I know I haven’t posted on this blog in a loonnnnnnggg timeeee. That’s one of the reasons I’m back today. However, it’s not the only one…
The true reason I’m here again is because I’ve discovered a wonderful thing that I feel the need to share with you because I feel that you (and everyone else on earth) can benefit from it. One word:
For those of you who don’t know, Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art. Some prefer not to call it a martial art because it is practiced today as a dance, but I find this a little misguided (to avoid using the word ignorant).
Capoeira is “played” by two (or sometimes more) people who come out of a circle of friends that play music and sing together using traditional instruments. The two Capoeiristas engage in gameplay by using a series of attacks, floreios (acrobatic moves usually performed with the intent of confusing the opponent), and defenses (often called esquivas). When the music gets faster, the players play faster. When it slows down, they play more slowly. While I’m not aware of specific victory conditions, the player who gets more taps in on the opponent without loosing his balance or his cool is usually considered the victor.
Unlike in other martial arts, Capoeira has very little focus on form or combative application (though it definitely has practical application, in my opinion); it is designed to teach the Capoeirista to move with maximal proficiency and be able to adapt and make the most out of any situation.
Anyone who comes from an Eastern martial art like mine will immediately see the differences between Capoeira and their practice. Eastern martial arts often use forms and sequences to define essentially all their material, and emphasize endless repetition of these movements, ingraining the patterns until the practitioner executes them flawlessly. The emphasis is on memory, control, and resolute perseverance. Deception is rarely employed, and only in small measure. Finally, the one thing I have yet to see is any excessive movement at all.
Capoeira, on the other hand, is the opposite. It is constantly moving. You never stop moving during a game, and you are never locked into a particular pattern. You have to adapt to each situation as it comes and roll with the punches (and kicks) as they come at you. You have to find openings using timing and bodily balance and coordination. The “excessive” movement that Capoeira displays is also perfect for deceiving an opponent. In Eastern martial arts, I’ve always had trouble not telegraphing my own moves; while I could certainly improve with practice, Capoeira does a much better job of this naturally. Its attacks can come from virtually any position at any time, at the Capoeirista often moves a great amount when using them.
A great example of this is the Meia Lua de Compasso kick. You begin essentially bent over on the ground, or you can even start in a position like Resistencia. Although your kicking leg starts on the floor, it travels high enough to strike your opponent in the face (depending on their height), and moves with a lot of force because the movement comes from the body spinning. This move could easily be a knockout.
Anyway, to cease rambling, the point of this post is this: Capoeira is a complete package that I absolutely love. It gives you music, spirit, bodily strength, coordination, flexibility, and even fight application if you train it correctly.
I encourage you to find a tutorial on some basic moves and follow it. Practice to some music (I recommend Mestre Barrão) and put together your own sequences. Practice every day and really move. The more you practice, the more your movements will flow. As you become more advanced, teach yourself new movements and incorporate them. Eventually, you’ll be cartwheeling and kicking all over the place and feel like you’re light as air.
Adeus Adeus (Boa Viagem)!