This year the training was hosted by Daniel Perez in Miami, Florida. Professor Daniel was Demian’s first American Black Belt and long-time student. As usual, the training was both incredible and intense. We trained for four days for as much as five hours. Demian focused on technical strategies, but also talked extensively about the principles behind them. There was also rolling or sparring every day, which was just as important and a huge opportunity to learn.
Very often attending this type of training can provide a ‘hidden’ message. This time the message seemed to be ‘Vem Tranquilo.’ Vem Tranquilo is a Brazilian phrase that means ‘come easy’ or ‘stay calm.’ This is actually a running joke in Brazil at the moment, centered around a viral video of a street altercation there. In the video one of the participants says Vem Tranquilo to his aggressor, while successfully defending himself and staying calm himself.
Vem Tranquilo can also apply to the Brazilian attitude in general. The Brazilians tend to be pretty laid back, especially the ones who train in Jiu-jitsu. The same can be said for Okinawan and Thai martial artists. In past newsletters we’ve talked about the principle of ‘Fudoshin’ which is very similar to Vem Tranquilo for Japanese and Okinawan martial artists. In Thai Kickboxing ‘Sabai’ is the practice of being very calm and focused in training, competition or self-defense.
A new Demian Maia affiliated academy recently opened in Naples, Florida. We instantly became friends with Alexander (Ale) and Fabio at the Miami training, and visited their location toward the end of the trip. The facility and the instructors are top notch, and we would highly recommend anyone in the area attend there.
After a tour of the facility we talked with Fabio for a bit as Ale ran one of their classes. Before long the conversation turned to the importance of being calm and happy in life, and how the martial arts can help you achieve it. We talked about how easy it is to get caught up in the stresses of everyday life and be overcome with frustration, anxiety, anger and depression. With a routine of proper training we can purge our anxieties and stress and be more tranquilo and calm.
In order for this to work, training needs to be done PROPERLY. There needs to be an emphasis on safety, mutual respect, and helping each other improve. Martial arts gyms that fall down on any of these areas will be a source of stress and fail to help students develop physically or mentally. Practicing calmness must be made an important part of training. By training in a healthy, supportive environment and regularly practicing to be calm under pressure, we can actually learn to apply calmness to all other aspects of our lives. Of all of the benefits to be taken from the martial arts, improving calm and focus can improve the quality of our lives the most. After all, quality of life and happiness is what it’s all about. So, vem tranquilo, fudoshin and sabai in training...and wherever you go!
Senseis Connie and Mark