The Capoeira Blog

Capoeira is a Conversation
August 2, 2007, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Capoeira Life

Photo by carf (Flickr)

There are many sayings and proverbs in capoeira. Little kernels of wisdom that, once you hear them, tend to stick with you forever and can have a huge impact on your game.

I’d like to share with you one of my favorites, one that I always remember whenever I’m playing capoeira.

Capoeira is a conversation.

That’s it. Simple, right? It may seem simple, but it is an important concept to ponder. Especially for a beginner, or for a capoeirista who is really starting to advance in his game. It is always important to remember that capoeira is a conversation.

What the hell am I talking about?

Well, let’s start with this. What is a conversation? A conversation consists of two people talking to each other. One person makes a comment or asks a question, and the other person responds to the question or comment with one of his own. A good conversation flows smoothly, without interruption or delay. The best conversations are those in which both participants leave satisfied and informed. Always eager to come back for more.

How does this relate to capoeira?

What many beginner capoeiristas (and even those who have played the game for a while, sometimes they forget) don’t realize is that capoeira is so much more than cool moves and fighting. A lot of capoeiristas are much too focused on doing a move perfectly, trying out their brand new floreio, or even worse, trying to show up their partner in the jogo. This is why they have to remember that capoeira is a conversation.

When someone throws a kick at you, you need to respond with a movement of your own that makes the game flow. Think of a meia lua de compasso as the equivalent of someone saying “hi, how are you.” You should respond with a movement that answers their question, perhaps another meia lua or an armada, which is akin to you saying “fine, thanks.” Then you might come around with another movement of your own, asking them “how ’bout you?” and they’d answer you back.

If someone throws a meia lua one way, and you throw an armada against the motion of their kick, and your legs collide, that is not flowing smoothly. That is like saying “screw you man” in the middle of a conversation and halting the flow. Then the game ends up degrading into a fight, and neither of you leave satisfied or enthusiastic.

The same thing applies to floreio. If you have a certain rhythm going in your game, and then you just jump back and start doing cool moves all by yourself, it’s like totally changing the subject in the middle of a sentence. Just like a conversation should flow naturally from one topic to the next, so should the capoeira game. There is always room for floreio, takedowns, attacks, etc., but they need to flow in the context of your game.

Once you can grasp this concept, take note of how it starts to affect your game. I guarantee you will start to learn how to “talk” to your fellow capoeirista in the roda. You will see how much better a jogo flows when you remember that capoeira is a conversation.


3 Comments so far
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Thanks for posting this up, man. I’m trying to get this concept across to a few of my camardinhos, in the jogo they just talk and talk but don’t know what they’re saying! Some of the people I teach/train with have really nice movements, and are picking up the physical aspects great.. But they don’t flow. I should have them read your article… Salve!

Comment by Pixador

I hear you on the “some don’t know what they’re saying” thing, I deal with that a lot with some of the people I teach and train with. Some people actually laugh at me when I talk to them about how capoeira is a conversation (because they think it sounds goofy), but all you can do is keep explaining and showing the results.

Comment by faisca

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