Tuesday, November 02, 2004

"Jump higher!"
"Tuck your knees in faster!"
"Land on the balls of your feet, not your heels!"
"Don't jump back, jump straight up!"
"C'mon, you only got three more!"

Following Monday's Capoeira class, I found myself breaking out the crash mat and practicing backflips. Having resolved to do at least ten of them after every class, it is something I wish to improve at. The mechanics are quite simple, although difficult to execute if it's something that you have never done before. It's even harder if you are afraid that you are going to land on your head.

But, the mechanics are as follows:

1: Jump really high, making sure that you're jumping straight up while raising your arms.
2: Tuck your knees towards your chest. The motion of doing so causes your body to rotate.
3: Land.

This all happens really fast, so it's not particularly easy to break down into steps. A more simple definition? Just do it.

As I am doing so, I am beckoned from across the room. All the students who were taking the previous class are shouting from across the room. "I've got some advice for you too," one of my fellow students announces. After finishing my practice session, I walk over to her and ask. "Oh, I actually can't do those," she admits, "Everyone else was shouting out advice."

If you've noticed, people are the most prone to give out advice and their own opinions when they are most likely the least qualified. What is even worse is that people are prone to solicit advice and opinions from those that are unqualified as well. If you've ever been in a room with a bunch of people and something goes wrong with the computer, you can be assured that everyone is going to be calling out the things one would usually do. "Run a virus scan!" "Hit CTRL-ALT-DELETE!" "De-frag the hard drive!" "Update the video drivers!"

One could probably dedicate a whole scholarly study to this phenomeon. We see it in our lives all the time. People who can't sort out their own personal lives will be solicited for advice (I know I am), celebrities are consulted for their "expertise" on political matters (are any of them trained?), and if something goes wrong with the VCR at a party, at least one person will be telling the host to adjust the tracking, even if it's clearly a problem with the connections.

Me, I just like helping people. However, I really wonder what kind of "help" I'm providing at times.

And as for my Capoeira class? We all cheer each other on, so it's not such a big deal when we start giving unqualified advice. We all like pushing each other harder so we all can progress. Like I keep saying, in my group, when you pull off the impossible moves, everybody cheers. When you screw them up really badly, everybody cheers LOUDER.

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