RIP Capoeira Knysna

Letting go of something I am passionate about is painful and difficult for me.

I am a loyal human being, and although I don’t often or easily commit to something, when I do it is whole heartedly in every sense.

I will give my all, everything I have at my disposal and more.

And so to let something that I have labored at with passion, hope and enthusiasm pass out of my life is not easily done.

Four years ago (next month) I discovered an activity that fit into my life like a missing gear.

I would say a missing puzzle piece, but a gear is more truthful – because it actually mobilized me and made me functional.

I will never forget my first Capoeira class.

I had never even heard of it before I walked into that class. What an amazing thing to discover a vibrant group of people moving in this rhythmical, beautiful and lethal looking activity. I was filled with the same kind of awe that I had as a child watching Olympic gymnasts and figure skaters – only for the first time in my life – the beautiful thing I was seeing was within my grasp to achieve.

I was welcomed into this family-like group of people with warmth and capaencouragement. And as I was just a few months out of the end of a scary marriage and making friends for myself and doing things for myself for the first time in eleven years, it was huge.

The passion flamed up in me and didn’t go out. The bug bit. And I know that even when I am a grey-haired granny I will still consider myself a capoeirista.

I am not going to go into detail now – but Capoeira infiltrated every aspect of my life. the people became my friends, my family, and we went through a lot together.

That is why the slow, inevitable death of my local capoeira group has been a huge loss for me.

But we live in a small town. People moved to the city for work, students finished school and went off to live their lives, and slowly the group got smaller and smaller until there were only a handful of us left.

If I can say one thing for myself it’s that I was the last student standing. No one can fault me on my perseverance. But you can’t flog a dead horse and in the end my mestre called it a day.

A few months later there was a brief flare, with typical capoeira-type politics surrounding it. We trained again, a few of us, for a few more months. But with new teachers, serious fee hikes and a sense of betrayal that could never be shaken after the last ending, it proved to be more of a “death-throws” than a new start.

In the end I had to admit the dirty truth. Nobody wanted to play anymore. My favourite game had become both too expensive and too emotionally exhausting to carry on with.

And so Cassa da Capoeira Knysna died for me.

The flame still burns for many of us. I am still a member of Barravento. I still sing IMG_7430the songs, and jogo in my dreams. I still long to hear that chi chi ting tong calling me into the roda. I can probably hang up my hopes of ever landing a back flip or flying kick again. But I will always be a capoeira girl.

I will always be game.

Now I turn to the soulless machine that is the gym to keep my body strong instead of getting strong as a bi-product of doing what I love. It’s different. Although I try to tell myself I am getting strong now so that I can play a better game than ever, soon.

The funny thing is I never realised just how committed I was to it until it was gone. I knew I was passionate. But not just about the sport. I was passionate about my capoeira family. I couldn’t have imagined life without them.cappi me

Now for the first time since the divorce I find myself thinking of new places. I would have to move my mother with me if I went off to the city, of course. But It never had any appeal for me until now.

I guess families come in many forms.

I feel the time may soon be coming for me to go in search of mine again. my soul family. I know there are more of us out there, somewhere.



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