Challenge: In Six Words or Fewer, What Does Capoeira Mean to You?

30 03 2008

What does capoeira, at its very stripped down essence, mean to you?

I don’t know about you, but whenever someone asks me to tell them about capoeira or why I like it, I always feel like apologizing for hijacking the next 10-15 minutes of the conversation.  We all know how easy it is to gush and elaborate and describe and go on till the end of the world about how much capoeira means to you, and what capoeira means to you.  It’s not so easy to distill all of those thoughts and sentiments and assertions down to their very essence, the very core of what capoeira means to you.

So, continuing in the vein of letting great literary masters meddle in the capoeira world, I give you: Hemingway.

He was the guy who wrote a story in six words, and called it his best work:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Similarly, Mestres Bimba and Pastinha were quite concise in describing what capoeira meant to each of them:

“Capoeira is treachery.” (-Mestre Bimba)

“Capoeira is whatever the mouth eats.” (-Mestre Pastinha)

So now, it’s your turn!  I am very curious to see what kind of stuff you guys will come up with.  Will you be the next Hemingway of capoeira?

Answer in the Comments below (I will post mine down there as soon as I finish it!):
In six words or fewer, what does capoeira mean to you?

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49 responses

30 03 2008
Jon

The Human Spirits’ Expression of Freedom

31 03 2008
Ericka

Being only the sum of your efforts.

31 03 2008
Joaninha

Transformation and all that is art.

31 03 2008
xixarro

Capoeira is what it is, not

or in Hemingway’s* style:
For sale: my abada (April Foolsday)

* Did I use it correct?

2 12 2014
starfish

That’s an awesome one 😀

31 03 2008
Joaninha

Thanks for your entries, guys 😀 If we get enough, I might start thinking about doing something cool with them, like a collage or something…

Xixarro: Love it!! Both of them!

31 03 2008
Faisca

I’m gonna have to take a bit of time to think about this one. I have a few that automatically come to mind, but I want to give it some thought.

Thanks for giving me the heads up on facebook, Joaninha.

Do you know much it sucks having no internet access? At least I can come on for a few minutes today (I’m in a training course slacking off).

31 03 2008
cenoura

honestly, mine might be
“not reduced into six words ever”

or
“beautiful games but deadly serious fun”

31 03 2008
Joaninha

No problem Faisca, and you’re welcome! Haha yes I know exactly how much it sucks…thank goodness for slack training courses, eh? 😛

Haha Cenoura, I agree! I’m a bit surprised you’re the first one to bring up that point actually, but I thought it’d be a fun/interesting mental exercise nevertheless. 🙂 On the other hand, if you look at some of the phrases people have written, they seem anything but reductive!

1 04 2008
Morna Gbc

Capoeira liberates my body,mind and soul.

1 04 2008
shygirl926

Capoeira is life.

1 04 2008
sebastian

…freedom from the everyday oppresions…..

1 04 2008
Joaninha

Hi Morna, Shygirl, and Sebastian, thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts here!

So far it seems like most people see capoeira as a form of freedom, which definitely isn’t hard to understand. It never ceases to amaze me though, just how much one sport can be and mean to so many people!

1 04 2008
Algodao

Thanks Joaninha, at last a task that meets my level of ability in creative writing. Six words and I still struggle!!! With 33 years on this planet the thing that drew me to Capoeira was the people that are apart of it. I cant think of another enviroment I’ve been in where Multicultralism lives and survives. And yes it has its exceptions, but they are few and far between. A true slice of all types…. for me.

Capoeira…..free of colour, race or class.

1 04 2008
Philipino

Algodao……don’t forget free of age.

Cuz I swear the people I train with, I can’t tell what age they are. So, I just think everybody is the same age.

1 04 2008
Joaninha

Aw that’s really nice Algodao…I’m wondering, have you read one of my Blue Snake posts, the one about ACSF (Abada Capoeira San Francisco)? Because I talk about multiculturalism in capoeira in there, and I think you would like it! link

Haha Philipino, that’s so true…everyone looks (and sometimes acts) the same age in capoeira 😄

2 04 2008
soneca

human dialogue in its purest form

2 04 2008
cenoura

haha, Joaninha, but what age does everyone act? some days, I swear it’s about five years old(and yes, I include myself in that of course)

2 04 2008
Joaninha

Ooh, I like that one too Soneca 🙂

Lol Cenoura, maybe instead I should’ve said everyone takes turns acting each other’s ages!

2 04 2008
Jasmim

Capoeira is mindfull child’s play.

2 04 2008
Leão

Capoeira is:
art, freedom,
music, expression.

For sale: abadas brancas (worn threadbare)

Capoeira is balanced recovery and response.

Capoeira is movement; movement is life.

2 04 2008
Joaninha

Cool contrast there, Jasmim 🙂 Thank you!

Hey Leão, wow, someone’s productive! Thanks for them, they’re all great. 😀 I especially like your last one, and your first one is exactly what I was trying to capture in mine!

3 04 2008
Tigresa

Capoeira: How you learn to navigate life.

I wanted to say, “Another reason to get out of bed in the morning.” But that is not quite 6 words. 🙂

Peace.

3 04 2008
Joaninha

Haha that’s great Tigresa! Also helps you to get into bed, if you’re ever worried about insomnia after an intense class of training 😛

3 04 2008
faisca

Capoeira is “creative individualism and playful expression.”

To me, those are definitely the most important parts of capoeira.

I love all of the other entries too, especially Jasmim’s about “mindful child’s play.” We always have to remember to be playful in capoeira, otherwise we lose sense of the game and we end up merely “fighting.”

4 04 2008
Biruta

chicka doong doong; chicka doong doong

a place to begin again
um lugar a começar outra vez

a roda e a rua

4 04 2008
Joaninha

That’s a great one Faisca, and Biruta I LOVE the berimbau one!! Brilliant!!

8 04 2008
Pedrita

Capoeira is seeing and defending truth

i put this i guess cuz im always astonished out how people’s personalities flourish out of their bodies into the roda.. you can see who people really are. Even if they try to disguise their personality.. it doesn’t work.. In addition, Capoeira fought for the truth of freedom.

okay- i guess it doesn’t go too much deeper than that… i was never a literary major.. im into science, but i tried 🙂

9 04 2008
Joaninha

That’s an awesome one Peditra, I really like it! It’s different from a lot of the other ones, but you can work it in a lot of different ways, and it’s still just as true/accurate, and memorable =)

9 04 2008
Leão

And according to some mathematical law that I can’t remember… quoting myself, “capoeira is movement; movement is life.” This makes, “life is capoeira” and “capoeira is life.” Because it’s not exactly what you do in life that matters, but how you recover from what happens.

10 04 2008
Joaninha

Lol! I learned that too, only in a philosophy-ish class. 😄 It’s called a syllogism, right?

a = b
b = c
therefore: a = c

« /nerdiness » 😛

12 04 2008
Leão

I was only thinking of the Transitive Property with mathematics…

13 04 2008
Joaninha

Haha…I think they’re actually the same thing… ^^”

18 04 2008
Branca

Constant challenges that grow your spirit : )

19 04 2008
Joaninha

Nice, Branca 🙂

27 04 2008
Leão

As I sometimes to get discuss what I do with my spare time with my students (of the day), my best summarization is: “Fight like a dance, dance like a fight.” But that’s eight words, not six.

What I find humourous is when they ask me if I could win against a ninja or a pirate.

29 04 2008
Arroz

Capoeira = O

30 04 2008
Joaninha

Lol…what about “dance like fighting, fight like dancing”?

Hahah! How old are the students you teach, Leão?

My dad once asked me if I could challenge my group’s mestre and if I took him down would I be able to be automically promoted to mestra. 😄

30 04 2008
Joaninha

Hey Arroz, I really like that one, too!

You guys are creative 😀

12 05 2008
Caneta

Learning art with friends and family. This would be my story. While Capoeira in of itself is enough for me to be enamored of it and to thoroughly enjoy it, the fact that my husband and our children all do it together makes it the icing on the cake.

12 05 2008
Caneta

ooh, how bout a Capo’ Haiku?

traveling fam’ly
two hours away from home
to work and play hard

12 05 2008
Joaninha

Wow Caneta…you sure have an active family! That’s awesome. Haha, a capoeira haiku, love it! I tried posting a “capoeira haiku in 3 minutes” once while travelling (3 minutes was how much time I had left on my computer at the internet cafe), but then deleted it right after. 😄

girl in a circle
surrounded by energy
nothing but motion

13 05 2008
Leão

The students I’ll teach are secondary school… So for you Canadians, it’d be Grade 9 through Grade 12. Though sometimes I’ll teach middle school, so I’ll teach students as young as 12 to as old as 18 (and if I’m at a certain school, as old as 25).

14 05 2008
Joaninha

Cool, it must be interesting working with such a variety of ages…oh yeah, and what do you tell them? “I can win against a ninja AND a pirate!” 😛

14 10 2008
Robin

A physical parallel to the Blues.

17 10 2008
cobrador

an afro-brazilian fight-dance. (buuaachhh)

(sorry for being discusting)

actually i have a better one

get to know yourself

18 10 2008
Joaninha

Thanks for adding to this, guys!

Robin, yours is awesome.

Hahaha Cobrador…someone had to say it! 😄

9 09 2009
Tani

“‘Body exerting, mind at peace”

“Movement of body; stillness of thought”

“Cocktail of energy, playfulness and desire”

“Physical freedom, mental paradise”

I dunno, I guess I’m trying to grasp the feeling I get when playing capoeira…
My body is working hard, and I’m so completely focused on capoeira that all my troubles melt away and my mind is at peace.

3 09 2011
Nzinga

Who’s this artist?

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