Lessons from Brazil: Whetting Attitude on the Stone of Capoeira

7 12 2009

[I went to Brazil for the first time this past August, with my capoeira group. This is something I wrote last night and seeing as the thoughts in it have been seminal to my personal development as a capoeirista, thought I’d share it with all of you…or whomever still visits! Thank you all as well for the “birthday” wishes on Facebook—that date is actually not my birthday but the birthday of this blog, so the timing of this post works out kind of nicely, as well. Apologies for disappearing off the face of the planet, and I hope you are all doing awesome, in capoeira and otherwise! -Joaninha]

[Note: I think it will become clear that this post is very much rooted in the specific context and values of my capoeira group, our academy culture, collective philosophy, etc. I only mention this in case some parts seem a bit cold or harsh, and realize that not all of what I wrote may click with everyone. Also please note that despite any of that, I’m still the same friendly and approachable (ex?)blogger as ever!]


Before I went to Brazil, so many capoeiristas talked it up as if it were some miracle procedure–it’ll change you, you’ll be a different person, you’ll never be the same, etc. Well, after returning back to normal classes at home, I can’t say they were completely wrong.

If I had to say I gained anything by going to Brazil, it would be: an edge. Not in the sense of a competitive edge (though in light of how perception and presence works in capoeira, possibly, but that’s a whole other post in itself), but personality-wise. In the sense of a hard, if not necessarily sharp, edge.

But the more time passes, the more I’ve felt “the Brazil effect” wearing off. So I’m writing this as a reminder to myself of what I learned and to capture some of that post-Brazil essence back, before I blithely slip into post-post-Brazil (which would equal pre-Brazil) mode.

Basically, I learned–and learned to live–four major lessons:

1. Fight, fight, fight.

I didn’t get into any actual fights while inside the roda, but on one level, it’s practically all I did while out of it. I learned to fight for my place in the roda, fight to see what was going on, fight to be seen, fight not be blocked by people just because I was below their eye-levels, fight not to be effortlessly shoved out of the way by arrogant higher-belts, fight to play, fight to even train, fight to prove that lower-belt/female/small/asian/whatever doesn’t equal sucky training partner or a lightweight capoeirista.

I think the best class of my life was during one of the batizado workshop days. Our mestre’s wife started a dance class with all the girls during lunch, and shortly after we’d started…the mestre started a capoeira class with the rest of the students–i.e. all the guys. This was the second time in as many days a class was “accidentally” all guys, and there I was in a freakin’ ad hoc colheita audition thinking I don’t even dance in the classes back home and was this what I came to Brazil for? So I mentally apologized to all the actual dancers for thinking “f this” and ran across to join the capoeira class.

And I swear I had never felt in more top form than in that class where I was the only girl in a class of at least 30-40 guys and from which I was initially excluded (however “inadvertently”). I got every sequence right away, my macacos were perfect, and I made sure every vingativa went in hard (as someone found out the hard way…sorry again dude, you were the absolute last person in the class I would’ve wished that on!). The mestre even walked by me once, made a correction to my vingativa, and…nothing else. Validation!

That’s when I realized that alongside all the unspoken rules in capoeira, each of us also has an unspoken amount of agency. Though it didn’t seem like it due to environmental factors, attitudes, assumptions, event structure, etc., theoretically any other (non-performance) girls could’ve also left dance for capoeira. Maybe a rule is unspoken because it’s actually non-existent, but the onus is on us to use our personal agency to discover that. They just make itreally hard to figure out, so you have to fight to realize and to take advantage of the fact.

2. It IS all about me.

In my implementation of lesson #1, it’s possible that there was maybe this one roda where in my eagerness to buy in and play I maybe possibly slightly accidentally not-proud-of-ly more-than-bumped into one of our profesors umm hypothetically 3 times in a row. Needless to say, he wasn’t pleased about it. So afterwards when I went to apologize properly he lectured me about how there’s a time to play but how I also have to be aware of other people in the roda and “it’s not all about you”.

But here’s the thing. I completely get what the profesor meant, and I agree with everything he said, in principle. The thing is, my natural setting is to be aware of all others first. I spent years going from letting anyone who showed inclination buy in before me when I wanted to, to just letting people I knew, to just friends/teachers, to only holding back when to still buy in would be blatant, shameless game-“stealing” (and maybe even then, since I suspect there’s no such thing as it’d imply the game “belonged” to the other person when clearly they were just too slow). And the only way I’ve been able to do that, to “de-Canadianize” as my teacher would say, IS to force myself into an “it’s all about me” mentality.

The rodas in Brazil were especially helpful in bringing this out, when I was so roda-starved to the point that I’d have broken games between advanced students without a second thought because I JUST DIDN’T CARE. And that’s the lesson I brought back: to play as much as I’m told I’m supposed to, I have to want it beyond caring, about consequences or anyone else or what they might think. And if that seems arrogant…that’s actually a bonus, because I’ve also come to believe that arrogant-seeming behaviour is rewarded more often than not, and WAY more often than the alternative, in capoeira (at least where my group is concerned).

3. Don’t be nice.

Also known as: if you have a choice, assume you’re going it alone, since you’ll likely end up doing so anyway and this way you’ll actually be prepared. Strangely enough it was North Americans who taught me this one, not Brazilians. This doesn’t actually have that much to do directly with capoeira in itself, and doesn’t apply so much now that we’re not traveling anymore, but as it was also a MAJOR Brazil lesson, thought I should mention it for the record. With a more community-oriented friend’s amendment, the final decree reads, “Be nice to others where you can, but don’t expect others to be nice to/for you.” Not unless you’re with close friends. ESPECIALLY where anything logistics-related is concerned.

If you really wanted, I suppose this applies to capoeira in terms of buying in. Letting other people go in front of you is being nice. Letting other people go in front also means not playing. So being nice = not playing. Don’t be nice = eu jogo capoeira!

4. Getting into trouble is REALLY, ACTUALLY, LITERALLY okay.

This one kind of combines all of the above: taking agency for your own access to capoeira & the roda, fighting to challenge unspoken rules, not caring about what others may think, and not projecting bonds of loyalty or courtesy where there is none. This one actually applies when all of the above goes wrong and instead of getting a huge boost of confidence that your audaciousness paid off, you end up getting reprimanded by a teacher or mestre–like yours truly.

So, there was the profesor thing. Then during a practice roda, also during the all-guys-plus-me class (Mestre & Sons Plus One?…sorry, couldn’t resist xD), I guess I bought in too “early” and the mestre stopped me and said to let the higher belts play first. Both times…that was all there was to me “getting in trouble”.

I didn’t lose my belt. I didn’t get kicked out of the group. I didn’t get hurt, or get detention or expelled from school or a failing grade. I didn’t get fired or arrested or fined.

Looking at that list, I wonder if that’s why Canadians (or whoever) are so scared of getting in trouble, in class? Since in the society we’ve been raised and conditioned in, “getting in trouble” has always meant material consequences: a note to take home, freedom restricted, money to pay, repeating a course–some sort of tangible loss. Not to mention the stigma attached to “getting in trouble” itself. (Cue third-grade class: “OOOHHHHHHH.”)

But in this case, there is no real “loss”. (In fact there’s gain, because as mentioned earlier, it pays in capoeira to show too much initiative rather than too little. Case in point: “You got in trouble already? Good!” -one of our teachers) But really, it’s all psychological. Getting yelled at may hurt your pride or be embarrassing for a bit, but in the larger scheme of things–nothing more. It’s like practicing floreios on cement your whole life and then entering a room with a mat. Why would you hold back as if the floor is still cement? Falling no longer means broken bones.

[DISCLAIMER: This refers to being scared of getting into trouble for stepping up or any keenness-related mistakes. Obviously if someone actually has lost a belt or been expelled from a group, what I wrote doesn’t apply and those cases are probably a completely different story.]

Anyway, this last lesson is what gives me confidence to follow through on all the others. It’s the knowledge that even if I do overstep some actual rule, for instance, it’s OKAY. Gratuitously quoting now, “…bought in to play. I got in trouble, I got yelled at, but so what? The point is, I got to play.

And when it comes to capoeira, isn’t that the whole point?

Feminism and Other “-isms” in Capoeira: Explanations, Not Excuses

9 11 2008

Believing in an ism may not mean it works for EVERYTHING...

Last year, I randomly came across a blog that said something along the lines of, “Feminism is a crutch that self-indulgent people use as an excuse to keep themselves and other women in a state of perpetual, self-exonerating victimhood.”

(I tried to find an exact quote that summed up the argument, but had to stop after an unsuccessful and depressing hour and a half of trawling through antifeminism blogs and articles.)

Basically, the statement says that feminism is just an excuse for people who haven’t achieved more to go, “It’s not that I’m lazy; the system is working against me!”

While I firmly disagree with the overly reductive and pretty offensive idea that that’s all feminism is (the system and society DOES in one way or another work against practically anybody who isn’t all of white, heterosexual, and male), I have to say that I can see how becoming invested in an “ism” can cause somebody to inadvertently end up using it the way antifeminists mean it. Interestingly enough, I came to this conclusion through capoeira—more specifically, through a maturing of my ideas in last-last week’s post about floreios, strength, and image in capoeira.

When Explanations Go Wild

First off, let me make one thing clear: ISMS (feminism, sexism, racism, homophobia, agism, etc.) are meant to be explanations, not excuses.  If a woman who has earned and deserves a promotion does not get it because of sexism, that is an explanation, rightly used to point out social injustices in the world and how they work, in hopes of fixing the system. If, however, the woman has not earned nor deserves a promotion but cites sexism as the reason for not getting promoted, then she is using sexism as an excuse, in order to exonerate herself from the fact she didn’t work hard enough or needs to work harder in the future.

What I think is that while everybody starts off with -isms as explanations, the more they become immersed in the world of their particular -ism and the more they learn about it and see just how prevalent it is, eventually, there may emerge a potential danger of unconsciously using that -ism as a personal excuse in addition to a legitimate explanation for “failure” or lack of achievement.

As I mentioned, this thought came to me while further thinking through my views on the “floreio effect”. (If you have not yet read the post I wrote on that, it might be a good idea to do so before continuing, so you don’t get lost.  Click here to read it. Don’t worry; we’ll still be here when you return!)

One Thing Needful

In the floreios post, I pinpointed two things that I believe contribute to a capoeira training system that allows certain capoeira students to derive additional benefits from their capoeira training, as compared to less athletically-gifted capoeira students.  These were (1) having or looking as if you have much physical strength and (2) an academy-wide strength-oriented, floreio-centric attitude regarding capoeira training that I termed “weight-class mentality”.

In truth, there’s a third major factor involved, which I left out because I didn’t think of it until after having formed the full theory as I presented it, and because I was saving it for today’s post.  The third factor is the mentality of the “bigger/stronger” capoeira students themselves.

What I realized is that even though capoeira students do benefit hugely if the first two conditions of the “floreio effect” apply to them, it’s not as if they just sit back and do nothing all the while.  Part of how the floreio effect works is that not only are premature impressions of the student’s “advancedness” reinforced in other capoeira students’ and teachers’ minds, they are reinforced in said student themself. So then it becomes a case of them not just attracting “enriched” training, but one where they also gain the confidence to put themselves in positions that enriches their capoeira training.

For instance, sure big/strong capoeira students are challenged more often (and thus have their skills developed at an accelerated pace) by advanced belts in the roda, because some advanced belts assume that because they’re big and strong, of course they can take it, nevermind how long they’ve actually been training for.  But part of the reason that happens is that the students themselves have the confidence to, and do, regularly buy in to play with the advanced capoeiristas!

Are you turning your -ism into an excuse?

“Anything You Can Do…”

Here’s the important thing: That third factor?  It’s not an external circumstance. It’s completely in the person’s control how much confidence they exude and whether they behave like they’re a beginner (shying away) or a more advanced capoeirista (taking chances and putting yourself out there), triggering further impressions in others that affect their perceptions of you as a capoeirista, despite whether or not you actually are beginner or advanced.

Once I realized that, I felt that my floreio theory had begun to show a slight tear between the stitches.  In a way, it was another -ism. For the purposes of this post, let’s call it “strengthism”. So while I still believe “strengthism” provides a legitimate explanation, without recognizing that third factor it was also possibly functioning as an excuse.  Full disclosure: I never bought in with solidly more advanced capoeiristas in the roda, in my own group, before the “floreio effect” theory and everything I just wrote about occurred to me. I do now!!!

Returning to feminism, or sexism/misogyny, in the context of capoeira there is also a danger of falling back into that as an “excuse” for not advancing.  First, in no way am I discounting the sexism and misogyny that exists; it does, in all the forms and with all the effects on people that feminism describes. At the same time, the point where you take an -ism beyond what it can explain is when it turns into an excuse.  Thus, sexism affects women in capoeira, but since there are still many women succeeding and advancing in capoeira, if you are a woman who isn’t, then it’s probably (for the most part) not completely fair to blame non-success totally on sexism.  Does that make sense?

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

To make it really clear, I’ll use another “strengthism” example from my own experience.  Over the past couple months, for one reason or another, I’ve started to hear a refrain that goes, “technique’s fine, just need more strength [to do the move properly]”, or “good game, you would’ve killed if you were bigger”, and other similar comments that eventually did make me feel strength[ism] was the ONE thing holding me back from actually being good (or, to follow Angoleiro’s prudent example: “good” 😉 ). To be honest, I’m pretty sure my frustration over that was what brought the “floreio effect” to my attention in the first place.

What made me realize the danger of stretching an explanation into an excuse was just another normal instance of the above during a capoeira class: I couldn’t quite get a certain move, and sure enough…”your technique’s fine; it’s just strength”.  By then, I think I’d heard this message often enough that my mind reached a certain point and almost got sucked into some sort of ironic backwards somersault: “Okay, you would be good if you were stronger.  So basically, you are good, since the only thing missing is strength, and you can’t help that so it’s not your fault, especially with the floreio effect in play.” (The unsaid implication: “So now you can rest on your system-is-against-me laurels and become a complacent capoeira student.”)

So obviously, a few problems with that. Firstly, lack of strength is definitely not “the one thing missing”; it’s the weakest point, but that doesn’t automatically mean I’m particularly good at all the other stuff.  Secondly, not having more strength is my fault if I know that’s the problem but still do nothing about fixing it when I have the means to. (Just so you know, I started working out regularly for the first time in my life this past summer, precisely to get stronger for capoeira, and that was before all this came up. And yes, I am proud of myself for actually having kept it up, thank you very much. 😛 )

Finally, what?! “Would be” to “is” represents a somewhat large mental leap there.  It’s like that comic strip with a huge scientific equation on the chalkboard, and halfway through there’s step labelled “then a miracle happens”!  This is complacency: if I really did believe I was already “good” in all the non-strength aspects of capoeira (which I’m not, assuming good means “above average”), then it would be easy to blame all future non-success on lack of strength alone and not on possible weaknesses in those other areas. So then, I’d end up dismissive of moves I can’t get, stop paying attention to non-strength abilities, and ultimately become weakened in everything.  Complacency is sneaky like that.

Of course, that hasn’t really happened.  But it did make me realize the potential “trap” one could inadvertently slide into by investing too deeply in or drawing too deeply on the explanatory powers of a particular -ism.  It’s becoming complacent in the face of discrimination or extenuating circumstances, precisely because you’re so aware it exists. The ultimate irony is that if that happens, you will have kept yourself down even further than discrimination alone might have, completely defeating the purpose we have and learn about -isms in the first place.

FICA Women’s Conference 2008 cont’d on Mandingueira!

16 03 2008

Did you miss out on the recent FICA Women’s Conference in Washington, DC?  Were you disappointed in having to miss all the insightful, interesting, and valuable discussions that went on about women in capoeira?  So was I!  Which is why I’m going to (re)visit and feature them here on Mandingueira, one topic and one post at a time.  I’ll look at what was said at the conference, give my two cents, and then open the floor to you guys so we can all join in the discussion, regardless of geography!

Today’s discussion revolves around “Violence, Self-Respect, and Self-Defence“—although as you will see, a more appropriate title would be “Teasing and Criticism in Capoeira Training”.

In capoeira training, where is the line between tough love and uncalled-for-ness? 

Capoeiristas at the conference took an interesting take on this topic, looking at more subtle forms of violence in capoeira, such as verbal abuse, humiliation, and “disrespectful behaviour”.  (I would add that sexual harrassment, however slight or implied, fits under here too.)  This was a good choice, since I think all those things are a lot more relevant and prevalent in capoeira groups than outright violence is!  Eventually, the question of the student-teacher relationship came up, which of course involves complicating factors such as Brazilian culture and capoeira “tradition”.  By the end, they came up with several thought-provoking questions:

Just how much “teasing” can we allow before it’s disrespectful?
Is my mestre being cruel to me or “testing” my commitment?
Is he telling me these things because he cares?
How much does this criticism fracture my self-respect and self-esteem?
As a woman, am I more sensitive to this treatment, or is it more personal?

This topic interests me because I know at least one or two people who have been bothered by what was called “humiliation tactics” in capoeira training, for instance yelling, mocking, name-calling, or putting down.  However, I’ve never been unduly bothered by it, and I can say why:

  • I don’t feel like I’m being singled out and picked on, because I notice that everyone gets the exact same treatment, regardless of things like gender, rank, or connections.
  • Having said that, there is a sort of sliding scale in that students of higher rank or believed to have higher potential will be more aggressively pushed than, say, new or beginner students.  However, I think this makes sense, and because of this, have also learned to see it as a good thing if a teacher pushes or criticizes me, because it shows (I think/hope) that to at least some extent they think I’m worth paying attention to.
  • What the teachers do/say is never so much that I ever feel like my self-respect or self-esteem or anything like that is being slowly chipped away at.  Like I said, sometimes it actually boosts my confidence because it shows I’ve gotten “on the radar”.  However, and this relates to the fourth question above, it also depends on each individual, so perhaps teachers should be sensitive to how much each student would be affected by their comments, and adjust the tone/form of their criticism accordingly.

As for “testing committment” and “because s/he cares”, I have to say that if the teasing, etc., is truly hurtful to the student, then these are kind of flimsy excuses for it.  There are other, better ways to test a student’s committment besides seeing how much pyschological bullying they can stand, such as telling them they need to train more often/regularly, or having them volunteer for the academy (doing admin, helping out with events, teaching if they can, etc.). 

Likewise, if a teacher truly cared, they wouldn’t deliberately act in a way that would harm their students in the long run.  I’d say that giving you criticism is definitely because they care, since they want you to improve and you can’t know how to improve without knowing what needs improvement.  However, it’s the way they do it that’s important.  For many, even most students, the “tough love” route probably is the way to go, especially considering capoeira is still largely a martial art/physical activity, even with its many other aspects.  Again though, I’d say a lot of it comes down to the invidual personality of certain students and discretion of their teachers.

Finally, we have the question of how female students are treated by male teachers, when criticized.  If it were based on personal experience with my own capoeira grupo, this topic (happily) wouldn’t exist.  However, I do recall one instance from a time I checked out another capoeira group’s class.  I was practicing take-downs with a partner, and apparently we weren’t going through with the movement hard enough.  So the teacher came over and told us to genuinely try to take each other down, and at the end he said to my partner, “Don’t worry about falling; you have a big butt so you won’t feel it anyway”, or words to that effect.

My partner just laughed in reply, and so after a brief initial jolt I didn’t think more of it, but now that I see it written out like that, I’m actually kind of shocked!  Would a male capoeira student ever have something like that said to him?

This brings up several more questions that the fifth question in the list above sparked in me:

  • Is a capoeira teacher getting more personal than they should be, making those types of comments?  Do they know it, and what are the implications if they do or don’t? 
  • Should they be accountable whether it’s deliberate (as opposed to cultural background, not realizing implications, treating everyone like that, etc.) or not?
  • If we (women) take a comment personally, is it because we’d take it personally anyway, or rather because we’re sensitive to the possibility that it could’ve been meant personally, or has personal or gender-issue implications?  And if the second, does it matter?

As you can see, I’m coming up with more questions than answers here!  But then again, that’s where all of you guys come in.  Have you experienced or witnessed “crossed the line” criticism during capoeira training, or thought about how you’d deal with it, or how it should be dealt with in general?  While both men and women get teased and criticized, is it a genuine phenomenon out there that women receive such treatment differently/in different ways and directly because they’re women? 

[Note: I haven’t even touched on non-criticizing harrassment here, such as hitting on students, commenting on their looks, figures, etc., so if you would like to bring that up to discuss as well, definitely do so!]

Please respond in Comments below!  (And if you were at the conference, feel free to add any extra information or ideas that wasn’t included in the FICA write-up.)

Picture source: http://www.cdonotts.co.uk/classes/main.jpg

How to Get Better at Capoeira When You Can’t Do Capoeira

20 02 2008

Do you want to turn your weaknesses into strengths?  To improve even while you can’t train?  To get the most out of every class even if you’re sick, injured, or otherwise incapacitated?  Well then, dear reader, continue on!

There's always something to do when it comes to capoeiraOne of the best and most unique parts of capoeira for me is the fact that as far as passions go, you couldn’t pick a better one that will never run out of steam on you.  There is always something new—or old—to learn, to work on, to improve, and if you feel you are weaker in one area (say, the actual  atheletic ability part), there are so many other ways in which you can become a master (such as music, singing, or language). 

With that said, you can leverage this versatility of the art to ensure, despite whatever happens to you, whether you’re injured or not, whether you can even make it to class or not, that you can only ever improve in capoeira.

“Creative” training:

Unless you’re made of steel, a bad injury or powerful cold can knock the axé right out of your poor, ailing body.  What’s a capoeirista to do?  Well, the first option is to continue training—since not only is capoeira extremely multifaceted, but so is each facet that makes it up, like, in this case, training movements and sequences.  A capoeirista in my grupo broke her arm once, and she kept training all the way through its recovery, doing everything on her uninjured side and modified movements if that wasn’t enough.  I’m not saying you should go out and break your arm, of course, but imagine if it were your good side that were injured, and all you could do was train capoeira on only your normally weaker side for two months: you’d be completely ambi-capoeirous afterwards!

Even if you’re not injured or sick but just plain unable to do a move, that can turn out to benefit you, as well.  When I first started capoeira, I couldn’t practice bananeira at all.  I was too scared to just kick up, thinking I could crash down and really hurt myself, and I was also too scared to kick up against a wall, thinking something could go wrong ending with me breaking my neck.  So, I practiced for months in a very narrow hallway at home, that was narrow enough for me to climb up one wall, and walk onto the opposite wall, letting me practice balancing in between, safe in the knowledge that I had support on either side.  Then once I could kick up against a wall, I was still too scared to kick up into thin air in case I overshot and crashed, so I practiced on a thick carpet in the basement until I could land from bananeira into a bridge with at least some modicum of control.  Then I could practice bananeira like normal, on any surface, and without even thinking about it, I’d developed a super flexible back that would help me in future training sessions.  My point is, there’s more than one way to string a berimbau, so get creative, and find it!

Get in tune with the art: 

If you’re too sick or too injured to do any training at all—now that’s where the fun begins.  Attend class anyway, and call dibs on the berimbau, atabaque, pandeiro…oh wait, you won’t have to, because everyone else is training!  If ten minutes a day is enough to become competent on the berimbau, imagine what 120 minutes a day would do for you.  The Bahia Philharmonic, anyone?  Moreover, you’ll get a really good opportunity to practice playing instruments or maybe even leading a song in an actual roda while everyone else plays, since if you were well, you’d probably be too busy buying into the roda yourself!

Watch like an eagle and soak like a sponge:

Now, what if you can’t train or play the instruments, for some reason?  Brief digression here: During my first half-year of doing capoeira, even though I went “only” twice a week, that still seemed like an extraordinary amount of time to devote to just one extracurricular activity, especially since it was 2 hours each time (plus commute), and moreover each on a school night (eating up all my procrastination homework time).  So it seemed even more amazing to me that people would attend class, in their uniforms, even when they were sick or injured and couldn’t train.  I mentioned that to someone once, and I’m pretty sure I even said something like “…since it seems like you’d have better things to do…” (I know, blasphemy!  😛 ) 

Of course, I know now that even if you weren’t just addicted to the environment and capoeira music blaring out of utility speakers, plain observation is a great way to improve in capoeira.  You can watch people playing each other and learn from their triumphs or mistakes, taking note of what you’d do or not do in their place.  Practice looking for vulnerabilities in people while they move, and still pay attention to the teacher’s tips and directions.  Even when I’m training normally, I like watching or listening in when the teacher corrects other students, because either I’ll probably need that same correction myself, or if I don’t, it’ll remind me to make sure I continue not needing it!  A good idea here is also to have your capoeira notebook on you, so you can take down tips, observations, sequences, or other ideas that you want to keep in mind for future reference.

Think like a capoeirista: 

Finally, how do you improve in capoeira if you can’t even make it to your capoeira class?  In tons of ways!  If you drive a car, keep capoeira CDs (note the plural’s lack of an apostrophe) in it so you can practice the songs (no apostrophe here, either—it’s a simple concept!) wherever you go.  The same goes for your iPods, CD players, etc.  If you’re stuck in bed at home and have access to the internet, try picking up some basic Portuguese, using sites like Portuguese for Capoeiristas (how convenient!).  Another good idea is just to read about capoeira, which will develop you further as a capoeirista intellectually, philosophically, and maybe spiritually.  The capoeira publishing industry seems to be growing by the month, and of course, a certain feminist capoeira blog will always be worth checking out… 😉

I hope you find at least some of these tips useful for the next time you find yourself out of commission (which, knock on wood, will not be for a very, very long while).  As I discussed in a previous post, capoeira never stops; now, neither must we!

Picture source:

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