Q:Hi Ang! i want to learn capoeira but i am worried i wont be accepted. Its been awhile since I have trained for anything and Im worried about being judged when i go to learn. Could you tell me about how people typically react to newcomers in capoeira? thank you for your time!
Hey back atcha!
TL:DR - don’t worry about it. Go train! Keep going to class, and keep trying your best. It is the only way you can improve, and it’ll show your commitment to the grupo.
Consider first that people who train capoeira want to share what they’ve learned with new people, the teachers especially. My grupo, Axé capoeira is like this. We want new students.
The thing that can be most intimidating to a new student is the closeness a grupo has. It’s like a family, and newcomers often feel it is difficult to break into that. This is always a surprise to us; we feel it is the opposite, that we are super welcoming to new people.
Come up, introduce yourself and show us who you are! If you are shy like me, a great way is to start asking questions. We LOVE answering people’s questions.
Regarding being judged, consider next that it is actually a good thing for a teacher to correct your movement, even if they do it in a coarse or negative way. Some teachers just teach like that. If they didn’t care about you, they would just say nothing…and that’s worse.
So, go have fun and play capoeira!
That awesome moment when…
I realize that I wish my career could be teaching capoeira.
I gave a demonstration of capoeira to a group of about 80 middle school kids this morning, and it…was…AWESOME! They were so engaged, and just about every one of them did my Aú (cartwheel) drill down the gymnasium floor :D We ended with a beginner’s roda with them all sitting in a circle to create the roda. We practiced the esquivas I taught them and the ginga. I played…i don’t know…about 30 kids and even the teachers bought into the game!
Aú sem mão e Meia lua
Q:What are the different colors of the cordão? And what is required to advance?
Good question :D I can answer for Grupo Axé Capoeira, and each grupo does it a little bit differently. The one commonality I have found is the color of a Mestre’s cordão: Vermelho (red). Yet, even that is not standard; there are no concrete rules in capoeira ;)
There are 15 cordões now in Axé Capoeira. The basic colors are eight, and there are intermediaries between them. One’s cordão denotes one’s skill and dedication to the grupo. As a student learns more of the game, the instruments, the songs, the history, Portuguese, the dances, the acrobatics, that student earns higher ranks.
I love that it is not something one can just buy; one has to earn it, even though one shows up to class and pays on time. If a student stops training or shows less dedication to the grupo, that student’s rank is taken away until the teacher feels he or she is ready for it again.
This is how to progress until the student reaches the teaching ranks. Those begin at the 4th rank, azul e marrom, which is when teaching is added to the curriculum. From there, the student eventually ‘graduates’ and branches off from the main academy to build another Axé academy elsewhere.
The event where a capoeirista receives the first cordão is the batizado, the capoeira ceremony. When a capoeirista receives a promotion to a higher ranking cordão is the troca de corda. This is what happened recently in Kansas City, where I got promoted :D
Next up is a list of all the ranks with cute little pics of the cordões.
- crua e azul
- azul e marrom
- marrom e verde
- verde-green-grön (Graduado-Graduate-Examen)
- verde e amarelo (Instrutor-Instructor-Instruktör)
- amarelo-yellow-gul (Professor 1°)
- amarelo e roxo (Professor 2°)
- roxo-purple-lila (Contra Mestre 1°-Förman)
- roxo e vermelho (Contra Mestre 2°-Förman)
- vermelho - red - rött (Mestre 1°-Master-Mästare)
- vermelho e branco (Mestre 2°-Master-Mästare)
- branco - white - vit (Gran Mestre-Grand Master)
Thanks for reading this wall of text. I am kind of passionate about my grupo and capoeira; I have lots to say :D
Maculelê is one of the traditional Brazilian dances capoeiristas perform during batizado. It is a stick fighting dance that progresses to using facão, machetes. Here, I perform maculelê with my grupo, grass skirt and everything.
I had one day to learn the routine. Turns out, I was the replacement for the replacement, who sprained his ankle the day before the performance. Thank goodness I remember how to play maculelê!
These are the games we played during batizado to showcase capoeira to the audience. I finally received permission to post the video. So, here it is!
My games are at 3:12, 5:08, and 8:04
Perhaps the biggest surprise of batizado weekend: my friend and fellow capoeirista, Quebrado works for a printing company, and just gave this to me.
- An 8ft x 8ft vinyl banner (about 2.5m x 2.5m) of the Axé logo for my studio
I was floored. I have no idea how much it cost him to print, and I do not wish to insult his generosity by asking. Muitíssimo obrigado, Quebrado.
Kick Gargamel, not the Smurfs.
Troca Armada e Armada Dupla
This is our street roda at Crown Center plaza in Kansas City. We like to call them capoeira flash mobs :D The security guards walked up after a few minutes and told us to leave. Ahh, the life of a capoeirista.