come on, admit it!), but perhaps we should judge people's humanity by how much they acknowledge it in others.
umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu,