Filed under: Capoeira Life
In The Little Capoeira Book, Nestor Capoeira explains that there are three levels of the capoeira game. As he says,
[T]hese three levels occur simultaneously. However, in any given individual, due to his or her personality, knowledge of the game and level of maturity, one of the three aspects will manifest itself more strongly than the others.
The First Level – The first of these three levels involves the physical aspect of capoeira. The practice and mastery of movement and form. This is when highly trained warrior/dancers put on an impressive display of skill and coordination. Nestor Capoeira says, “At this level, it is important to be physically fit, to have efficient and well-placed kicks, to be quick and have good reflexes.”
This level of the game is very important, and it is the most visible and immediate, but you should not focus solely on the physicality of capoeira and neglect everything else. Capoeira is so much more than winning, losing, and showing off.
The Second Level – This is when you start to become aware of capoeira in its entirety. You move past the technical and physical, and pay closer attention to the philosophy and history, the call of the berimbau and traditional songs, and the intricacies of malicia.
Here, the capoeirista feels at home in the roda. He feels the rhythm of the berimbau and understands that it is speaking to him. He realizes that capoeira is more than flashy kicks and tough takedowns. He begins to experiment with malicia, he starts to become the sneaky malandro. He learns about the traditions, the culture, and the mestres of old. This is when he starts to look like an expert in the eyes of onlookers, but he realizes that he is merely a beginner.
The Third Level – Nestor Capoeira writes that the third level is achieved when you’ve grown, matured, aged, and lived in capoeira. Here there is no “you and capoeira.” Here, you live capoeira. You are capoeira.
The third level was there since you stepped into your first roda, but you could never fully understand it until you matured in capoeira. Nestor Capoeira calls it understanding “the mystery and the deceitfulness of the game of life.” The third and final level is a mastery of capoeira.
Most of us, I would assume, float around the first and second levels. Perhaps there’s a mestre out there somewhere who reads this blog, but I kind of doubt it.
Which level are you?
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