Today we post another one of the interviews we conducted with the people who took our Massage Practitioner Training last year. This is Mario’s turn, interviewed by Rodrigo. Enjoy!
Rodrigo: How did you come to the decision to book the MPT? Was your motivation more in the private or more in the professional area?
Mario: I already attended another workshop of Gay Love Spirit and there I became aware of your offer. After a good conversation with Thomas I decided to book the training.
I had already watched some books and video tutorials about Tantra massage and tried it myself, but not with the success I would have wished for.
Therefore, your offer came perfectly for me, as I was also looking for new approaches and techniques in Tantra massage.
R: Are you satisfied with the course of the training? Did you improve your knowledge and skills in each module?
M: Yes, in my opinion there was sometimes little discernible organization, and things were worked on as they came, but that was also very nice because at the end of the One Year Training we are anchored in a group process. This process continues to accompany us all through the learning experience of Tantra Massage also in our personal development. Almost all of us continue voluntarily with modules 5 and 6.
Through the training I have also been able to reflect on myself in a new way. For example, about boundaries and how far I want to get involved with other people in different situations. My sexuality has also changed for the better as a result.
R: How did you feel about the fact that you massaged a total of 9 men during modules 2,3, and 4 and at least another 5 outside under the conditions of the protocol? Were there many surprises?
M: Oh yes, the surprises were many. How can I say… I would not have liked to massage more men. The number of massages during the modules was enough…. I am a person who likes to know and organize everything beforehand, and have as few surprises as possible. This was not so easy for me during the training.
But at the same time it helped me to be more in myself. To perceive my limits and to be able to express them better. There was always support from you and from the group of trainees.
R: How were these experiences discussed and integrated within the training group?
M: After each massage session or each day with new experiences, we usually discussed them together in small groups or the whole group. Sometimes there were simply events on the level of the massage, sometimes there were experiences on my personal level or that of fellow students. As I said, in the end we were all together in a year-long process in which we saw each other every time during the module and also, of course, in the supervision in between. We all really benefited a lot from this exchange.
R: How did you find the men for your own trial sessions? How did you draw attention to yourself outside of the training?
M: Well, I’m already a masseur myself (no tantric massages so far), and at some point I offered some of my clients to just introduce themselves as test rabbits, so to speak. Besides that, I just also used my Romeo profile to just find massage partners.
R: Was the feedback from the clients and the trainers helpful?
M: Yes, the feedback from the clients was very helpful. In my everyday life as a masseur, at some point you only get the good feedback because they come from the men who come back. There is rarely feedback from the others. Through your questionnaire and the feedback sessions, many important aspects were addressed.
The feedback from my colleagues when we massaged each other was also very helpful. Then even more aspects were addressed, which were often very valuable for me.
It was great when we could massage other Tantra masseurs or participants of GLS who already had a lot of experience, like at the Summer Evolution Festival or when they were invited to massage sessions during the modules. Their feedback was simply very enriching. All together this led to many “aha” moments for me.
R: How has your personal learning curve been?
M: Well in the very beginning I thought that there was a certain way to massage properly, a sequence that had to be done in a certain way to get the massage right. Through the Tantra massage training I have learned to be much more aware of my clients’ needs and their physical expressions.
I also learned how important the preliminary conversation is. Without a good preliminary talk I could not do a Tantra massage now. To listen to your client and to perceive his body consciously, and to simply adjust the intention and the massage.
But in any case I am still in the process of this learning curve. That is why we have extended the training to module 5 and 6!
R: How would you now evaluate your own skills after the 4 modules? How were the feedbacks of the individual massages?
M: Well, I definitely feel much more confident, I tried to give Tantra massages without the modules before. My learning source was only videos and the internet but no real workshop and I was totally insecure.
After the 4 modules I now feel really confident to give professional Tantra massages. A lot of what I thought had gone wrong was not so wrong, I often needed confirmation from the trainers or my fellow students who had similar experiences in the beginning… For example: of course the receiver is often excited, insecure and vulnerable in the beginning, especially in the first session when he does not know what to expect. This uncertainty is often palpable and sometimes I was then nervous in return…. The experience of massaging many first-time recipients during the 4 modules at Gay Love Spirit has given me a blueprint and now I can handle it very well.
In the meantime a small wealth of experience could be gathered for me in practice. The most important thing is simply to also convey this security to the recipient during the sessions. And then yes, it works; then you can really take off.
R: How did you feel about the teaching in the modules?
M: At the beginning, i.e. in the first module, I was a bit unsure because it wasn’t a frontal teaching and it wasn’t a monologue that was held at the front, but rather we were required to provide a lot of feedback and cooperation and the topics were also very broad.
Sometimes I missed a bit of structure, but that was because I didn’t know this kind of teaching. It was all about feeling exactly what you do with your hands and how you approach other people.
At the end of the first module, there were a lot of technical details, which were then also regulated with the handouts. But in the end, it’s always a suggestion for you, and then you have to implement it. That’s how I felt about it. Also as a guide to continue researching yourself, to go further and deeper.
R: What was the atmosphere like among your fellow students?
M: Well, the atmosphere has always developed from the beginning until now. Certain group structures have developed. You know each other, you trust each other, you can exchange a lot of private things with each other, which was not so easy at the beginning.
A solid core of colleagues has also become established, and this has created a real relationship of trust. This means that we can also discuss important experiences with clients quite honestly with each other in the supervision sessions. Of course, we all grow with the tasks and the experiences. But even after good preliminary discussions, sometimes difficult or peculiar situations develop with the clients. It is then very important that we can discuss our own perceptions with our colleagues and the trainers so that we can get feedback.
The connections that have been established between us are really nice, we motivate each other, the exchange is great. I feel very accepted in the family and friendly structures and that is really supportive for me.
R: How was your own inner development (from the aspect of personal growth) in the process of the training?
M: Well, the training at Gay Love Spirit has triggered many personal developments in me. I can now understand personal shortcomings, which were revealed through the work with Tantra.
It has become important for me to tackle this now. This also comes from the fact that many things have been mirrored to me by the other trainees, how I personally tick, how others tick… I have learned to perceive myself in comparison to others and this has triggered a lot with me, and I have the feeling that this is far from the end of the line.
So, I kind of see this as the beginning of a new personal maturation process that has been set in motion with the Massage Practitioner Training. This also fits with what I learned at Gay Love Spirit about Neo Tantra… it’s about reflection of these inner processes. That’s what we really learned together in the training group and that’s just much more than learning a certain technical sequence of holds.
R: You also told me at that time that you discovered and got to know a different kind of sexuality.
M: Well, I’ll say something about the change in sexuality. A lot of things have changed for me and I would summarize what is the most important thing for me: that I have now started to think about what I want and what I don’t want. I used to do that less because I followed a strict sexual pattern (I did what is expected of me as a gay man in the gay world) without reflecting on myself, without asking: „is this actually right for me?“
I can now formulate very well what I want. I need it slowly, I need a lot of time, I need it sensitively, I need it tenderly and then many sexual problems and little problems dissolve. And that is an absolutely new thing of mine and I see that today retrospectively also as the beginning of the tantric way. I got to know myself much better through this and this went far beyond the modules and the hours at Gay Love Spirit, because of course this path also continues in my private life. Today I am able to say what I want, what is possible for me and what is not. In the past I would have been ashamed of such things, today I can express it all. This has created a sexual self-confidence in me, which I enjoy very much (laughs).
R: How would you describe your learning? Are you now able to communicate with clients all issues and adjust to their concerns?
M: Yes, that is my intention. That’s what you learn here in the course, but you always have to keep at it, your own perception always has to be trained further. You can’t say or I can’t say that now I’m done and I can read all the customers’ concerns from their eyes. On the contrary, we have been given tools in our hands where we ask certain questions and we have also learned when it is best to do that.
We’ve learned to perceive the possible difference between what the customer wants (as expressed verbally) and what is expressed with body language and the body. Sometimes that can be the opposite. I had to learn how to deal with that – that was a huge learning field for me in the beginning. And even now – I don’t have so much experience yet that I can say, now I’m done (if there even is such a thing). But I am sensitized to find out in any case what the client wants or what the recipient wants.
In addition, it is not always what I am willing to give. From a tantric point of view, I don’t want to work off desires that are primarily of a sexual nature, because in tantra I want to offer new experiences and open up new spaces for the client. So all this results in a wide field in which I like to work.
R: Every client is a new world, isn’t it?
M: Yes, and I think the more I do tantric massage and the more I give tantra sessions the more surprising things keep popping up.
R: Is there anything else you would like to share about the training?
M: A bit absurd maybe, but I can think of one small thing. The most difficult thing for me was the organizational challenge in module 2. Many things were running in parallel, and we were taken by the hand, but there were also 5 other kids on each hand and the trainers didn’t have any more hands. We no longer had the full attention of the trainers.
So for me it was especially difficult to give more than one session in immediate succession. In the beginning I thought, you can’t do that. Of course, now I think you will probably handle it that way in the future modules. Of course, you’re going to get better and better and more tightly structured. On the other hand, the structure as it was was also very good for us to enjoy this learning curve together.
We were always able to express our wishes and you were always responsive and took them into account in the planning, which I thought was really great. Many of our wishes arose during or after the modules themselves. And you reacted very well to them, the better you knew us, the better you reacted to them, I thought that was really great. That’s why almost everyone continues voluntarily.