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Capoeira
Capoeira Journal - Jan./Feb. '02

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Why I Love Capoeira

1/1/02

Happy New Year!!! After celebrating upstairs I played capoeira in the living room until Mom and Dad said I was making too much noise and made me go to bed.

1/25/02

Capoeira was awesomely cool! Andreu joined the class, and we were playing this game. Andreu looked really tired so I bought in with Phil. There was this guest instructor Gil who was there, and he jumped in - I thought he was going to relieve me 'cause it hadn't been too long since my last game, so I went to sit down but he said "No, you've been tiring everyone else out, now let's see what you've got!" We jogged around the circle for a little while and he asked me if I'd caught my breath; I made a "so-so" gesture. He motioned me to the foot of the circle to start again, so I crouched and extended my hand and BAM! his foot comes out of nowhere and bencaos me square in the chest, and I just fell over! It was really funny, I left myself wide open for it. It's humbling but extremely fun to play with someone so much better than you; I hope I get the chance more often!

1/26/02

Capoeira went from 3-5:30 today and I'm SO glad I stayed! We went over basic kicks and aus (when I do a bunch of aus in a row I have to remember to look ahead and not at the ground). We did queda de rins exercises and this one slow motion meia lua de compasso exercise which really works your upper and lower body. People started leaving until it was just me, Phil, and Gil: Gil started teaching us how to hold and play the berimbau!!! It's hard to hold and balance the thing. It was incredibly fun to experiment with it and try to imitate the rhythms on the CD. As I was playing (or trying to play) this simple instrument and Gil was teaching me, I felt like I was inheriting a tradition, like part of a culture was being passed on to me. Then two of us played a game while the other played the berimbau. I did pretty well in my first game with Gil, then my game with Phil improved as time went on, but in my second game with Gil I was tired and did pretty bad. He moves so fluidly and easily from one move to another, I feel like a real klutz by comparison. I still can't figure out how to escape some of his attacks... still, it was unbelievably fun!

2/2/02

There were a couple new people in capoeira today so we went over the basic kicks, which are always good to practice. Roberto announced the 'official' end of class, so all the new people left and then everyone else stayed and played. Gil came and we played a lot, and he gave some really helpful instruction during the games. I love playing so much... right now the bottoms of my feet feel like they're on fire, though: I'll have to take a break.

2/9/02

Phil and I worked out a little bit. My S-dobrado feels a tiny bit better! When the timing is right it flows nicely and feels great. I ended with a very successful au sem mao; it's all mental whether I put my hands down or not, so it feels great when I refrain from doing it! Brett and I were playing a mini-game, and I thought he was going to kick, so I went to cocorinha, but he cartwheeled instead. His stomach was inches from my head, so I just moved a bit and cabecada'd him to the ground! So there!

2/23/02

Capoeira class was extremely fun; lasted three hours and we played an awesome game of Regional at my request. I was just going with the flow and interacting with the other player, not thinking, just reacting and letting myself go - it was fun! I tend to play a high energy game, and tire myself out quickly. Almost had some good front flips today, and au sem maos were good; was getting mad height occasionally. Worked a bit on the au batido and had some decent ones to the right. Handstand walking continues to improve. I really like the combination where one person fakes an armada and comes in to sweep and the other person esquivas into an s-dobrado back over the sweep. And I like the esquiva lateral into a negativa, 3/4 role, macaco - had some decent macacos doing that the other day. Other exercises were ultra-slow-motion kicks, and alternating negativa roles and small cartwheels/breaking the cartwheel to end up in a negativa, and continue... one thing I love about capoeira is that, unlike figure skating, you don't need any special equipment to do it - you can practice anytime, anywhere with just yourself and a little bit of space.