I’m trying to learn two things, Spanish and Capoiera (a Brazilian martial art). I’m not too good at either one yet. Spanish is something I’ve been working on for years and I’ve only been doing Capoiera for a couple of months. Also, I teach English as a second language to Spanish speakers. So you could say I’m also trying to learn to teach English, and I’m not too sure how good I’m at teaching English either.
I’ve noticed something that someone said once rings that true for me is “to understand is to perceive patterns.”
Taking Spanish and teaching English helps me see the similar sentence patterns common to both languages. And the more I study Spanish verbs the more particular patterns of how to construct the tenses (and there are lots in Spanish) seem to become clear.
With Capoiera, the patterns are more visual. Because of the echos in the cavernous room mixed with the blend of Spanish, Portuguese, and African, the verbal instructions are vague at best for me. So I’m left trying to watch and mimic the instructor and the longer term students. After a while I’ve begun to pick up on the triangles formed by the footwork, circles traced out with the hands, and the four imaginary corners of a square that your shoulders hit. And that’s only for the fundamental form capoieristas start other moves from and then always return to.
Little by little the patterns are becoming more clear but there always seem to be more patterns waiting for me to discover. It’s a good thing I’m more process than goal oriented.