Most people think that if I go to class and stay consistent I’ll start to see improvement in my capoeira game, and I crunched a few numbers to see if that was true.

Scenario 1:  I go to class every week
Your teacher has class 2x a week. In a year you’ll train about 100 hours if you only train in class but are consistent in going.

Scenario 2: consistency
You train 45 minutes 6 days a week. Sometimes on your own and sometimes in class

Scenario 3: hardcore
You train 4 days a week for 3 hours. You train a lot on your own and also in class

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WHO’S BETTER OFF?

First off, how much do we need to train to be good??? Malcom Gladwell sites famously in “Outliers” that master take 10000 hours to reach in any field. I would argue that capoeira take way more hahaha, but let’s use it as a metric.

In scenario one, you train 100 hours per year(assuming training 50 weeks per year of training and 2 for vacation), meaning it will take you 100 years to reach the 10000 hour mark. So basically, you’ll never get there, practically speaking. You might get some level of competency, but never mastery.

Scenario 2 has you training 225 hours a year. In this scenario, it will take about 44.4 years to reach mastery. Again this is assuming training 6 days a week for 50 weeks a year.

Scenario 3 shows some promise. Training for 3 hours 4 times a week means you will be training about 600 hours a year and will reach “mastery” in 16.6years. This is actually pretty realistic, or at least is sounds about right knowing how long most Mestres train before becoming a Mestre or at least an extremely high chord.

To summarize, the number of hours to mastery
Scenario 1 = 100 years
Scenario 2 = 44.4 years
Scenario 3 = 16.6 years.

Before you freak out that you’ll never be good at Capoeira, I think I would keep two things in mind. The first is that not everyone is going to be  a master. That goal is so high and if everyone could achieve it, then it wouldn’t be much of an achievement. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be a competent Capoeirista. The good news is that, very likely what happens is that you can reach ~80% of your total potential after some years of committed training. After that, to get the next ~15%, you need a similar amount of time, and the last ~5% again take a similar amount of time. You get diminishing returns as you get better and that’s just as you get better, you’re getting closer to your physical limit.  Might look something like this.

Capoeira training graph

It seems like no matter what you do, you’ll need to dedicate a significant amount of time to practice. And although this isn’t new to people, I think seeing the time needed puts things into perspective. Also, 2x a week for 1 hour just doesn’t cut it. That’s my takeaway from crunching the numbers. Consistent dedicated practice is needed to get better in anything you do, and Capoeira is no different. Happy training my friends.