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Capoeira
Metaphysics of Capoeira
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From “TraNSE CAPOEIRANO: Um estudo sobre estrutura do ser humano e modificações de estado de consciência durante a prática da capoeira”

 

(“THE CAPOEIRA TRANCE: A STUDY ABOUT THE STRUCTURE OF THE HUMAN BEING AND MODIFICATIONS OF THE STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS DURING THE PRACTICE OF CAPOEIRA”)

 

by A.A. DecâNIO FILHO

TRANSLATION BY SHAYNA MCHUGH

 

 

BERIMBAU – THE LINK BETWEEN THE MATERIAL AND THE INVISIBLE

 

To play capoeira, the capoeirista does not need to know the history and the technique of capoeira, because the rhythm/melody puts the practitioner directly in synchrony with the “abstract capoeira,” which encompasses the ethereal source of the movements, the paradigms of games, the archetypes of capoeiristas, and perhaps “tradition” itself. For this reason, we can learn by seeing, hearing, and dancing… as “Totônio de Maré” did at the ports of Salvador, Bahia.

 

“Itapoan” asked “Maré” how he had learned capoeira and he responded:

“Seeing the others playing.

I liked it.

I entered the roda and played!”

As I saw in a videotape of Mestre Itapoan’s collection, in his house.

“Vovô Capoeira” (Grandpa Capoeira) did the same thing, at 84 years of age, in the roda of Mestre Canelão in Natal, RN.

 

It is thus, little by little, that the combination of the music with the relaxed movements comes to guide the capoeirista in the path of the trance that leads him directly to the source of capoeira, in the invisible phase of reality, which is not of corporeal senses. It deals with a metaphysical relation, the product of interaction among mental fields, as we describe below.

 

THE METAPHYSICS OF CAPOEIRA[1]

 

Capoeira is reminiscent of ritual dance

By being a form of bodily expression

Of the Being as a unit!

 

The gestures, the movements, the attitudes

Mime and mimic

What is going on inside the Being

Subconsciously or unconsciously.

 

Expressing the current will

Instantaneous

That does not belong only to one practitioner

But instead

To the complex of beings acting under the governance of the music.

 

The process occurs as though there was

A fusion of the beings participating in the game.

 

So that

Both know in some fashion

The current state of the other

In a non-temporal and non-spatial communication

Similar to the satori

Or to integration on a spiritual level!

 

The will of each Being

Is to state his superiority through the ritual dance.

 

There is integration

On a subconscious or unconscious level

Between the two participants

That enables the affirmation of the “dominant will

Through gestures, movements, and attitudes

Capable of making the dominated will

To adopt gestures, attitudes and movements

That demonstrate

The predominance of the dominating will

 

From personal experience in the practice of capoeira

I can state that it is possible

To take the other player to put himself in a position favorable

To the application of a determined hit

To lose the capacity of defense or attack

As occurs in the “corralling”!

 

The corralling

Is a situation created in a capoeira game

In which one of the two players

Is put in a situation similar

To that of the animal led by the cowboy to the corral

Through gestures, maneuvers, or commands of another nature

With the characteristic that

To the entrapped player there is no alternative left except obedience!

 

Under the point of view of martial art

It corresponds to immobilization (gatame)

In the ground fighting (newaza) of judo

It is distinguished by the subtlety of the corralling

Product of ritual gestures

Before the direct use of strength and technique!

 

In both the sporting activities

Exists the encounter and fusion of Beings

Whose wills are contraposed!

 

In both can occur

The phenomenon of direct perception and forseeing the behavior of the other

Which I also know by my own experience!

 

At a certain level of the practice of the Japanese martial art

I noted that I did not observe nor feel

With the typical sensory organs

The presence or the movements of the opponent

I just knew what he was going to do!

 

Master Yoshida explained

Joyfully, happily, smiling

“You learned judo! More or less the seventh ‘dan’!”

 

The phase of shock passed by the natural euphoria

I remembered that in capoeira it was the same thing

To “arm the lasso” it is necessary to know what the other player is going to do!

To “corral” it is necessary to anticipate what the other is going to do!

 

The Japanese believe

Their martial art is the path ()

Of the learning of gentleness/softness (ju)

 

The Brazilians recognize

Capoeira is the path of learning the way of being!

 

            During the capoeira trance, the capoeirista modifies his emotional state and comes to face a situation of imaginary risk as pleasurable under the protection of ritual and the vigilance and responsibility of the Mestre, so that it facilitates the learning and register of appropriate solutions to the pretenses of dangerous situations.



[1] Decanio Filho, A.A. - A herança de Mestre Bimba . Coleção S. Salomão. Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas Avançadas de Capoeira. Salvador/Ba. 1997