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The Training Hall and the ritual of training.

The training hall, as I like to call it for myself in my Capoeira practice - in a reference to the afro-brasilian religions - the training "Terreiro" is also called "Dojo" in Japanese, "Dojang in Korean, "Kwoon" in Chinese; it is is a place where the martial in question is studied and is traditionally called by many teacher and practitioners "the place of enlightenment".

"A dojo is a miniature cosmos where we make contact with ourselves - our fears, anxieties, reactions and habits. It is an arena of confined conflict where we confront an opponent who is not an opponent but rather a partner engaged in helping us to understand ourselves more fully. It is a place where we can learn a great deal in a short time about who we are and how we react in the world. The conflicts that take place inside the dojo help us handle conflicts that take place outside. The total concentration and discipline required to study martial arts carries over to daily life. The activity in the dojo calls on us to constantly attempt new things, so it is in also a source of learning - in Zen terminology, a source of enlightenment"

(Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams, pg. 12)

I've being working with my students this week on our "terreiro" (our studio) about the rituals in capoeira. Based on Mircea Eliade, a well known Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago, we could say that rituals are the proper ways exemplified by the ancestors and expressed on the repetition inside a social group. Being capoeira notoriously and oral tradition in its roots, the rituals were passes month to month, teacher to apprentice creating "schools" with their own traditions, rituals about the orchestra, techniques, social relations, etiquette, hierarchic ranks and etc... all part of the different traditions and rituals belonging to each specific group or school...

I would like to call attention to a different ritual, the one within... There is a Buddhist saying that any place can be a dojo. That is because the dojo and the rituals should be inside of you and not on the place were you stand. It is only in the moment that you transport the dojo (training hall) and the rituals inside of you that you stop practicing and start being/using the same concentration and discipline on everything on your life...

Come to class with a mind set and leave the class been that...

By Instructor Massapê, Capoeira Luanda San Diego.

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