Sunday, October 18, 2009

Meu primeiro batizado

I'm in Seattle right now waiting for the last night of my first batizado. For those who don't know, a batizado is a yearly event primarily in capoeira regional schools where the new students are initiated and other students are given their new cords after they've been tested by the profesor or mestre. They're usually huge events that take up a weekend or longer with workshops, fun, open rodas (games) by the ton and of course the troca de corda (changing of cords).

Here's a rundown of mine so far:
Friday: I show up right when we were supposed to start, but luckily everything was going a bit late so it was okay. I was nervous as hell because I've never trained with this group (I train with a small group in Spokane) and well, quite frankly it was intimidating. After meeting some of the people, Mestre came and and I met him.

Mestre led class for a while and when he spoke it was always profound. Look a bit down, there's a post with some of his words of wisdom.

We then split into two classes; higher cords and crua/crua and crua/azul and trained even more.

Then came the roda at the end. It is the largest roda I've ever been in and was flat out amazing. There is literally no way to explain the energy, the feel and the bond of that roda unless you've been in one.

Workshops all morning where we were pushed to our limits and beyond. I learned so much in those hours that I'm amazed at what I can do now. Yeah, it was that intense.

Then another open roda...mestre played against his son in an angola game. It was seriously the most awesome thing to watch. There were some other angola games, then we went to regional style for everyone. The energy was even higher this time around.

Tonight: the troca de corda and maybe another roda. I'm anxious but calm at the same time.
So I got there a little early and received my shirt. I was nervous as hell that they'd attempt to call me up to get a new corda, but they didn't yet. At the same time, I sort of wish they had to just test my skills and prove myself. Its hard to explain so I'm not even going to try, but yeah, its not a good or bad thing really.
There was a roda for the higher up students and that was also very fun to be in/near.

After that, Kelsey, Thomas and I went to dinner at a Brazilian restaurant and not even a few minutes after we showed up, Mestre, Profesor Coquino and many of the other higher-ups came in the door. They all started singing and playing instruments while we were eating. The kicker: Prof. Coquinho came up to my table, sat down and talked to me for a few minutes. He's a man of very few words, so I'm very grateful for his gesture. I made sure to say good-bye to everyone at that table, and Mestre just looked at me and gave me a giant grin. It was a great close to the weekend.

Oh, my Portuguese is inteligible :) That is a good thing to know (I ordered in Portuguese at the restaurant).
***end edit now***

Tomorrow: I return to Spokane with new skills, knowledge, inspiration and hopefully a thing or two to share with my grupo.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

From mestre Barrao: many people quit because it is hard. Life is hard. Life is oppression. Bills, work all of it is oppression and capoeira is the cure for us.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm well on the way to my first batizado in Seattle...only a few more hours to go at this point. I have my reservations, but overall I think this will be good.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fear and capoeira

Show no fear; vem jogar.

Inevitably, all of us will run into something in capoeira that we fear. Accordingly, we'll have to work hard and overcome whatever that fear is. For some it'll seem (or even be) easier, but I believe these moments are some of the most defining moments in training.

My biggest fear is keeping me from some of the basic acrobatics like plantadas and even an . My fear which holds me back is this: somewhere along the line I saw a video of a guy doing capoeira and he fell and broke his neck. Yeah...I know a few people who are paralyzed from neck breaks and I admit that I'm scared of doing that. I've never really been comfortable being upside-down either, and never really did cartwheels and such as a child. I'm learning all of this cold, for the first time, and it is a huge challenge.

I'm learning to overcome some of my fear, little by little. I'm able to get into an assisted handstand now and sometimes even hold it for ten or fifteen seconds. This is very significant to me as I've never been able to do this before, yet here I am and I'm making very visible progress every class.

For me, the only way to get over my fear is to do things over and over again, at my own pace (moving slow and steady to gain confidence in myself) and learn on my own that what I fear shouldn't hold me back. As I go on, I admittedly get very frustrated but I channel that into determination to do my best and learn these difficult things.

I've heard stories of injuries causing fear when re-learning a move or learning other moves, and I'm curious as to how some of you got over those fears. If you're comfortable, please feel free to respond and tell your story.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Food for thought: center yourself and let your emotions go. Never forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


So I made some major progress last night in class with my plantadas.

I was able to do an assisted handstand last night, not once but three times. It is better than I've been able to do yet, so I'm very happy about this.

I also learned a few things to help my game out, which is always a good thing.

Not much else at this time; just preparing for the batizado.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

My identity

I was reading the Capoeira Blog recently and came across a post about a capoeirista's identity. It was very interesting hearing how he got his apelido, as was hearing about how some of my friends got theirs.

Well, I was just given my apelido about a week ago now: Tourinho. It means 'little bull.' Two people worked together on coming up with it (we don't have a profesor or mestre up here) and after watching a video of a roda we had, I find that it is very fitting. The reasoning behind my apelido as given to me: I'm still a beginner, hence the diminutive -inho ending to make it 'little bull' rather than touro 'bull.' Also, I have a tendency to charge in...a lot, not only with cabeçadas (also another source of my apelido), but with some rasteiras and golpes like the benção and queixada (look at my user picture) which are rather linear movements. In retrospect, I also don't like being very high off the ground...seems fitting to me.

I have a feeling that the name will grow with me as I will grow with it. Only the future knows what will develop.

Until next time, muito axé!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Intro time

I'm Tourinho, and I'm preparing for my first batizado which takes place in less than two weeks.

I've been playing capoeira for a couple of months now, and quite frankly it has been challenging. It is a challenge that I'm more than up for, but a challenge nonetheless. I'm still having trouble letting go of some old fears and it is starting to show in my game. Still, capoeira is arguably the best thing that has happened to me; I've made some new friends, found out I can do things I didn't even think were possible, learned to play new instruments and above all else, I'm having a complete blast while doing it all.

I'm not exactly a fan of doing is all pretty much related to a personal hurdle, so I'm not going to go too much into it here, but is definitely a learning experience. Still, it is only a hurdle which I will overcome with enough work.

As of now, I have some good basics which I know will serve me well, and I'm working on improving them. I figure the more I do them and work on them, the better they'll bet and the better solid grounding I'll have to fall back on when need be.

I'm also just starting to link things together on my own. It is really fun to try forming sequences to see how they'd work, then learn from it. The hard part that I've found is then adding them to your game.

I don't have a whole ton else to say right now so I guess that's it for now.

Muito Axé!