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!


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.