Thursday, September 6, 2012

CatC:H learns about capoeira

Photo from

Last Sunday, CatC:H invited Vida Sioson and her fellow capoeiristas Joan and Ces to talk about Capoeira, which is a dance/martial art that originated in Brazil. A lot of us didn't know about this martial art, and those of us who did have never seen it in action (with the exception of Kit, of course). So, it was an interesting lesson and quite an eye-opener, especially because it gave us a sneak peek into the culture of the country we all hope to visit next year!

A bit of history: Capoeira was created by the African slaves in Brazil as they tried to find a way to train to fight against their Portuguese captors without making them suspicious. That's why the martial art looks like a dance! It's a mix of African dances and Brazilian music & culture.

In capoeira, a game between two players is called a "Benguela." We asked the capoeiristas if in a Benguela their moves are choreographed, and Vida explained that capoeira is a spontaneous art: the moves only look choreographed because of the skill of the capoeirista to flow with the rythm and the movements of her opponent. She made an analogy: it's like a conversation; you speak spontaneously in response to what your friend says--but that does not mean you rehearsed your lines beforehand!

What's very interesting about this dance/art is that it is not only a fitness routine or fighting style--it's a cultural combo meal: you get to dance, you get to fight, you get to sing, learn snippets of Portuguese, and even play instruments!

Now we're looking forward to attending a special capoeira class to try it out for ourselves. Vida, Joan, and Ces were very encouraging; they said that you don't need to be flexible to start. All you need is determination to learn something new and of course resilience so as not to be discouraged when you make mistakes. Let's go!

See Vida's post on this at her blog VidaLoca.

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