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8 Ways for Experienced Capoeira Students to Welcome New Capoeira Students

Have you been a Capoeira student for a long time? Are you a leader in your Capoeira school? Read this post to see how you can welcome new Capoeira students to your school.

Capoeira Mestre standing with four Capoeira Students
Mestre Aranha with Capoeira Students

1. Before class, make it a point to say hello and learn something about them. Oftentimes one of the main things new students are looking for is community, so make that available. Find out about hobbies, interests, people like to feel accepted for who they are. Being nice at the very beginning will welcome new capoeira students to your school.

2. Be sure to partner with them right away when the teacher says “pair off”. This makes the person feel like they belong there, that people want them present. It’s very common for a new Capoeira student to feel like a burden, like the one who the whole class has to slow down for.

3. Demonstrating a move too fast AND too slow can bring up the same issues with balance, so stick to a more “sledium” speed. Momentum is a big part of Capoeira, and removing that entirely is a disservice to the new student.

4. Remember that mirroring can be difficult to follow in real time. Sometimes it’s best to have someone follow your movements from behind. In these cases, you need to keep an eye on them to make sure they aren’t getting confused.

5. When correcting an error, try to find something they did right also. It’s easier to learn when you feel like you’re on the right path. Being concise here is really important, as talking too much will dilute what you’re saying.

6. Don't give them more than two things to work on in a movement. It helps if those things are as different as possible physically, as people have limited skill sets at first. For example, having them focused on two balance concepts might be very difficult for a person with poor balance, whereas a balance concept (staying on your toes), and a form concept (shoulder and elbow up) will generally bring at least some success.

7. People are VERY reluctant to play in a roda in front of other people they only just met. There are 2 things you can do here, 1. Ask them to play with you, especially if they were your partner during class. 2. If they seem really nervous, take them off to the side to walk through a game together.

8. After class, tell them you had fun training with them and schedule the next time you’ll both be at class. There’s something really nice about having a fellow student ask to train with you again. It’s less expected than when the instructor asks when you’ll be back.

Bonus point: When all else fails, just try to remember what it felt like when you first started. Was there anything you wished would have been different? Were there things you appreciated? Do those things!

- Mestre Aranha


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