Capoeira Update: May 2017

The promised update on my capoeira practise!

First things first: I’m getting closer and closer to a freestanding handstand. I’ve practised pushing off the wall a little and try to balance my weight before going back to the wall or the floor, as well as stopping right before my feet touch the wall. The wall is great to take away the fear of falling over with too much momentum. On a good day I can hold my balance three to five seconds. In addition I started practising without the wall, both handstand and underarm stand. I’m not yet able to get into a totally vertical position because I’m scared of falling over, but it’s much better than last year, so with building some more strength in my core, arms, and shoulders it should get even better soon.

I had a lot of colds this winter (and right now, because it’s still cold and wet outside – the shops display summer bikinis while I wear half-gloves and my warm, rain-proof anorak) and missed many classes, so I was thankful for the cheap, thick yoga mat I had bought on a whim. When I felt good enough I did some stretching, warrior poses, or even push-ups and planks. The worst was the month-long cough that caused me to lose a lot of core strength because I could do no crunches or similar exercises at all. I regained most of it by now, but my way to a six-pack has to start at zero again.

My knees hurt more than usual when doing lower movements like esquivas and rolés, so I have to be extra thorough with warming them up. I’m trying to loose a little bit of weight to take some stress off my joints (I’m not really overweight, but not in my ideal personal range for intense physical activity either) and eat even better food. I’ve learned to make yummy Thai curries and stir-fried noodles with lots of vegetables.

Some random things I’ve learnt/done: I went to an angola workshop with a friend and learnt a cool way to turn around on one leg – I don’t use it in real games, but it’s fun to throw into the mix in when we do warming up games without kicks. Last week or so I found a video tutorial that included a simple but cool transition from queda de rins to a turn (by extending the lower leg and crossing the upper one over it, standing up with the back to the other person, and then stepping around), which I started to use in slower games. On Wednesday I didn’t play in the roda because I was exhausted from the beginnings of my current cold, but I got the chance to sing two songs (with some help) while the others played, which made me really happy and a little proud.

Work in progress: slowing down/stopping in the cartwheel, getting back into doing more and different push-ups, the aforementioned handstand, not getting angry at myself when I have a bad day*.

If I feel well enough for training tomorrow I’ll try to start learning playing the atabaque in the music part of class. I tried the basic rhythm on my djembe already :)

 

*Sometimes I use my needed breaks to do sketches of capoeira movements, which is a nice way to spend time in class without feeling totally disconnected or useless. You can find some of my sketches and doodles on instagram.

 

Long Time No Write

Hi folks!

It’s been a while – mea culpa!

Some of you may have followed me on Instagram and Twitter for shorter updates and random thoughts. (And the Star Wars hair styles I did today and yesterday to entertain a co-worker, go look at them on IG if you need a chuckle!) I really want to get back into writing; I’m just not sure of the format.

There are some topics I want to touch, but I’d like to put more effort into these.

  • Getting in touch with your body and your identity through martial arts (and handling blunt weapons, lol)
  • Contentment vs. happiness
  • Space (I’d love to create something about planets, moons, and asteroids, playing with different ideas right now)
  • Navigating life with a mind full of opposites
  • Background noise

I’m busy with work most days and want to keep this blog completely separate from my job for different reasons. I’m still a linguist, doing linguist things in a language project for a big company, destroying (and fixing) templates, and occasionally dabbling in logic programming for internal purposes, while filling my desk with plants, listening to weird music, and drinking a little too much espresso. Sometimes I fold origami manta rays and other creatures when I need a break.

A long due update on my journey in capoeira will follow shortly!

Now I’m going to install the WP app on the “new” phone I got some months ago, so stay tuned for new random poetry spam.

See you soon!

PS: The last few months I didn’t find motivation for photography beyond the low-quality phone snapshots and I still haven’t posted the images from the last wedding I photographed. Life has been crazy, the weather disgusting, and nothing really interesting was going on. I’m waiting for the sky to clear so I can take pictures of the moon with my new tele-zoom lens, then next month I’ll be at the big annual capoeira workshop with my camera.

 

 

Capoeira and Weakness

I don’t really know how to write this post.

The last few years haven’t been that awesome health-wise. I started my capoeira journey a few months before an all-time low, a time that involved a lot of sleeping, brain-fog, headaches, and crying on the gym floor. There were people who still took the time to teach me. I’m still incredibly loyal to them and wouldn’t want to miss them.

I’ve grown stronger, my overall fitness is better than in the past, but the demands have grown with it. Demands from my instructors, from my group, from myself. So now every new low brings more frustration and more self-doubt. People tell me to give my best, to go faster, while my body wants to lie down and sleep. It makes me feel bad for my instructors – they spend time and energy on teaching us -, for my group – I hold others back -, and for myself, because I can’t be who I want to be. Dizziness comes and goes, some days my muscles hurt, sometimes I just feel like I’m far away and my body doesn’t listen to me. When I have a cold it takes me weeks to get back to my old level afterwards.

Most of this week I spent sleeping, because I’m down and out with a really nasty cold. The doctor told me my blood results are perfectly fine and I just have to deal with getting sick easily and not being as fit as others. I’ll just have to go slow with sports, which isn’t easy with capoeira.

But I don’t want to give up what I have – something that brings me joy, makes me stronger (as long as I don’t add stress on my body by going five times a week), and helps me connect to wonderful people. I’m just scared of telling people I’ll have to go even slower in the future, scared of their remarks, their looks when I take care of myself instead of going all in, scared of seeing others succeed and moving on while I linger. I’m scared of more self-doubt when I see the gap between me and others grow, of seeing others wearing brown and green while I don’t know if I ever will.

Today I went on a walk with my camera to escape from my self-pity and black thoughts. Taking pictures by the lake (just five minutes from our apartment) in the fog helped me clear my head and respiratory system. I brought home some cool seagull pictures I worked into a black and white series: https://starfishskiesphotography.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/seagulls-in-the-fog/. Maybe I will never be a really good capoeirista, but I can do my best when I feel well and take pictures on the other days, learn the music, contribute and participate in some way. I just hope others will accept this and help me, instead of looking down on me or adding to my frustration in some other way.

 

Arame Making

Last weekend we cut wire from a discarded car tyre (there was a huge pile of random trash in our street, again) to make arame (wire string) for my berimbau – my old wire snapped a few weeks ago while stringing.

Tools/materials: Carpet knife (not the best choice, a decent serrated knife would have been more effective), cut protection glove, gardening gloves, pliers, sanding paper, trash bag.

wp-1476300463760.jpeg wp-1476300443662.jpeg wp-1476300409297.jpeg

Might sound like a weird way to spend a Sunday afternoon while nursing a headache, but it made me extremely happy and also a little proud. As a friend told me, there are many capoeiristas who have yet to make their own arame. I might not be a very good capoeirista (saw a video of me playing for the first time last week, looked horrible), but I’m pretty motivated right now. A little too motivated, maybe, my body is not happy right now. I’ll elaborate on that in one of my next posts.

The arame is not perfect – too thick wire – but good enough for practising at home.

Ding dong dong.

Anybody home? YES.

Sorry for two months of radio silence.

I’ve been busy getting used to a full time job in which I have to concentrate a lot – during the first month I just came home and went to bed, too exhausted to survive even one full capoeira class per week. Now after a little more than two months I’m starting to build a routine of juggling work, 2-3 capoeira classes/week (one week I even made it through 4 1/2!), household chores (though I still neglect these a lot), weekly choir practise (I cut myself a lot of slack here, too), and much needed down time. We got a sofa and I enjoy just sitting and reading in peace for an hour or two instead of filling my head with random internet stuff. I’m rereading A Game of Thrones so I’ll finally be able to get to the second volume, but there are some other books I started reading as well.

Today we came back from a short trip (four nights), some first photos are up on instagram.com/starfishskies. We hiked up rock formations and down into forests, slept and read a lot, we even watched normal TV. Yesterday we spent the evening in a swimming hall where they have different fun things like a pool that leads outside where they put on fog and lights at night, and a pool with salt water where you can float, watch lights and listen to underwater music (totally my thing, so relaxing).

 

Eyes and Exciting News!

Recently I’ve been asked again about my eyes, whether I have two different colours or what.
The short answer: I have sectoral heterochromia in my left eye. Before I recently learnt the word I always told people it was like a small birthmark, just in the iris. So one of my eyes is completely of this weird, changing blueish-grey colour that looks different everyday, the other one has a brownish section.
IMG_0992.resized

I’m really excited right now – I’ll start a new job on Monday! My first real full time job! Luckily I don’t have to move to a different city. I’ll be working in a language project for an internet company. I won’t tell more because I’ll have to sign a NDA and whatever, but yeah, totally excited and a little bit scared.