Capoeira Progress and Goals

It’s been a while since I last reported on my progress in capoeira.

Basically, when it comes to playing, what I am able to do didn’t change a lot. I do some basic kicks and esquivas, sometimes an aú. I’m trying to include more ground movements, but most of the time I simply forget that I can go from an esquiva to a negativa to a rolé. At the moment I try to learn more about building a fluid game by closely observing more advanced players in the roda. Additionally I will go back to my books and look up possible combinations of movements, which is something the geeky scientist inside me finds very helpful. Something I added to my range of movements is simply spinning on my heels (sounds lame, I know) and evading kicks by bending backwards, like in “The Matrix” (I don’t think my instructors are too happy with this, but especially in a slower game I like to do it for fun or sometimes even just because it’s my instinctive reaction now that I’m flexible enough to fall into a bridge or queda de rins from there – something I don’t do in the roda yet, but I’ll practise it more and then include it at some point!)

I’ve made some progress in the field of acrobatics. For a while now I’ve been able to go into a bridge/ponte from a standing position, recently I even managed to fall back in a way that allowed me to find the ground with both hands at the same time. I’m also able to do some small hops while in the ponte, getting my feets off the ground for a moment. This month I practised exiting the ponte by falling into a queda de rins and rolling over into a negativa, which is easier for me than just rolling out of the ponte, because in the queda de rins my arm and wrist feel more stable. I’ll work on lifting a leg while in the ponte, then try to get closer to a walk over. I don’t know if I’ll manage doing a ponte walk over by the end of this year, but I’ll try to get closer to it, so maybe next year? To get the necessary strength I started doing exercises with filled 1.5 litre water bottles in my hands, for example bicep curls and some exercises I found on the internet which are supposed to stabilise the wrists by training the forearm muscles. I’m working on my pull-ups, though I still don’t get beyond one and a half. Doing handstands against a wall is now something I practise almost daily. My handstand push-ups are getting better, while I also try to learn holding my balance without the wall for a moment. Just this week I did an underarm stand for the first time (also against the wall), to add some variation and give my wrists a little rest. I hope to learn a handstand without a wall soon, in whatever form – maybe with the legs either tugged in or in something like a forward split to make balance easier.

And I finally started seriously working on the sequence I’ve been hoping to learn for a long time now. This one:

I’m deconstructing the sequence by only doing two movements at a time to learn how to transition from one position to the next – entering or exiting the ponte by a queda de rins for example. What I’m mostly stuck on is lifting both legs from the ground in the queda de rins and swinging them around. My goal is to be able to execute this sequence by the end of this year. It doesn’t have to be perfect, I just want to be able to do all the transitions in a row without falling over or hurting myself.

Shoe Saving

The weather here feels more like autumn than like the summer we are supposed to have right now, so today I decided to take some shoes to the cobbler in order to have them repaired for when autumn really comes. Luckily I know an old cobbler working in a traditional one-man repair shop. I brought him three pairs of shoes to ask whether he could fix them:

  • The Nerd’s autumn/winter shoes: sadly beyond saving. The parts had been stitched together and then tucked in and glued in place, so when the upper leather was torn from the sole it broke above the glued in stitches.
  • My leather ankle boots: these comfortable, two years old boots will get new heels, and one buckle has to be replaced. Not included in the services offered by this cobbler is mending the lining, so I’ll have to sew the lining back together myself.
  • My favourite blue leather sneakers: The inner side of the back is a complete mess (broken cardboard poking through shredded fabric) after nearly a year of regular wearing, therefore soft leather patches will be sewn or glued inside.

I had to pay about 30€ for both fixable pairs and they will be ready to be picked up by Thursday :) My two favourite pairs of shoes will be saved for less than the price of one good new pair, quite a nice deal in my opinion.

Maybe I’ll take my old leather sandals to the repair shop when picking up my shoes.


Born of Rain

Born in the days of autumn rain and slushy snow, the colour of rain and salty spray of seawater still shows in my eyes. Neither clearly grey nor blue, so I just call it the colour of rain, of steel-blue clouds, of a wall of fog on the mountain side, clinging to the golden trees like a sheet of grey silk. I’m born of rain, and rain is what runs in my veins, steaming and bubbling when meeting the fire flowing from my heart. I’m born of rain, and when I feel blue, blue like rain and fog on a forsaken shore, I’m larger than the sum of my parts, I’m more than one raindrop – I’m a storm, a force of nature, and yet just a drenched figure, huddled between rocks and watching myself pass into the fog. I’m born of rain, and it remains inside and outside of me. There is a cloud following me, watering the thoughts I mindlessly sow in the furrows my inner storm tore open, while I follow a the trail this gale I am is blazing in front of me. Sometimes the thoughts I sow are seeds as blue as a clear-washed sky, sometimes as dark as a thunderstorm rolling heavy with rain. I’m born of rain, and I won’t ever escape what my eyes betray. I’m born of rain, and I’m learning to choose to embrace the clouds, to stuff them with white feather-dreams to make them less heavy, hugging them close like a pillow or a blanket, listening to the rain inside and watching it drawing patterns in my mind, tracing story lines down a window pane in intricate patterns, stories to write down, to escape into like sailing on paper ships across foreign seas, to capture in my cupped hands and watching them spill on crumbling paper, sometimes for myself, sometimes for others to read.

Closet Cosplay: Arya Stark (Game of Thrones, Season 1)

I wanted to try the hairstyle Arya Stark wears in the beginning of the first season of Game of Thrones and found this tutorial, though I cheated a little and crossed the braids first at the bottom, then at the top, instead of the other way round.

A moment later I decided to go the whole way – I found a wooden sword (well, two of them) in our living room and picked a creme white blouse and a blue dress from my wardrobe (reference picture links: here, here, and here), then set up the camera.

IMG_7128_03.resizedStick ’em with the pointy end.

IMG_7119_01.resized IMG_7124_02.resized

Bonus picture from before I remembered Arya is lefthanded:


Time needed for hairstyle: <10 minutes

Materials used for hairstyle: 1 medium sized brown hair tie (elastic with fabric, no metal), 2 small transparent silicone hair ties, 4 black metal hair pins