Capoeira lifestyle after 10 years of training

A bateria na roda

A bateria na roda

 

If you’ve been active in one area such as I’ve been in capoeira for as long as one decade, you’ve almost seen it all. It was always interesting to me, how my perception and my involvement with this beautiful art changes every once in a while without me even noticing when.

I’ve had ups and downs, had laughs and cried, I was facing anger and almost transcendental heights of capoeira. And I am still here. Some might say I could do more, I could gain more and dedicate myself to it more, others maybe see me as a good capoerista especially regarding my classes as instrutora.

And that for me is at one point all worthless, if I myself am not the one feeling it. I always say to my students, you are not here because of me, you train capoeira because of you. And I know, that my instructor role is something that was always in me and I enjoy it so much, that the outcome is good no matter the students. I have also learned so much from them, since they are from all walks of life. But first and foremost I always tell them they have to have fun.

If you are not enjoying something you do, then it’s probably not for you. Capoeira for me is obviously a path that I’ve had to take and since nothing in my life lasted for so long as capoeira did, it is a clear sign, I have found my purpose in a way. Not in a sense that I am the best capoerista in the world, but because of the pure joy it brings when I catch that perfect moment of jogo and get my mandinga rolling.

My connection with my primary group is in a way the same as to my family. I know they’re there and I love them, but I do’t need to see them everyday. I would never do or say anything to harm them or insult them in front of strangers, but as every family, we have our own issues. Capoeira é vida. And with years, Capoeira é sabedoria. And a wise man does not need approval or attachement in order to define who he is. He knows everything falls into its place one way or another and so do I. I know, because I feel it.

After more than 10 years I accepted many facts, even the ones I didn’t like. Capoeira is also a man’s world, so for me as a woman instructor it sometimes seems funny to observe all that men behaviour that is so strange to me. I do not have any desire to show of, to rule, to conquer, to be the best or to compete…for me capoeira is a game. And through my motion I only express what’s truly mine. So if I am a gentle person, I play gentel. And when I am sad, I play either hard to hide my pain or I play quiet to be unnoticed. If I’m happy I play and sing at the same time. And when I am not liking my opponent I play strict and careful.

Capoeira is an art of communication. Those subtle signs you can get from a person that you are playing with can tell you, what a person is like. And you can either adapt your jogo to him or you can challenge his ego. It’s usually about the ego. And the more you fall, the more you get aquianted with your innner self, with your ego. And finally surpass it or fall under his childish act.

So you see, living capoeira to me does not mean to be able to jump high and do impressive acrobatics or to sing with a beautiful voice. To me it means all but that. Sure it’s nice to watch that, but by the end of the day, people are also going to remember your energy as a person capoerista. And to me, that’s the most important thing capoeira gave me. My very own and intimate introspection.

 

 

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the journey / a viagem

praia no Itacare

praia no Itacare

It is time. Time for the dreams to become reality, for longtime wish to manifest in it’s solid form. Brasil is waiting for me, and i’m waiting for it.

In 2 weeks, my feet are touching the motherland of capoeira. To be reunited with something that has begun long time ago and that i’m obviously connected to since forever.
The land of sun, sea, capoeira, rhytm, samba, poverty, saudade, alegria, endless forests and much more…it’s a land that overwhelms a person that has at least the slightest beat of positive energy in him.

A trip to Brasil is a special “ritual” for every capoerista. Sooner or later, one has to go to visit Brasil. To experience it’s roots, to feel the true rhytm of capoeira and to make a reality check of what his capoeira truly means to him and how good he is.

I am going to try to update you on my journey, so that the ones that can’t go there yet, will be able to feel at least some of it’s vibe.

inner warrior / guerreiro interno

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We have succesfully started a new capoeira season. The summer was full of positive energy and hot rhytms, singing, awaking our inner warrior spirit.

This year I have come to a decision we will try to work on our inner warrior. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to be anything wierd or unknown that wouldn’t connect to capoeira. But I think that every capoerista should really try to find his inner warrior instinct in order to get the best out of him.

I’m thinking warrior instinct more in terms of archetype. We are warriors in everyday life, no matter what we fight for. Capoeira gives us the perfect chance to let go of all the heavy stuff we hold inside, that we live with everyday. We become strong. We become more self-confident. We start to feel our bodies and enjoy working with our bodies.

Our inner warrior should support our effort to open our bodies and accept our power, our strenght. We are all strong, the world convinced us, that we are scared an poor little beings uncapable of anything. But the truth is we can do WHATEVER we want. We can become anything. So even if you start capoeira at 25, it doesn’t mean, you can not achieve anything.

Wisdom (sabedoria) is what makes a warrior great and unbeatable. Stability in mind is what makes a warrior fearful. Being able to show our weakness is what truly makes us strong.

Capoeira is not just a simple martial art that we practice twice per week. If you truly feel the power and beauty of this art, capoeira can and will change you on the inside.

capoeira é vida

Being a capoeira instructor gives me a great opportunity to share my passion with others. It is the most wonderful feeling one could ever have. When you love something so much that it becomes a big part of your everyday life, and when you have an opportnity to tell someone else about it and if you see, people feel your passion and that is one of the reasons they like it too…there are no words that can describe it. It is an amazing feeling.

We continuously label ourselves. Either with our names, our occupation, our hobbies. And usually when someone asks you what you do in life you tell them first the things you love the most. So i tell people i do capoeira. Because that is what is like to do the most. And if someone would ask me, what am i most passionate about, i would tell him it’s moving, working with my body, dancing and singing. These are the primary things humans do, did and will do. But we forgot so much.

And that is why i think capoeira is not just an afternoon hobby someone does to workout and then goes on with his life, but a lifestyle and a true freedom of movement and overcoming your fears and problems. If you’re stuck inside yourself, you cannot sing. If you’re sad, you sing sad songs, if you’re happy you play with energy and a smile on your face, if you’re in love, your game is full of love. Because you simply can not hide or divide your inner and outer side. Not in capoeira.

axé!

batizado

Our season is slowly turning towards the main event of the year for every fresh capoerista. In one month you are all getting your very own graduaçăo, a nice colorful belt around your waste which will not only hold on your abadá pants but will also remind you, that you are a part of the group Capoeira tradiçăo baiana.

Batizado in portuguese means baptism, which is exactly what this event represents. Your batizado is like a stepping stone on your beautiful path of capoeira. Not only because of the belt, but mostly because you can participate a whole weekend of capoeira, learn new moves and tricks, meet other mestres and contramestres, professores and other capoeristas, because in that weekend you live and breath capoeira 24/7 and noone thinks you are wierd, because everybody is also on the same drug! 😉

Community of capoeira is a special world, where everybody pushes their limits and confronts their fears, where capoeristas support each other when somebody needs motivation and where older capoeristas help younger ones. We take care of each other.

Batizado is a special event also because it really can show you wether you truly are a capoerista in your heart, because in three days of constant practice and trainnings and rodas, your body can really get tired. But with all the excitement and positive energy that you get from the whole event, one must surely get to a point where he asks himself “What am i doing here, do i really need this?” and if the answer is “YES!” then you know this is it and your heart is a heart of a capoerista.

As every baptism has its own godfather and godmother, this batizado is no exception. Everybody has to choose who will be his or her guardian. Usually it is an older capoerista to whom you look up too, not only in capoeira but also as a person. He inspires you, motivates you and gives you that extra push when you need it. At batizado, after your game with mestre where you get the belt, your guardian brings you a white flower as a welcome gift to a world of capoeira.

This year our batizado is from 15th – 17th of June. There is still enough time to decide if that is how you want to start and continue your capoeira, but believe me it is one of the most beautiful events you will ever participate.

o jogo / the game

We are starting “o nosso jogo”, the more one plays in the roda, the better one gets. Of course first there are the basics we have to learn, but where it all comes to show is inside the roda.

After 7 months of capoeira, we are growing into infants. not to exagurate, we still have a long way to go, but as we make step by step, jinga by jinga, so will our capoeira nature and character be slowly developed. persistence is the key to a winner, so no matter what, it is important to have discipline and attend every aula possible and contribute as much as possible to trainning. only that way, we will be able to grow in to a strong and confident group.

Inside a group no matter how small it is, there is always a certain style of “jogo” developed, especially if capoeristas are only attending aulas under one instructor or mestre or professor. at the beggining it’s even better if one decides to train in one place, so as to learn the basics. usually younger capoeristas are not allowed to go elsewhere and wander around too much, for they have to first establish a good base. when your moves are relatively solid and firm, you can upgrade them.

Capoeira is not just a sport to attend one or two times per week and kick some ass…by now you’ve probably already understood that. there is much more than that and often people misjudge it because of lack of understanding, especially if they also have some trouble accepting something foreign and new. ironically capoeira is not some “new age” fashion frawl, it has been here for decades, lot longer than some other activies that are much more popular. but nevertheless, it is a lifestyle and if you accept it as your own, believe me, everyone around you will know you’re different and what you do!

So keep on doing what you do, and if you love it, don’t give up. O nosso jogo vai começar!

roda and rituals

I think it’s time that we say a word or two about the rodathe circle where capoeira is played. the great, magical and powerful circle where it all happens, where capoeira becomes truly a dance of joy, a game of friends and a fight of life.

roda has certain rituals and hierarchy included in its concept. let’s look at the traditional formation. it is always a circle, even if there are not many people participating, always try to format a circle to keep the energy flowing. even if you are not inside roda doing capoeira, your job is to always be attent and careful about what’s happening inside. you participate with your singing and clapping of hands. you are as important as the both jogadores inside.

batteria is where you always enter the roda. bateria consists of berimbau (usually 3), pandeiro (usually 2) and atabaque (the big drum). additionally there can be also recô-recô and agogo. berimbau is the most important instrument in capoeira and therefore always commands the type of jogo that is played, the speed of the jogo and when berimbau stops, so does the game.

when you enter roda it is always from where batteria is, either left or right side, but NEVER cross the roda. when you approach the batteria, you give your compliments to the berimbau and if mestre is playing it, also to mestre. how you do it depends on individual, some cross their forehead, some draw signs on the floor or bow, some praise their hands towards the sky, some don’t do anything special but look at the berimbau. then you give your attention to the jogo that is played inside. for a couple of seconds you wait and when opportunity approaches, you give a sign with your hand that you want to buy the game – compra o jogo. if you are entering in a pair, you wait for the jogadores inside approach the batteria, greet each other and exit, then you and your partner enter and start to play.

when entering with someone, always be prepared for something to happen and never trust your opponent, for in roda you have no friends, even your teacher is not your friend there. remember to protect yourself at all times and predict anything that could happen, that way you will always be prepared and know how to react. of course you can smile and have a friendly game, but mind that behind the scene, you are on your own!

if you buy the game alone, ALWAYS enter the roda facing towards the person you want to play with. it is like talking to someone, you don’t point your back towards the person you want to talk to right? so it is the same here. there are various ways a game can be bought so don’t be surprised. you can either wait for the two jogadores to approach the batteria and shake hands before starting to play capoeira with you, or you can just quickly enter and “steal” the game and immediately start to play. sometimes also berimbau calls the two jogadores inside and when they approach, you substitute one of them. depends on the type of the game that is played at the moment you enter.

as capoeira ANGOLA is more traditional you have to be more careful when you play angola as to follow the rituals, but with capoeira REGIONAL, slight variations can be made and because the game is fast, everything else happens fast.