We know that exercise can promote healthy mood, in terms of generating endorphins- natural positive hormones. Capoeira definitely does that. Capoeira also builds positive mental patterns by building self-efficacy. When we keep up at a challenging activity, though it is hard we eventually realize that we can move past mistakes. We improve slowly and consistently with commitment. This builds self-efficacy, a foundational realization that we have the ability to achieve the tasks we set forth.
My first 3 months practicing being with a partner in the hoda was a shock. I was surprised to see how much I froze. Without any experience in martial arts, at 42 years old, I thought I would have the spirit of a fighter because I was always arguing or pushing my personal limits...but when it came down to it, being in an actual one to one, I froze. This freezing went on for months of practice, whenever I was face to face with an actual physical opponent. In my normal daily life, I never thought of myself as a "freezer". I always chose to fight. and occasionally I would run or "flight".
When faced with stress or fear the adrenaline that pumps through our body will set us into fight, flight or freeze mode. Training martial arts is an opportunity to train our system reactions to those emotions. And I am sooo thankful, at 43 years old to finally find these tools. In Capoeira, you can always lean back into the sway- the rocking- the ginga. The sweet lull, that gives you just enough peace and momentum to prepare you for the next step.
In Capoeira there is the fun, the joy, the humbleness and the support positive environment in the spirit of community.