It’s almost midnight right now, so please excuse the ineloquence of this post! It’s late, and yet I am far too wide awake to consider sleep. I have just come home from the second night of our long awaited Capoeira workshop, and I am still buzzing!
It’s one of those things that has most South Africans saying “sorry, what?” when you first tell them that you do it. Then after much explanation some of them might say “oh yes! That dance thing!”
That is most likely every Capoeirista’s worst ever description of what Capoeira is.
So what is it? Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art. It has its deepest roots in Africa, it’s true, but truthfully capoeira as it is played today is a Brazilian affair.
Capoeira looks like a dance to the outsider because when it is played well there is very little, if any, contact between players. That is not to say that it is not a formidable sport. It is because if both parties are schooled well enough it looks like a flow of smooth movement between them.
Capoeira is a chess game. A martial art that uses mostly kicks sweeps and evasion and if you are so inclined occasional acrobatic flares. Traditionally the game is played with cut throat blades between the toes, so it stands to reason that one would evade a kick rather than block it as this could lead to the loss of an appendage.
Capoeira is a spur of the moment choice of movements that take years to build up. It is a conversation. It can be beautiful, it can be playful, it can be aggressive or it can be used as self-defense. Capoeira is always passionate. I have yet to meet a Capoeirista who is not passionate about the game. It either hooks you or it doesn’t, but half measures are not acceptable – I suppose that is part of the Brazilian thing coming through.
Capoeira is my passion. It is the place that I have learned to stand up for myself. It is the place that I have learned to play hard and fight softly. Where I have learned to hold my head high, keep my chin up and NEVER take my eye off the target! Capoeira is where I have learned that I can actually do anything that I set my mind to, even exercise! Capoeira has helped me to find myself as a person. It is my outlet for both creativity and frustration. It’s about being able to think on your feet, be adaptable, be mutable, and always come out with a smile on your face. Capoeira is looking to the positive side of every situation. Capoeira is the one place that I feel the most like myself.
No Mom and Dad, it is not a cult! Yes there is music, yes there is a history, yes these people are like family to me now too and yes we are speaking Brazilian Portuguese (some of us not very well) but no, not a cult. It goes so much deeper than that! You see Capoeira is not something that I do, Capoeira is something that I am.
But hey, at the end of the day, I guess you can say that I Just do it for kicks.