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Capoeira Journal - March '02


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March '02
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Why I Love Capoeira

I was home for two weeks in March (spring break) so I went to three classes taught by instructor Diney Nunes.


I walked in and was the only one there who wasn't fluent in Portuguese. I asked one of the students what style they play (meaning Angola or Regional) and he sort of snapped, "We play capoeira - ever heard of it?" Diney, the instructor, warmed us up and then sent the experienced students to partner train while he worked with the three of us newbies. He noticed that I caught on quickly, and when I told him I'd had some training, he asked what else I knew. I started reeling off names of kicks and he had me show him. He made some adjustments (higher martelo, different foot placement on the armada) and said that next time I'd go with the more experienced students. There was a roda with real berimbaus and everything, I tried to sing along although I didn't know any of the words. I didn't play especially well because I was nervous, but Diney said he liked the way I play anyway. After class when I was demonstrating the queda de rins into kip-up for Denise, Diney asked who was my teacher, what group I belonged to, whether I played the berimbau, etc. So it was fun, but I left determined to play better the next time...


We worked on kicks, especially the quiexada. I learned some traditions/rules of the roda, like when you buy in you never cut out the higher cord player, and when you end a game you give a nod of appreciation to the instruments. Good to know. I was playing well! You could tell I'd trained some Angola because I spent more time close to the ground. I got to play with all the advanced students, which was great! I played a very good game with Diney even though I was tiring; I had some timely dodges and moves. His group plays a little farther apart than my group does; they don't dodge much because kicks are out of range, but Diney and I played a fast, closer game with more interaction, which I like. I tried an au sem mao in the roda and the first time I fell but the second time I got it ok. Diney complimented me on my game and started talking about how I'd need white pants and the group t-shirt for the demonstration in April, and when I told them I wouldn't be around for it they were like "What?" Hopefully I'll be back though, with more moves and a smoother game.


We did basic kicks and negativa de frente, a dodge. Before class Diney tried to teach me the handspin, but he was doing it to my bad side so I couldn't get it. The roda was good (always too short!) but I played pretty well. I pulled off a successful au sem mao! I played well with Diney and the advanced students. Diney broke a berimbau while trying to string it - we were all playing around and heard this big SNAP, and looked over to see all this splintered wood! I paid for the classes and said I'd be back in May.

[unfortunately, I couldn't get a good job at home so I wasn't back in May :-(  I'm working at college for the summer, but I'll be back for the whole month of August :-)  ]