The reason up until now that I haven’t talked about my own Capoeira classes is because I have not started them yet, and although I have experience teaching, where I currently live, in New Jersey, I haven’t started a school. UNTIL NOW THAT IS! Today was the first step because I secured a location and am now in the process of getting ready for the grand opening. Early January will be the first class and everything needs to be ready by then. That means equipment, website and onboarding, lessons, and of course the students. Marketing to new students has been something I have been deeply looking into. The idea is to make sure I can get tons of interest from people who have zero experience with Capoeira. That is the topic of this post.

I’ll be posting information about classes mostly on my instagram @dende_arts as well as through this blog.

WHY MARKET CAPOEIRA

So here’s the question, why market Capoeira? This may seem like a nonsense question to some, and not for the reason you would think.

Over the years I’ve learned that many teachers don’t understand how to market Capoeira or why it’s necessary in the first place. A conversation that perfectly encapsulates the situation, is one that I had with a young Capoerista from Brazil. I asked him how he expected people to find out about his classes or where they’re held. He responded by saying, “easy, they can ask me”. I probed, “what if they don’t know you or know one of your friends? What if they don’t know what Capoeira is?”. “Ah, I see”, he responded. This is a common case of not being able to see the forest because you’re IN IT. You can’t see the bigger picture because you’re in so deep you don’t realize what’s around you.

So to answer the question, Why market Capoeira? Well, if we’re talking about a place like the United States, where if you ask someone if they know what Capoeira is, they look at you with blank stares, then that’s a good reason to market Capoeira. If nobody knows what Capoeira is, why would they want to do it? I think in Brazil, many more people know that Capoeira is a thing, even if they have positive or negative feelings about it, at least they know it’s out there. You can’t say that in many parts of the world, so I think it’s important when thinking about getting new students, to make people aware that Capoeira exists.

HOW TO MARKET CAPOEIRA

The second thing to think about is HOW to market Capoeira.  I think what a lot of teachers get wrong about this is that although Capoeira is all that and a bag of potato chips, nobody is going to know that if they haven’t done it before. Many people think that others should just “get it”, but I think this responsibility really falls on the teachers to express why someone should even do Capoeira.

Capoeira like any other product or thing has value. And if you want people to partake in that thing, it would make sense to communicate what that value is. Some juicy marketing information I have found out over the years of taking surveys of students is that the vast majority of them are interested in doing Capoeira because they want to get into shape. The fitness industry is a 23.6 Billion dollar industry in the US and 83.5 Billion dollar industry around the globe. People want to get into shape and I honestly don’t’ think they care how they do it. One owner of a fitness center in Hoboken, NJ told me that their clients mostly jump around from one deal (as in try my fitness thing for a month for a really reduced price) to the other and it doesn’t matter if it’s yoga, FIT, belly burner 5, or whatever lame fitness trend is out there that day. I think the main takeaway from this is that Capoeira has to understand that their clients don’t care so much about Capoeira as much as they care about accomplishing their own fitness or health related goals. A good example for you Capoeira buffs is Mestre Suassuna. The founder of Cordão de Ouro started Capoeira because his doctor told him to strengthen his legs, not because he wanted to do Capoeira. In fact he didn’t even like Capoeira at first!

CAPOEIRA SELLING OUT?

People might take this as selling out, but I think there is a way to take people who want to “get fit” or “lose weight”, and boost their interests to someone like Capoeira. The example I’ll give is The Beatles. They didn’t start out making Sgt. Petters Lonely Heart’s Club, they started with some basic English pop album, “Please Please Me”. The question is, would The Beatles be as popular if they started out with Sgt. Pepper? My guess is no, that album is really out there. But by the time it came out, the Beatles had such a reputation that it didn’t matter what they made, they already had a loyal following. I don’t think this was intentional, but they took their audience from something they understood, and slowly took them on a ride to somewhere they were unfamiliar with. Capoeira can work a similar way, taking people from their minds out just wanting to lose weight, to learning incredible skills, like hand balancing, acrobatics, and how to move their body.

Capoeira is amazing, but people will only see how amazing it is if you present it to them and explain why that is. I hope that helps some struggling teachers out there. I don’t think I have all the answers, but I think these should be some of the questions we should be asking ourselves.

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