Today’s post is a guest post by Frágil, who is the first to answer my call for guest writers. Frágil is also a budding blogger who writes over at Frágil’s Capoeira Blog, and a frequent commenter at this blog.
When I say I live a very “musically oriented life,” I am not lying. Besides the hours I put playing my piano, I can relate everything to music. Always having the urge to dance, I love almost all types of dance-able music. But, in the February of 2006, I found something that I had no idea was more than just a song and dance, I had found Capoeira the Afro-Brazilian martial art that looks just like a dance. For a couple months I went on thinking that Capoeira was just something cool to do, but after a year I never knew it could mean so much.
Before, I thought Capoeira was just something fun to do, just to be cool, do a kick, a flip, and call it a day. But, when I went to watch a class I immediately saw that this was something more. Capoeira is a dance, a song, a conversation between two capoeiristas, and I thought this would be something fun to get me in shape. So, I went to my first class ready to take on a challenge that I never knew was going to change my life.
I immediately realized from the first class that it was a lot harder than I thought. The first thing the teacher asked was, “Can you do a cartwheel?” I thought it would be simple, I mean, kids do it all the time, so why couldn’t I? Well, I found out that I couldn’t do one to save my life. After repeating the embarrassing cartwheel over and over, we started to do kicks. I was able to do these better, but I still felt foolish because I didn’t know what I was doing. After practicing our kicks and cartwheels, we got into a circle; my teacher explained that this circle was called a roda, and it is where people play Capoeira. I saw two people enter the “roda” and I saw how similar it is to a conversation.
The conversation in the game is dictated by the rhythm of the “berimbau”, a stringed instrument, which sets the mood of the game. The faster the rhythm, the faster you go, and either your moves can be flashy or more aggressive. The slower the rhythm, the slower you play which makes you hold your moves long, and making it so fun to play. Along with the berimbau there is a drum that gives a beat to the whole game, and is accompanied by the spectators who clap along to the rhythm. A song is sung about the times of slavery and the time period in which Capoeira was created in Brazil.
I felt like the more I involved myself in Capoeira, the more I realized that life is just like the berimbau and the drums. Also with the people clapping along with the instruments; I just have to go with what the rhythm is.
One problem I’ve always struggled with is that I am an introvert. In Capoeira, there is something called open roda (which means a game open to anyone that wants to play), where everyone knows everyone else. It’s so easy to get to know new people because you all have Capoeira in common. I remember the first open roda I went to because I was so nervous to play. But someone invited me to play with them, and it helped to break the ice. During the break people came up to me we got to know each other. Soon, I realized that it was that easy to do. Just a simple “Hi” and the conversation flows. Just like the game.
I had learned the moves, the music, and the people. Then, it hit me! This isn’t just a sport, it’s just like life. Life is just one big roda and that I just have to keep playing, Capoeira has been a big help in my life, and I will never stop practicing Capoeira. It has become a part of me.
The atabaque is my heart, life is my berimbau, and everyone is clapping to the rhythm.
Thanks to Frágil for giving us some insight into how much capoeira has affected his own life. Remember, if you want to share a personal story about capoeira, or if you have any other topic you want to write about, please feel free to contact me and you could be featured here on The Capoeira Blog.
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