Archive for April 1st, 2009

Empty your cup …

April 1, 2009

There’s an old story about a student learning martial arts from a master that I came across a while ago. I don’t remember it exactly but I’ll adapt it and post it here.

One evening before giving a lesson, a Milonguero is enjoying a bottle of fine wine when a tango student approaches him to discuss tango and hopefully get some advice to better himself. This student has been around and danced many tandas with all sorts of women and learnt from many famous teachers.

The student proceeds to tell the Milonguero of his experiences and all the different techniques he knows and he can do 99 different ganchos from the turn and knows all the different orchestras and then proceeds to the different teachers he’s had and how he’s looking forward to learning something from the Milonguero.

The Milonguero sits quietly and listens. After a while, he begins to slowly pour wine into this student’s glass. The glass slowly rises and fills up. But the Milonguero does not stop. Wine slowly begins to spill onto the table and eventually splashes onto the floor.

The student quickly yells “Stop! The glass is full, you cannot pour any more in!”.

The Milonguero responses, “Yes, that is true, just like you, the glass is full. Unless you come with an empty glass, how can I give you anything? No matter how fine this wine, it is all wasted”.

Here’s another version of this story which isn’t as good as the original I read many years ago. And I’ve came across other adaptations but they all share a similar story.

I attended a class the other night and although the sequence taught was focused on sacadas and giros, there was a detailed discussion on dissociation.

After the class, I was chatting to a friend who say that she learnt nothing from the class and thought that the men were rubbish. We dance. She is as straight as a brick.

A lot of students in London approach classes with a full cup expecting to fill it even more. The problem is not with the teachers who fail to add more to their cup, its with them not letting anything in. There are some who genuinely want to learn from a particular class or teacher – don’t waste their time if you can’t empty your cup.

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