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How Capoeira Can Take You Around The World

how-capoeira-can-take-you-around-the-world

Capoeira is a game, it is a dance, it is a fight, it is of war and it is of peace, it is of culture, of music, it is a portion of things. -Reinaldo Ramos Suasunna

When it comes to traveling and living an international lifestyle, you can find that there are many ways to achieve this goal.

Finding work abroad and having remote side hustles enabled me to take the leap to across the ocean to Taiwan, but there’s another thing that allowed me to get an immersive cultural experience.

It all started when I joined a capoeira academy last summer.

Wait…What Is Capoeira?

Capoeira is a martial art discipline that combines elements of fighting, dancing, music, and acrobatics. Majority of the movements in this art consist of various kicks and sweeps.

A roda, or capoeira game, is when two people dual each other in a circle surrounded by people clapping and singing while the band leads the music and plays instruments.

Capoeira was started by the African slaves in Brazil as a way to retaliate and defend themselves against their slave masters.

The music and dance elements were incorporated into the art so practitioners could safely practice during the time period when capoeira was banned by the government.

How Did It Go International?

Mestres (Portuguese for Masters) of the art left Brazil and opened their own capoeira schools around the world so they could teach non-Brazilians about the art and culture.

Advance students who learned under their guidance of their Brazilian Mestres will then be able to teach classes in the academy and/or lead a new branch in a different location.

Today, you can growing list of capoeira groups who each have dozens of locations all over the world.

Capoeira And Culture

Capoeira is a great form of exercise, but there is also a large cultural aspect that comes with learning the art.

Since it’s a Brazilian art, all of the Portuguese terms are used for the various movements are such as the armada, queixada, benção, and mortelo kicks. There is also the music and singing component.

All of the songs are sung in Portuguese, that talk about a variety of topics such as playing capoeira, stories about famous Mestres, the days of slavery and more.

Understanding Brazilian Portuguese helps one develop a deeper cultural context and connection to the songs and the significance of the names of the capoeira movements.

Luckily for me, having a background in Spanish made this fellow romance language easy to pick up. By participating in the art, you are automatically exposed to the Brazilian culture.

For non-Brazilians, getting the chance to visit Brazil and play capoeira in its birthplace is also a huge cultural and learning experience as well.

Capoeira And Travel

how-capoeira-can-take-you-around-the-world

Since capoeira can be found worldwide, capoeiristas, both students and teachers, have opportunities to travel around the globe. For example, earlier this year, there was a major international competition held in Azerbaijan.

That country typically isn’t on people’s travel bucket lists, but because of capoeira, they had the opportunity to visit a new place and get a taste of the Azerbaijani capoeira scene and culture.

Every year, capoeira schools host Batizados (a belt promotion ceremony), and various workshops taught by Mestres and other high-leveled capoeiristas.

These events welcome capoeiristas of other nations and groups to participate). This allows one to meet other people from other backgrounds who share a common interest.

Within one year of capoeira in Taiwan, I’ve met people from over 15 countries and have traveled around East Asia for various events and celebrations.

Capoeira And Community

Having and maintaining your network in capoeira means that there will always be an open door for you when you’re in town.

When a friend from another country knows of a capoeira event happening in their town, that means you’ll get an invite. Many people in the capoeira community are very hospitable, too.

For big events, some people are willing to open their homes for out of town visitors. This was the case when I attended an event in Hong Kong, where a friend and I stayed with a fellow capoeirista for the weekend.

Capoeira Is For EVERYBODY

how-capoeira-can-take-you-around-the-world

You don’t need to be Brazilian, ripped, flexible like a rubber band, or be able to flip like an Olympic gymnast to do capoeira.

The art is for everyone who is willing to learn and depending on how much work you put in mastering the art, it can take you all over the world while engaging in an activity that can be good for your health.

My Capoeira Journey

Sports have been a huge part of my life throughout my childhood and early adulthood.

I entered capoeira with little expectations other than getting a good workout, having a team atmosphere,  and learning something new, and I left with a sense of being part of a community and culture.

Receiving my first cord and learning from my teacher and other instructors have come with many learned lessons and a positive outlook for the future.

I found a new way to test my body’s limits and practice with fellow lovers of the art from many walks of life around the world.

Even though I’m still at the infant stage of the art, I am looking forward to the rest of my capoeira journey.

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