This week I am going to write a little bit about Capoeira, because I have recently started taking a Capoeira class, which I am finding for me personally to be nicely complementary to my martial art studies. I will be assisted in this endeavor by the book “Capoeira” by George Ancona.

Image via ia700802.us.archive.org

Capoeira- it’s like a dancing fight, or a fighting dance. “Legends tell us that capoeira was created by African slaves who were brought to Brazil starting in the sixteenth century.” The language used in the art is Portuguese, the language of Brazil.

The fighting moves themselves look like dancing moves, like cartwheels and handstands. From what I have heard this comes from the days when African slaves weren’t allowed to learn to fight, so they would make it seem like they were just dancing. At one point the teacher of my class told me that a move was done with one hand down by the side, instead of up in front as a block- this may stem from the intention of the art to remain unthreatening in appearance.

My Capoeira teacher is good at helping his students integrate this training with our own practice- another student has a background in grappling. Some of the kicks are similar to our kicks in Taekwondo combined with other movements like cartwheels.

So far I am working on my cartwheels (no I never learned to properly cartwheel) and handstands (also not quite there yet). We also do exercises that seem to be designed to make my legs stop working in the short term and then hurt for the next three days, like frog- hopping across the floor.

According to my teacher the essence of Capoeira is to escape the force of an attack and counter at the same time. He is working with me to find combinations that are suitable specifically to me. I am glad to be able to take a weekly class that will help me stay in shape and work on some of the aspects of martial arts that I need to work on.

I am also glad to have my children with me this week. This means they will be able to come with me to my Taekwondo class Tuesday. I have been impressed by their techniques when I have a chance to work with them. Rio wants to learn to use the double sided light saber.

Rio picked this one. Image via members.chello.nl
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