Capoeira is liberating, fun, extremely challenging, and has a social component that few other activities have. Many people see Capoeira for the first time on Bob’s burgers, Only the Strong, or the Protector. After that, they probably thought to themselves, “how cool it would be to do Capoeira!”. If you’re on the fence about trying Capoeira then this blog post is for you. Below are eleven of the best reasons why you should start practicing this awesome afro-brazilian art.
When you play an amazing game with someone, a lot of times they’ll cover over to thank you for the game. Afterwards, (hopefully you recorded the game) you can nerd out about each other’s games and see what you can improve on. Capoeiristas do this because it’s fun! Capoeira is like a puzzle played at 100mph with kicks just barely pass by your head. The thumping music and people clamoring to see what’s happening is what makes Capoeira so enjoyable.
Chess is a “deep” game. You can play for thousands of years and you’ll find new positions and opportunities all the time. In Capoeira, no two games are the same, even when two people play each other over and over again. Because Capoeira is improvised, there are no preset reactions and the way you move depends on what you’re feeling in the moment. If someone kicks you, you have the option to take them down, kick back, do a cartwheel, or anything else that pops into your head (and doesn’t get you kicked).
The game of Capoeira can transform into anything – a beautiful dance or a violent fight. There is a huge spectrum between those two sides and learning to explore the chasm between them is part of learning the art of Capoeira. There is no “end” to learning, which is part of the reason the art is so enjoyable. You’re always on the journey to learning. It never stops and you’ll always find something new to challenge you.
In the early and mid 1900’s there were many bouts between Capoeiristas and other martial artists. Mestre Bimba was a famous fighter who created his own system of Capoeira known today as Capoeira Regional. Regional focused on creating an effective form of self defense and found success in organized bouts. Today, the emphasis on self defense is less than what it was 100 years ago. But the foundation of a martial art is there and Capoeira has many fight applications used by many top level MMA fighters.
Capoeira burns tons of calories, and as long as you’re diet is decent, you’ll begin to see changes in your body. Capoeira works your cardiovascular system, your anaerobic system, and your explosive energy system. The high kicks, low dodges, and ground movements will challenge your body in ways you have not done before. Some people thing that because they danced or have taekwondo in the past, they will do well. The truth is that Capoeira is challenging for everyone, regardless of your background. If your weak, inflexible, or uncoordinated, Capoeira will challenge those areas and make you stronger in them.
This is the reason I started Capoeira at the age of 17. I wanted so bad to do cool moves I saw in Tekken by Eddy Gordo. I knew that if I came to class and put in a good effort that I’d be able to do some impressive stuff. The first time I saw Capoeira in real life, I was blown away by the ventilador game. This is a game where two capoeiristas kick in rapid succession so that it resembles a fan. After that, I searched everything I could about Capoeira on youtube. I saw some things on youtube that I could have sworn came out of a video game. It was totally outside of what I understood to be possible and inspired me to give it a try.
Capoeira is a major factor in keeping my stress levels down. At first I wasn’t sure why it improved my mood so drastically, but after a minute, I figured it out. Capoeira incorporates three things that make a huge difference in our moods. The first and the most obvious is exercise. When we break a sweat, our bodies naturally produce serotonin, a chemical that is essential to our happiness. The second is the music, which has been clinically shown to reduce stress in people. Capoeira is never practiced without music, and often includes a live band, which ads to the experience. The last reason is the community. Friends help keep us sane and when we’re surrounded by good people, it makes us happy. Capoeira has an incredible social scene, that is inclusive, positive, and guaranteed to melt away any stress your holding on to.
I’ve had many friends who did Capoeira because they wanted to get into shape. Most of them stayed however because of the community. Whatever motivates you to practice Capoeira, you’ll likely find similarly minded people to connect with in class. One of the coolest thing about Capoeira is that it has a way of bringing people together. Many Capoeira groups will organize days in the park, movie nights, BBQs to get everyone together. Capoeira is at worse a close group of friends, and at best a family that looks after each other and hangs out together whenever they can.
Motivation is one of the most difficult things to maintain when working out. Capoeiristas are motivated by their goal of playing a better Capoeira game. Inspiration can come from classmates, youtube, or someone you saw at an event that can do something you find amazing. If you want to incorporate that move you saw in your game, you’ll have no choice but to practice, practice, and practice. In Capoeira, there is neve a shortage of inspiration. Every time you go to an event or play someone in the roda, it’s an opportunity to try out that move you’ve been training. If it works, great, but if not, then you might need to go back to the drawing board. Some people want to get fit for the aesthetics, and even though there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s much easier to stay motivated when you have a clear goal of what you want to be able to do. For a Capoeirista, Capoeira is the goal and fitness is the byproduct.
I’ve seen children of all ages, elderly people, and people with major disabilities do Capoeira. There is literally no excuse to try it out. Don’t fall into the trap of people who start to make excuses for themselves. People make up all kinds of excuses, but the truth is that you’ll only be limiting yourself and what you’re capable of.
Capoeira exists in almost every country around the world. If you go to Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Luanda, or Mexico DF, I guarantee you will find a Capoeira group to train and connect with. I’ve been very fortunate to travel, but even more fortunate to travel and do Capoeira in the countries I’ve visited. Every country I’ve gone to, I’ve made connections with dozens of people that I can reach out to and hopefully visit again the next time I’m in their country. Making friends is a great reason for trying something new, and Capoeira is a great way to make new friends around the globe.
When Capoeira was made illegal, Capoeiristas would mask their what they were doing with music and songs. The music could easily be changed to samba if they saw police coming their way. Music saved many capoeiristas from being dragged off to the police station.
Most people think rhythm is something they have or don’t have. That’s not true. Rhythm is a muscle just like a bicep, and the more you train it, the stronger it gets. There are plenty of ballroom dancers who started out with no ability to dance, but after some effort, they can move as well as anyone else. Capoeira is the same way. It is a martial art, but it contains many elements of dance and music; and the more you practice it, the more natural moving to the rhythm of the music will feel.
Those are my eleven reasons why you should go to www.google.com, type “Capoeira near me”, and schedule your first class. If you’re near any major city, there is undoubtedly a class near you.
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