Literary Edition: The Saddest Day of My Life

This piece was written in honor of Mestre Lua Rasta by his student Leiteiro:

The Saddest Day of My Life

The other day I was reading the story of Grande/Pequeno Mestre Pastinha when I came across the phrase: The Secret of Capoeira Dies With Me!

I could not believe it, the size of one’s ego is not predicated on their title of Grande Mestre! Uncomfortable with this, I searched for what this secret might be. And so, days, months, years passed until da-da-da: I discovered the secret of capoeira!
Unbelievably, it was right in front of me, beside me, behind me, and I did not notice it, immense, crystallized; perhaps it was there all these years, covered by a magician’s small handkerchief that was lifted, by some divine grace. What happiness, what joy, I understood everything, I understood the phrase of the old mestre and his fear at the blindness of his students to see what he showed them every day.

The secret of capoeira!

I ran to my friend’s house to announce the good news: Araúana, you are not going to believe it, but I discovered the secret of capoeira!

What? Ha hahahahhahaha.

I’m telling you, man, its serious.

Whoa, Leiteiro, you want to make me die laughing? Hahhahahaha.

You don’t believe in me anymore, man?

Tell me, then, what the secret is.

This is what I was waiting for, the moment to share my glory.

Ah, the secret, the secret is… the secret? (omg, help me) well, like I was saying, the secret…

Yes, yes, the secret hahahahahaha.

There was no doubt that I had forgotten the secret of capoeira. I left with my head hanging down, my ears red with embarrassment, my heart boiling with powerless hate for that laugh that echoed through my mind. With each step taken, each corner rounded, those “ha ha ha”s echoed in my head and crept down my spine, weakening my legs, slowing my steps, lengthening the distance between our houses. I ran like I had never run before and dived into bed. Nothing like time to heal the wounds.

But cornstarch one day becomes mingau, and suddenly, like a ray of light shining again:

The secret of capoeira!

Moments of euphoria were followed by moments of reflection, I could not act like a little troublemaker who got a new toy again, the situation required self-control, I tried to repeat to myself a few times the secret until I was sure that I was not going to forget it and I went to Araúana’s house, not like a fool with a bejeweled ring, but more like a professor that has come to teach a student who knows it all that he really knows nothing!

I knocked, the door opened, and our eyes met.

What brings you here, Leiteiro?

You are not going to believe me, but I came because I have nothing to do, I told him in a weary voice. It was confirmed, there were no longer any doubts:

The secret of capoeira is not to be told, but to be seen in capoeira rodas, to be heard in the sounds of the instruments and the songs, and it was this that the old Mestre Pastinha was doing in his games and songs.

What I do playing around, you can’t even do with anger
and your students don’t notice or understand.

I couldn’t hide my tears as I said: Araúna, today is the saddest day of my life!

Now I know with certainty: The secret of capoeira dies with me! Believe if you will, my dear reader, I discovered the secret of capoeira but if you are like Saint Thomas I'll give you a hint: Capoeira is that which does not appear and appears to be that which it is not.

Speaking of this, capoeira would be a small net whose knots are its secrets. When one knot tears (read: it is forgotten or undone) the new mestres must rush to fix it.

Let us fix it for the old mestres, connoisseurs of the art form, the pasting will be invisible, preserving the knowledge in the work! Yet despite our egoism, rush, and imperfection, we continue to fill our net and capoeira, will soon become worthless and we will have to throw it out. On this day, the whole nation, the world and even god will cry, because he separated the earth and the sea it was in that moment that capoeira came forth.

In honor of the old mestres whoe gave us freely that which we sell at any price.

Thanks to my professor Lua Rasta. Many thanks for teaching me to like and love capoeira and for presenting it in the streets, squares, schools, and theaters without the current preoccupation with teaching capoeira only as a class to make mestres.

Text by Renato Palmas Azevedo, o Leiteiro!

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