Water and a Name (haiku and some more words about tonight’s capoeira class)

training late at night
and they called me a new name
– we all need water


Tonight I finally made it to the training session of the capoeira association some of my friends belong to. Originally I had planned to join them a few weeks ago; but then I got a nasty cold and was coughing so much I couldn’t do any sports. The training tonight was quite exhausting but fun; when we practised a very short partner sequence with slightly tricky timing we had to present it afterwards – and me and my partner (both of us still only wearing the lowest cord) did best because we went through the movements slow enough to get the timing right. Of course we were pretty giddy-happy for a moment.

As always when exercising I felt very dehydrated and went over to my water bottle quite a few times, so in the end the contramestre decided to give me a nickname loosely based on my enormous thirst. Not the most flattering apelido (though definitely not the worst!), but I kind of like it – I have decided to see it as a reminder to talk less, work on my breathing, and to stay well hydrated. Water is important and everybody should drink plenty of it, not only when feeling dry! Plus, it sounds similar to the title of one of my favourite capoeira songs. And I’m very glad I wasn’t named for my dizziness or being short of breath, so, obrigada (‘thank you’)!

All in all a very successful evening! :)

PS: If you want to know my apelido, just send me some kind of message; somehow I just don’t feel like posting it openly right now ;)

And it frees me. (Poem to midnight.)

Attracted by the powerful pull only a single string can summon by,
walking the line of notes, exhaling all the burdens of the day
– and it calls me, calls me

Inhaling dusty rhythms of old drumhead leather,
moving with its tidal waves, a rhythm so familiar my body would know to follow it in the dark
– and it carries me, it carries me

A guiding turn of the head, a tiny nod and a glance to the heart of the circle,
I’m following the lead into the sun, the warmth of joyful song and laughter
– and it frees me, and it frees me.

We lived the dream. (I want to be a part of it.)

We lived the dream;
but the dream was short-lived.
They decided to tear down the walls
that had guarded our nights.

We lived the dream;
and we will fight to live it again.
A new place we will find
to feel alive when gathering at night.

There used to be four nights of capoeira each week, in four different places. I went on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Thursdays I went (and still go) to youth group instead. Now, the places for Monday and Wednesday classes are gone. Practising just once a week is too little for me, so I’ll have to figure out how to manage the conflicting schedules. Maybe I’ll try alternating – one week going to capoeira class, the next week to youth group.

My biggest fear right now (apart from being scared of failing my master’s thesis) is that the replacement class they (hopefully) will offer once a place is found might be on Tuesdays. On Tuesdays there is choir practise. I don’t know how I would deal with even more conflict between capoeira and church activities. Everything used to fit perfectly last year. Sure, I came home late at night five or six days a week, but I was happy.

I want to be part of both worlds. I don’t want to have to choose. To me it’s not just about faith vs. personal hobbies. It’s about friendship and belonging somewhere. Maybe I could go to a home group on Mondays instead of youth group – that particular home group is a sub-group of our youth group, so that might be an option. In the future I might join the capoeira association our instructor belongs to; right now I lack the money; and their schedule includes very late classes at the moment (I don’t want to be at home after 11pm on a weekday), which hopefully will change again. Sure, I could try to find a different group closer to my home, but I’d like to practise with my friends.

Part of it. I woke up with this song in my head today.

Last Roda of the Year

After on Friday we had had the last capoeira class of 2014 I went to a roda held by another capoeira association on Saturday evening (of course not alone, two people I know where there as well, I wouldn’t have had the guts to go all on my own to a group which plays a completely different style, because of social rules and stuff). So my last roda of the year was my very first Angola roda. It was fun, though my legs hurt from doing much more low movements than I’m used to; and half of the time I felt like I was just rolling around on the floor while trying to figure out what on earth was going on. The second time I played I found myself in chamadas two times or so, but somehow I survived that part as well. Most of the songs we had to sing along to where more or less familiar; and I liked that we were sitting instead of standing while not playing.

Bottom line: playing Angola is fun as well despite being a little confusing at first; and I might go to their roda again when it’s open for people from outside their group; still, when it comes to classes I’ll stick with Regional for the time being (but throw in some extra body weight exercises to get more strength for low movements – my legs and my back are killing me right now).

Sadly Friday had ended with bad news – not only one but two of the gym halls we used until now will be demolished next year, oops. So playing today provided a much nicer end of the capoeira season before the holidays. See you next year, meus camaradas :)


Murphy’s law applied to today.

They will shut down the school building where we practise capoeira on Mondays for good after the holidays and demolish it in January or so; this was the first piece of bad news I read today. Yeah, and there is no replacement in sight, so no more class for us on Mondays. We’re not amused.

A guy from choir died rather unexpectedly this week; I got this message this morning as well. The funeral will be on the day of the little Christmas celebration my boss wants to hold at her house and I have no clue if I’ll be able to cope emotionally with singing at a funeral in the afternoon and heading to a friendly, joyful gathering in the evening. I guess I will, but the idea of it still feels weird. (Oh, and last capoeira class for this year would also be that night, including heading out for drinks afterwards, but I can’t go to two events at the same time; why does everything have to fall on the same day?)

And now I have the evil cramps.

On the plus side, I managed to do a few handstands against the wall at capoeira class tonight, got a high-five for it, and started working on arm presses from the handstand position.

Still I’m glad this day will be over soon, I’m sort of feeling like a wreck right now due to the aforementioned crap piled on my already annoying cold. Good night.

Does this ginger know how to ginga?

Scene in the grocery store, last Saturday when doing the weekly shopping with Darling: Me holding up a piece of ginger root, “Does this ginger know how to ginga?”

So yes, we had a capoeira workshop on Sunday. About half of the time we practised throwing each other to the ground in various ways (not all of these are true capoeira moves, but the mestre said we have to be prepared to encounter people who use these). And we practised kicking like a mule, literally. I can’t do a proper handstand, but somehow I’m able to kick someone in the stomach with both feet at the same time (and with a decent amount of precision) from standing on all fours. That part was fun!

Now I’m feeling ill (I did hang out with too many people having nasty colds over the last two weeks) and know I should get up from bed to check if the non-ginga-capable ginger would like to become a hot drink.

[insert leap in time of about 30 minutes]

… and yes, I really made myself some ginger tea. And ate a whole clove of raw garlic. Some smart person recently said that to get rid of a cold one should consume plenty of ginger, garlic, onion, and lemon. I don’t have any lemons at home right now, and I hate chopping onions, so the first two remedies and vitamin C powder will have to suffice for the moment.

you taught me well

You have taught me well, my friend,

less by words and more by demonstration.

Yesterday I came home and felt proud,

because what I had learned from you was seen and appreciated.

You weren’t there, but your efforts were.

We’ll play again.

Yesterday I came home and felt twofold proud.

At university someone had asked me for academic advise and an open ear, someone more advanced than me.

At capoeira class I was introduced to someone as an advanced student, and for one exercise the others were told to follow my rhythm, as my timing was found to be good.

capoeira progress report, addendum

Today I went to capoeira class for the fourth time this week (crazy, I know) and felt pretty tired from the last three sessions already, but I’m glad I did go. At some point everybody started doing handstands, and as I can’t do a handstand in the middle of the room yet (even against the wall it doesn’t work most of the time) I decided to work on pressing into a headstand instead. So I got into the frog position, quickly put my head on the floor before I could lose balance, and tried to press my legs up, as I had been doing every now and then for over a year. Lo and behold, instead of feeling like bricks my knees suddenly left my elbows and I stood in a half headstand! I was able to reproduce this position a few times, and even though I wasn’t able to lift my legs all the way into a vertical position it felt awesome. I guess the soft floor in the dojo where today’s class took place was a big factor; when I went home and tried to press up into the headstand again I failed at first because the hard floor hurt my head, but when I placed a folded hoodie under my head it was easier. Lesson learned: take a soft hoodie to class in case of doing headstands. As I learn to hold my balance and place more weight on the hands I’ll try to get used to the hard floor (or move on to a handstand), but that’s for another year.

New goal for the remaining weeks of this year: learning to press up into a full headstand (with the help of a hoodie on the floor and a wall behind me  Update: been there, done that by end of November!

Goal for next year: press up into a handstand from a headstand against the wall

Favourite Friday: inspirational capoeira videos

Recently I discovered some really cool and inspirational capoeira videos on YouTube, and I’d like to share my favourites with you.

“Girl on Fire”, the capoeira edition

She’s awesome, isn’t she?


Soul Capoeira: ground movement combination

This isn’t extraordinarily spectacular, but a great inspiration because I want to get better at playing close to the ground, so this nice little sequence is my goal for next year. Still working on a decent queda de rins, though … but seeing what can be done with it makes me keep trying.


More Soul Capoeira:

This guy reminds me of a dancing rain drop (especially with the music in this video) – his movements are so fluent, but slow and defined enough for the eyes to follow. Watching this video makes me fall in love with capoeira over and over again.


Last but not least: dancing with a chair


What’s your inspiration?