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 meĀ  Update: been there, done that by end of November!

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

Capoeira progress report

With winter coming closer it feels so strange to look back to early summer – just half a year since I received my first cord. It feels like a much longer time has passed since that hot weekend. I’ve come a long way since then, though the progress is much slower than I would like it to be.

Endurance: A little progress, I don’t get out of breath as quickly as I used to, but still a long way to go! We’ve been doing a lot of burpees (well … a simplified version without the push-up part) the last few months and it really pays off; so does running to the train station with a heavy backpack. And I don’t cry all the time anymore.

Strength: I’ve built up some muscles, especially in my arms – my Massai bangle doesn’t fit around my upper arm anymore and I had to modify it with a 2-3 cm long strip of elastic! This week I discovered I’m finally able to walk a few steps in a back-bend position, so this is definitely some progress. Talking about back-bends …

Acrobatics: Walking in a back-bend works, turning back into a normal quadruped position only sometimes (and only in one direction). I haven’t managed to reproduce the handstand against the wall, but at least I know I can do it theoretically now. Still working on the queda de rins, I can’t lift both legs at the same time; I should google which muscle groups I have to strengthen for this! My au (cartwheel) is getting better and I’m practising slowing down in the middle to hold a kind of handstand for a moment; this will take some more time I guess. Oh, and doing cartwheels with just one hand isn’t as difficult as it looks, at least one version is manageable and the other one should work with some more training (I keep hurting my shoulder with it, so I guess I lack muscles for control).

Movements/precision: I’m able to do most basic kicks somewhat right now on good days, and understanding/executing simple sequences has become easier. Sometimes combinations still confuse me if they include a lot of turning around, but instead of crying on the floor I go and find someone to help me, which is much more productive. Doing the meia lua de compasso with just one hand one the ground is one of the things I’m working on these days, and I have trouble keeping my leg straight during kicking. Precision is also an issue; due do my lack of strength I do a lot of movements with speed instead of control so far.

Dizziness: still a problem but I’m more actively trying to find solutions now (mostly experimenting with different kinds of food before and during class – yesterday I felt very dizzy and took a bite from my granola bar in the middle of class, which helped a little). I’m still fighting it a lot and often I keep going by sheer will power until I truly can’t stand upright anymore or feel like I’m a danger to others and myself.

Goals for the end of this year: Getting the queda de rins right at least for a moment (Update: managed to lift both legs by mid-November, though not yet with straight legs), doing at least one more handstand against the wall on my own, Update: goal reached on 12/12/2014 by doing not only one but three handstands against the wall and beginning to practise arm presses), managing to do 10-15 simplified burpees without resting in between (Update: reached 15 by 3rd December!). Doing more push-ups at home to build up more arm muscles. Working on keeping my kicking leg straight during spinning kicks. Maybe use my birthday money (if I get any, that is) to go to a one-day workshop (been there, done that, bought the t-shirt^^).

Goals for next year: Learning one or two nice combinations/sequences to put the queda de rins and other movements into use. Stopping in the middle of the au for a moment without falling over. Working on flexibility to get closer to doing a split. Building overall strength (especially upper body) and gain more control over my movements. Go to more rodas.

I don’t know where I’ll be next year at this time. It’s a little scary and makes me want to run away from my master’s thesis, but there’s no turning back now (“no turning back no backing down …”). Part of me wants to stay, part of me wants to go and start something new. Even if I stay there will be a lot of decisions to be made. I want to stay and keep playing with the people I know.

happy – finally some progress

I left today’s Capoeira class very happy, because finally my cartwheels are getting better and more controlled, and for the first time I managed something that could pass as a queda de rins (translates to something like ‘fall on one’s kidney’).

The next step would be learning to do it without resting my knees on my other elbow, putting less weight on the head, and then bit by bit stretching the legs, but that’s for another week month. If I learn to do that, I’ll post photographic evidence :)