A refined character

character (noun) from Ancient Greek χαράσσω (kharássō, “I engrave”).

In life, every situation, every trouble, every reaction is an opportunity to make ourselves better.

In capoeira, every game, every class, every roda is an opportunity to refine our character. Refinement comes from the word fine, which means good or pleasant.

Character is not charisma, nor personality. Character is more internal; charisma and personality are external.

The best way to understand it is the “Island Test”. If you get dropped to an island, and you are the only one person there, your charisma and personality won’t help you, but the character will play a very big role in your survival.

Refinement often involves subtracting rather than adding—shaving away from your Ego. We need to refine many aspects of our personality. Some of them are very coarse and will take time. For instance, a young capoeirista refines his physical abilities, and as he grows, he will need to refine his communication, teaching, and leadership skills.

A good teacher is a facilitator of this process. A facilitator is a person who makes things facil, easy.

A good teacher knows which kind of “sand paper” to use for the refinement. If you make the process too hard, students may leave and lose interest in further refinement. Push too little – classes are too easy; no improvement.

— From talks with Cueca