You Move, I Move

“You Move I Move” is another great lesson I learned from Mestre Cueca, which I am trying to pass on to my students and make a part of our culture. It is usually the first thing I explain during our team meetings. However, it is so important that it’s worth repeating.

“Managing a capoeira group is like herding a group of cats.” I guess these words are true for any kind of community of volunteers. Some individuals within a group move at different paces and directions. Some go South; some go North. And they don’t work for a leader; it’s the leader who works for them.

The “You Move I Move” culture is a solution to managing diverse team dynamics effectively. It’s like playing tennis: I hit the ball, now it’s on your side, and you need to hit it before I can make my next move. Or it’s like a game of chess: I make a move, and I don’t move until you do your next move.

Communication in a capoeira group is like playing chess on 20 boards simultaneously. The leader makes a move, and then it’s up to the rest to make the next one. And maybe they don’t want to move, which is also their right. They don’t work for the leader; the leader works for them.

We need to teach our people about this game. Many are unaware, and some still think they are in a hierarchical structure where the boss decides everything. It’s not like this. So don’t start “I Move You move” without explaining it many, many times. It is not only for advanced students but for anyone in the organization. It’s important to start creating this culture from the start.

Now, the question for leaders: when you usually know five moves ahead, what kind of moves will you choose?

A beginner might ask, ‘Hey teacher, what are the lyrics for this song?’. It’s the first move, maybe a silly one, but it’s a move. Now, what is my next move? Do I give him the full lyrics, or do I send him a link to Google? Because I want him to learn to discover some simple stuff by himself. In the future, I want to have a partner; I don’t want to have a baby and babysit him his whole life.

So choose your moves wisely. There are good moves and bad moves. Intelligent moves are teaching independence, encouraging learning, and problem-solving among students.