The White and the Black (Capoeira and Sword)

I’m a capoeirista (though I took an almost two-month break in winter) and I’m getting more involved in show sword fighting recently. It’s interesting to me how I move differently through the two worlds. It brings out two different sides of me.

Capoeira, white clothes, barefoot – there is a lot of joking, music, a weird sort of openness. I don’t move with a lot of grace, I think, not like a lot of the female capoeiristas, I’m not as quick and lithe but more solid, grounded, with plain movements and a different kind of strength. Still, I feel rather feminine at times, maybe because of the light clothes and the sort of energy in that place. Energy rising and falling, a constant pulse, the mind just a sharp tool to carve out visible expression. On a good day, physical joy takes over, bubbly, the sorrows of the day forgotten, the body just bursting with excitement to move and experiment.

Sword fighting, dark clothes, shoes, leather gloves – the sound of metal on metal and  sometimes heavy footwork, occasional laughter, shouts, an inner focus on the weight in my hands. I’m not female, I’m not anything, just someone wielding a sword, black almost fading into the background behind the steel, the body supplying firm power to give shape to the mind’s will. It’s freeing, mind over matter. Yet, my movements are distinctly feminine, as the always upright movements with the arms doing most of the heavy work accentuate my build. There is a lot of fun and happiness, but more subtle, mostly inward, with a slight melancholic tinge at times, and being able to stay in focus leading to a very rewarding feeling of collected presence and inner strength, while a little part of the mind is dreaming of a different time and place.


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