Monthly Archives: October 2012

Some thinkings about capoeira

I’ve been thinking a lot about capoeira and what lies underneath what Kibe is teaching. I won’t talk about the specific sequences but rather what I am getting out of them.

First there is some emphasis on speed. I dont feel as though I’ve had much emphasis on this in my training for a while although Parente brings it up regularly in his classes. I’m at a definite disadvantage in the faster games they have here and much less comfortable with it.
Second and probably more important is timing, I don’t think he’s expressly mentioned it (although he could have in one of the parts I didn’t understand), but the concept seems pretty rooted in the sequences we are practicing. The difficulty then becomes being able to translate this into good timing during the game. Any ideas here? I guess the basic thing is just to drill the timing into your subconcious.
Thirdly positioning. This seems to encompass knowing where you and the other player are and also knowing things like a martello has a longer reach than an armada.
Lastly, because kibe is a badass, some interesting movements which are pretty standard for capoeira on the outside but to which he adds some interesting variations. I’ve noticed CM. Papa’s students in particular doing this in the past and its definitely something I need to swipe for my own training. Say you add 2 different details you can use on every technique you know, you’ve just essentially tripled your repertoire. Plus they will each (if they are worthwhile variants) give you a small edge when used in the right place.

One more thing I have noticed unconnected with any particular capoeira teacher is that the more you train the little eurekas that help you learn a skill seem to increase in frequency exponentially. So for at least that aspect training 3 or 4 times a week isn’t 3 or 4 times as good as training once, but 9 or 16 times as good. Damn, I’d committed to resting my feet tonight to make sure I can still walk to go visit CM. Kuata tomorrow but now I really want to train…

Lots to think about. Lots of training to do. Capoeira is awesome and life is good. ❤

1st Week Retrospective

Today I saw a dog wearing tiny shoes.

After being here for a week I feel like a pro (ha! I lie!). The simple conversations are getting easier but that means that people use harder words. I also found the most dangerous thing in brasil: pay by weight buffet. Anyone who has lived with me can probably see where this is going. Anyway, I’d heard these things were cheap but forgot I was in a foodcourt, and naturally with all these new foods I wanted to try a bit of this and a bit of that and ooh that looks interesting and… Yeah… so this ended up costing 3x what I’ve been paying for lunch elsewhere. It was good though. The 3 deserts I had were great too.

After the last update I went to train at the matriz again and got to meet CM. Gaiola (such a dude) and some more people. I’ve already got to meet and play with more amazing capoeiristas than any time outside of an event. Here’s hoping some of it rubs off. Hells I’ve been to classes with less students than there were contramestres on Thursday. Picked up some handspin tips from CM. Kibe to take home as well.

Ended up having 3 days without capoeira after thurs, which felt bad on the emotive side but good on the legs. Instead I saw the finale of Brasil’s most obsessed-about novela Avenida Brasil (the most controversial character spent the whole time crying… Get a grip) and went to the museum of independence museu do ipiranga. That was a pretty cool place, with a statue of the emperor waving a sword from horseback at the spot he actually sat on a donkey and suffered dysentry, so it was very historic.

Last night I was back at capoeira in 34 degree heat, so today has been spent constantly drinking water to try and catch back up! Great roda though, I played a bunch including with CM. Kibe, although I was pretty destroyed by that point. Had one of those survival games with an instructor I didn’t know who decided to test my reflexes. Fun all round!

So after 1 week here I at feel fairly settled, know my way to the most important places and some cool people. Finally got the tickets for our internal flights sorted as well so I’m looking forwards to plenty of adventures with Mel. Tchau!

Chilling in a hot place

So, after however many years and 30 hours on planes I’ve finally made it! Chilling in Brazil…
The planes were fine. I did a lot of sleeping and movie watching. The low point there being the amazing spiderman, which managed to make me feel like I’d wasted my time despite the fact I was trapped in a metal box with nothing else to do. About the last 5 hours i started to get antsy, but luckily planes these days have plenty of 90’s style computer games to distract my inner child.

Being met by a friend’s family at the airport was an absolute luxury. And my hosts have turned out to be great so far. I’m in a little granny flat at the back of their house. It even has a bunk bed in case granny feels sprightly. They both teach portuguese and one also teaches english so they’ve been very helpful.

I made it to the CDO matriz (headquarters) on my second day. I was so nervous! I realised over the last 8 years of capoeira I’d built this place up in my mind as a promised land of capoeira, full of mini mestres waiting to become the next M. Xuxu or M. Poncianinho at the age of 16. Not to mention all the famous mestres I’d probably be tripping over who’d kick my arse if I blinked at them funny. Of course, the matriz was just a normal class, full of friendly capoeiristas (as ever). I was greeted by CM. kibe in a friendly but busy-and-this-gringo-barely-speaks-my-language way and went on to an intense but fun class. I cant tell if i actually haven’t trained that hard in a while or the humidity just killed me, but i felt like I was training at altitude. The first student I met turned out to be urso, a friend of my friend who teaches capoeira in perth, and he offered to help me get to the place where their mestre teaches the next day. I also met a little kid with a lisp who talked at me for about 20 minutes. I couldn’t understand much but it was good practice. He does judo and his dad was getting his hair cut. Or was a hairdresser. Either way. The class was full of foreigners like me though. One of them even thought i was brazillian because of my broken portuguese, i was pretty chuffed. Pretty destroyed by the end as well.

So the next day I head off to osasco to meet CM. kuata, my friend’s teacher. Its a half hour walk to the station then another hour across 5 trains to estacione comandante in osasco. Kuata seems pretty cool, but the class is mostly beginners. I was nervous again, but this time because i couldn’t figure out when the last trains were and this class doesn’t even start until 9pm. No one seemed worried that i came by train though, so hakuna matata. Urso met me at the station to help me find the place and he’s already one of my favorites here. Awesome guy, super dedicated to capoeira and with a great game. I think he trains every day, sometimes more than once. Thanks to the late start and long travel route (I was basically taking trains in a spiral to get home) I didn’t get in until 12.30. Naturally then i was woken up at 6 by a brain convinced it wasn’t tired. If I understood him correctly CM. kuata would like me to come to as many classes as possible to take sequences back to his student in perth, but with that timetable we’ll have to see how many I can make (sorry doodz, I’ll do my best).

Today, instead of having a “proper” portuguese class we basically listened to a cool song by a band called skank, had a chat and went to the local market. It was awesome. They take over a street once a week and fill it with fresh fruit and deep fried packages of fatty joy called recheio.

Alright, so I’m off to capoeira at the matriz again tonight. My legs are sore but my belly is full and my head is happy. Here’s a link to the song I mentioned, I’d like to embed the video but I’m doing this through an ipod and it’s a bit limited. The typing is a bugger too! Skank – Saideira

Saideira is the last drink of the night, sort of a “one for the road” type vibe. Enjoy!

Anticipation

In 1 week I’m off to Brazil. 3 weeks of capoeira and Portuguese lessons (I may practise putting bits of Portuguese on here) on my own, then Mel’s coming and we’re off travelling for 3 more weeks. I’m a little bit excited. Actually very excited, but sitting here it doesn’t quite seem real yet. Especially since, as I type, I haven’t told anyone at all about this blog (hi there, I hope the future is nice).

The plan is to immerse myself in Portuguese, as I think I’m too lazy to really learn a language properly otherwise. I’ve got various basics already (thanks to years of hanging out with Brazillians, some effort on Livemocha.com and a few helpful lessons from Mariana), and I have no idea how much further it is practical to get in 3 weeks of study, but my hope is to be able to converse at a basic level by the time I come home. The theory is that I can then get better by using the language naturally (talking, typing and reading) after that. From what I’ve learned so far I think that tenses and conjugation are going to be my main enemies.

At the same time my capoeira school Cordão de Ouro has its headquarters only a few kms away from where I’ll be studying. I’m hoping to get some serious training and adventures in at the source!

I’d like to see if I can keep this blog going after as well, as I occasionally get the urge to write down my thoughts about capoeira. Less because I believe I’ve got some particular insight but because it helps to crystalise my own thoughts when I have to order them and type them out. This first post is going here so that when I do eventually share it around people actually have something to read. Next post: flying for 30 hours to a strange city where I don’t know anybody or speak the language – yet.