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Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Call of Brazil's Capoeirista - Page 4

Written by Roxanna Benton
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Ch-ch-ching-dong-dong. As soon as the familiar notes start, ears perk up. Ch-ch-ching-dong-dong. Within seconds, eyes start to flick around the room. Ch-ch-ching-dong-dong. Smiling people start to form a circle while clapping and swaying to the beat. Pavlov was right. It doesn’t take much. A bell for a dog, or five steely notes for a capoeirista, and off they go.

It is hard for me to explain what it is about capoeira that eases tensions and promotes friendship. All capoeiristas know that in order to eventually look good, they need to look ridiculous as a beginner. Also, it is rare for two opponents to actually make contact with each other; they throw kicks, but do not intend to hurt each other. The call of Brazil’s Capoeirista, Capoeira, Brazilian martial art, Portuguese, Rio de Janeiro, Buzios, Bahia, armadas, roda, berimbau, Roxanna BentonPerhaps it is this shared decision to ignore initial feelings of embarrassment and to fight each other without malice that fosters a sense of unity between players. Capoeristas fight to get stronger and better at the sport, but not at the expense of their opponent. However, that does not imply that there is no winner. In the roda, players get competitive and showy, and there is often a clear-cut winner even though no contact was made and no one was knocked down.

It is these combined elements of competition, collaboration and physical fitness that make capoeira so addictive, and playing it in Brazil was especially fascinating to be in the land where it still carries so much meaning for its practitioners. It was fun to explore the similarities and differences in the way we played the game.

So if you ever find yourself walking along a street in Rio de Janeiro, and you hear the twang of those first five notes— ch-ch-ching-dong-dong— follow the sounds to the roda so you too can learn how the music and movement can raise spirits and bring players closer together.


©Roxanna Benton


(Page 4 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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