As Capoeira takes the world by storm, Beverly Pereira explores this next big fitness trend
A lot of people see it as a martial art, others as a dance, and then there are those who believe it to be their cultural identity. Avid gamers will definitely remember Eddy Gordo of video game Tekken fame with his über-cool acrobatic manoeuvres. Known as Capoeira, this Afro-Brazilian style of martial arts fuses dance, music, acrobatics, as well as self-defence moves into something that can only be described as sheer poetry in motion. It is said to have evolved from the slave trade in the 16th century in Brazil. It’s no wonder then that Capoeira is also known as the dance of war!
The basic idea of Capoeira is to mock-fight with your partner, performing rhythmic steps combined with a variety of playful moves, most of which do not result in physical contact. In keeping with its cultural inception, Capoeiristas form a roda (circle) around the two Capoeira players to sing and clap, while some play handcrafted instruments known as the berimbau, pandeiro and atabaque, setting the tempo for the two.
Known to burn around 500 calories per hour, this energetic, exciting and effective form of fitness has not just become a trend in the West, Indians too are getting a kick out of it. There are approximately 72 basic Capoeira moves that include kicks, quick leg sweeps, aerial acrobatics, head butts, as well as knee and elbow punches, the combination of which offers a beneficial technique to work on strength building, stamina and agility.In fact, when you play Capoeira, you’ll be so busy learning and perfecting your moves that you won’t notice how hard you are actually training! Further, since most of the exercises are done standing, it’s a superb workout to strenghten the legs and back.
According to Reza Massah aka Monitor Baba, a Capoeira trainer at India’s official Capoeira group known as Cordao de Ouro, “We are living in the fast lane; snap decisions like agility in catching a bus or train, and many other practical needs are served by Capoeira. It’s a harmonious blend of physical and mental fitness.”
Further, while Capoeira is a widely communal experience, it is also a uniquely individual one. Capoeira tends to instill a sense of confidence in all those who play it. Rather than the usual cookie-cutter gym workouts, this form of fitness also teaches you a lot about Brazilian culture.
Says Cheryl Koshy Agarwal, “For me Capoeira is a deeply individual experience – it goes beyond increasing your overall fitness and flexibility; it bonds you to a community and tremendously reduces stress as you escape into this art form. More than anything, playing Capoeira boosted my confidence when I did things I thought I would never be able to!”
If you are on the lookout for a creative fitness form, then it’s time you start playing the high energy dance martial art known as Capoeira!
Official Capoeira group in India
The first Capoeira school that was started in India by Reza ‘Baba’ Massah is known as Cordao de Ouro. With centres in Mumbai (Khar, Juhu, Dadar), most refer to it as the Centre for Capoeira India
Volume 1 Issue 5