Over The Line

One of my favorite lessons from Mestre Cueca is the concept called “Over the Line”.

“Every time we start a new activity, let’s say when I came to capoeira for the first day, immediately a line appeared, and on one side of the line, it’s always easier to quit, and on the other side of the line, it’s always easier to stay.”

This line is more precarious for beginners, making it easier for them to quit. Maybe the student didn’t like the vibe or smell in a bathroom, or the teacher didn’t call him by name. It’s only one step away from quitting.

And teachers are on the other side of this line: they have committed years of practice, invested a lot, and for them it is easier to stay.

The teacher’s role is to guide students over this line, by slowly pushing them towards the line. Through progress, external rewards, and personal relationships – any small success will push them forward and keep them motivated and engaged.

And of course there are things that will push us in the opposite direction, like injuries, different kinds of disappointments, bad atmosphere, and drama.

But even once the student is over the line, our job is not finished. Life has its own gravity, such as work, family, money, personal problems… and if there is no guide to help, this gravity will drag them back behind the line.

The question is: where are you now? Are you “over the line”? Are you over the line as a student, or are you over the line as a teacher? How much “over the line” are you?

Eventually, we also have to take responsibility for ourselves. It’s nice to have someone who brought you to a certain place, but it’s your responsibility also to keep pushing yourself over the line for personal development and growth.