When I was in grade school, I found science and math boring. We did experiments we already knew the outcomes for. We learned formulas that gave us one right answer every time. My drive to find something more thought-provoking and challenging pushed me away from these fields and toward the arts.
What if you just discovered Capoeira, or violin, or a love of mathematics, and you want to develop new skills in adulthood?
Despite popular belief, a growing field of research in psychology shows that it’s never too late.
Do you remember the first time you saw a Capoeira game?
For me, it was in northeast Brazil. As a ballet dancer who could accomplish amazing feats that most people don’t imagine possible, I had never seen anything like this—these men were as agile & powerful on their hands and heads as my colleagues and I were on our feet. They could balance in improbable positions, moving from one to the next with total control.
“I didn’t want to mix the students from Cara de Boi, who were kids from the hills. But I had to take them to spark things. […] So then the people from the college started to see and to want to do it. Later […] everything was mixed and I always said in class, ‘Here in Capoeira there is no discrimination.'”
Based on research with Mestre João Grande’s Capoeira academy in New York City, anthropologist Greg Downey identified 3 characteristics that set expert Capoeira teachers apart. João Grande spoke little English and his students spoke little Portuguese, yet his teaching was highly effective. How did he do it?