In case you didn’t know, I love dancing. Something that is a little more likely that you didn’t know is that I also have a deep admiration for martial arts. The dexterity, the balance, and the fluidity of movement, it’s very much like dancing but just with a different application. So when I found out that there existed an art that combined the two, I have to say I was excited. So excited that I decided to go to a tryout meeting for Capoeira—the dancing martial art.
What is Capoeira?
Before we get started into my awesome story about my very first Capoeira meeting, I thought I would start with a little background information about what Capoeira is and how it came to be.
Capoeira was started around 500 years ago by African slaves in Brazil. Due to the extremity of their situation, these slaves were looking to develop a method with which they could defend themselves. In order to disguise the fact that they were practicing combat procedures, these slaves would train along with their traditional music, singing, and dancing, effectively masking the martial art as a dance.
Thus, Capoeira was born. Since its origin, Capoeira has had a very interesting road to its current acceptance. For the longest time, it was considered illegal in Brazil. Finally, this law was revoked and in 1942 the first Capoeira School was created.
Today, Capoeira is widely popular, going as far as to influence many popular dances such as hip-hop and break. On top of this, classes that teach the art are relatively easy to find. I was able to locate a try-out class nearby with very little trouble. A fact that I am now certainly glad for.
An Incredible Class
When I first arrived, I have to say that I was a little nervous. Though I do indeed have an admiration for martial arts, I’ve never had much hands-on participation in one myself.
Fortunately, I was able to make the company of a couple of great young men who sort of showed me the ropes. They told me that they were Brazilian jiu jitsu students that were looking to expand their training and were considering Capoeira.
As the class started, the first thing that I thought to compare it to was an upbeat yoga. There was a large focus on stretches and flexibility. Some of the more advanced students were working on elaborate handstand routines, and I could certainly see where breakdancing could have easily drawn influence from this martial art.
The class continued, and I stuck as close as possible to the two Brazilian jiu jitsu students, hoping that between mimicking them and my dancing skills I could keep from looking like I was completely clueless. I’m pretty sure it failed, but by the end of the day I didn’t care.
When the try-out class had come to a close, I was huffing for breath with my hands on my knees. One thing I’ll say about Capoeira is that it is quite the workout. All in all, though, I’ve got to say that it was quite the enjoyable class. While quite similar to many dances I am used to, it was plenty different enough to provide me with a new and gratifying experience that I would recommend to anyone.