Learning to Play the Berimbau

So today was the second time I had the chance to practise playing the berimbau, after I was allowed to hold one for the first time two weeks ago. I have a lot of trouble holding even a very light one due to problems with my finger joints (mostly the metacarpophalangeal joints), but today I managed to play at least for a few moments without any cheating. Last time I had supported the berimbau by leaning it against my forehead, which worked for me but weirded out some people, so today I heeded the advice of a friend and just kept the cabaça against my body most of the time instead of moving it back and forth, producing only muted sounds but not having to worry about the verga wobbling around in my hand all the time. 

I was also very happy when I discovered I have already internalised São Bento Grande de Angola far enough to sing along the chorus of a few easy familiar songs.

Raven Day

A raven on my way to work, early in the morning. Sitting in golden treetops, following me for a few short moments.
Walking through the park in a cloud of dark thoughts, alone with the pain of things going wrong, of life going wrong, wrongs of the past physically hurting again. And again, a raven. Following me, from tree to ground to rock to tree. Alone with my darkness and a raven in a Japanese garden, black clouds and black feathers beneath the red fire of Japanese maples in October.

Capoeira Progress: Pull-ups and Ponte Improvement

New cool stuff: I’m able to do either one decent pull-up (bar a little above my head height) without jumping up first, or three less than perfect consecutive pull-ups with a little jump at the start. Doesn’t sound like much, but for me it’s a huge improvement.

Yesterday in class we did some exercises with the ponte. One of these was doing a ponte with the head towards the wall and trying to bring the chest to the wall. I didn’t get that far, but I got close enough to touch the wall with my nose and later even with my chin. The next exercise was doing the ponte with both feet on a box and bringing the arms near to the box so the upper body was as vertical as possible. We were supposed to try the walkover from that position, but I didn’t feel safe enough yet (lack of strength and stability in my wrists and forearms, plus a little dizziness) and just stayed in that pose for a while to get used to this grade of chest stretching and getting a feeling for the needed balance. I’m quite happy about the progress I’ve made so far this year with my ponte – bending backwards into the ponte position, walking around, turning over into a queda de rins, and now gaining more flexibility in my upper body.

And I’m now able to touch my knees with my nose during leg stretches on the ground!