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Capoeira
Training Journal 2005
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2/23/05 - Workshops with Instructor Carcará
 
Instructor Carcará of Capoeira Mandinga Rochester came to the Hill with some of his students and gave two awesome workshops to the Hamilton and Colgate capoeira clubs. Each session began with an intense warm-up that included ginga and variations, basic kicks and dodges, stretching, jumping, bananeira and au exercises, push-ups, etc. We then moved on to combinations of capoeira movements practiced individually and in partners, and ended the workshops with music (learned 6 or 7 great new songs) and roda.
 
Some key lessons that Carcará emphasized during the weekend included
 - control and grounding (having a firm base) of all the basic kicks, something that can only be achieved by lots of repetitive practice;
 - upping the level and intensity of our training, doing more strength-building exercises;
 - developing friendly interaction in the roda, a dialogue between the two players;
 - the importance of music and singing in contributing to the roda's energy.
 
These workshops were a really good experience for our group in a number of ways. Physically, everyone from the newer folks to the "veterans" was challenged both by the intensity of the workshops and by the level of the movements. It's inspired us to make our classes less slow-paced and more physically demanding so that we can develop more endurance. Musically, people enjoyed the songs and were picking up the new ones well even though they weren't easy, and everyone noticed a definite improvement in the roda on the second day when the music was more powerful. Carcará has a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and love for capoeira, and it was awesome that he could pass some of that to us. Finally, since this workshop brought together the three capoeira groups (Rochester, Hamilton, and Colgate) in the wasteland that is central New York, I'm hoping it will open the door for further collaboration in events and ties among the groups.
 
2/10/05 - Music
 
This semester we've been having a just-music class once a week in which we work on both instruments and songs. So far it's gone really well - the new folks are getting the hang of the berimbau and pandeiro quite nicely, and we've learned several toques and a lot of songs. I started out by teaching songs with relatively simple chorus parts, and have been working my way up in complexity. Roberto and myself currently do just about all of the leading, but we're encouraging others to start doing so. As for me, I'm slowly becoming more comfortable leading, but I still need to 1) Project more, relax more, sing with more soul. I tend to tense up, which totally kills the power of my voice; 2) Pick keys that are low enough for the guys - and for me, I'm an alto for goodness' sake - but nervousness and overthinking makes my voice high and tense; 3) Work on leading at faster rhythms without letting the pace of my berimbau slow down.