Updated: Jan 12
Capoeira is a dance and martial art. By playing Capoeira you have the opportunity to optimize your health and performance while preserving a tradition. Capoeira trains and nurtures body, mind, and emotions. As a Capoeirista you will improve physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing. People of all ages and abilities play and everyone can improve.
Capoeira Builds Physical Stamina
Strength & Flexibility
We say: we play Capoeira, as in it's fun and it's a practice. When you play capoeira you build strength while also maintaining flexibility. With kicks and groundwork there's a flow between building core and staying fluid. These are key fitness functions to keep you both stable and mobile in the body for a lifetime of movements. Training Capoeira invests in longevity. It will keep your muscles strong and supple for the tasks of daily living.
The Hoda is the event where Capoeira happens. The players, 2 at a time are in the center of the circle or hoda which means wheel in Portuguese. The foundational movement for Capoeira is Ginga which means to sway. The return pose or "resting " stance is swaying movement that keeps your aerobic energy system ago as the arms and legs shift back and forth and from side to side. In terms of building cardiovascular fitness (ei. endurance) consider that it is necessary to have continuous whole body rhythmic movement for at least 3min. Otherwise your engaging other energy systems, the anaerobic which uses stored energy in muscles for shorter bursts of energy. In a hoda there is continuous movement, while the choice of actions is up to each individual there is a momentum that's maintained by the flow of the ginga and the musicians in the background who help signal the tempo. It can be slow or fast, but it is always steady. That means that your heart is pumping to keep you building cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular endurance.
Balance & Coordination
Capoeira builds hand eye coordination as well as depth perception. The game of it: the hoda, builds skills by the nature of being in circle. You learn to maintain spatial awareness. You look from the corners of your eyes, over your shoulders and between your legs.
All planes of motion are used. Motor coordination is optimized. The three planes of motion are used. The transverse or rotational is where your moving whole body or certain joints on rotational access. The sagittal plane we use when we walk and in ginga. In ginga we engage in what is called in functional fitness the single leg stance. We balance there, using a single leg stance, when approaching the partner and in our kicking. In addition, unlike most activities, Capoeira also incorporates the frontal plane of motion: the side to side actions. This key component of Capoeira not only accelerates balance and coordination skills, but it encourages optimum biomechanics and helps prevent overuse injuries. By using certain key muscles that are commonly underused you can also decrease stress on the spine and prevent low back pain. The way we do that is by activating and building these important muscles. We need to use them or lose them.
Speed & Power
The pace of the movement changes with the music and the will of the leader at the head of the circle. The leader is the one playing the lead instrument-the Mestra. They read the group and individual energy levels. The pace is also most relative to the abilities and current capacity of the players. It is still ultimately up to the individual whether they want to play slow or fast, hard or soft. But the musicians can help set the tone and moderate to make sure the dance fight doesn't get out of hand. Its kept lite. Some Mestras, and players for that matter, lean more or less toward dancing versus fighting. There is the flow from one movement to the next, each participant taking turns. There is the flow of the music and singing and there is also a particular flow or style that is individual to each partner. There's a subtleness, a difference between each pair that is considered the unique flow between them and how they choose to interact with each other.
Capoeira Nurtures & Challenges Mental Function
Using the multiple planes of motion: sagittal, frontal and transverse trains both physical and mental aspects. This motor learning is an exercise for the brain. It keeps it supple and efficient. Capoeira requires focused attention to the subtle changes in the partners body language and to their own spatial awareness. More on Brain & movement here: https://www.fieldsofrecovery.com/post/moving-the-brain
When we cross right side over to left side with arms or legs or torso- and back and forth we are crossing left and right hemispheres- this has an added benefit to brain function. Coordinating upper and lower body has similar effects.
Positive Mental Attitude & Mood
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.
Capoeira tradition is 500 hundred years old with roots in the Portuguese slave trade. The training to fight for freedom, dignity and respect was concealed by dancing. In Brazil it was outlawed in the 1800's. It's continued to grow and change. Break dancing can trace its roots to Capoeira. The spirit of community and resilience is still at the heart of the practice. It is a celebration of community. Now, in a time of post lock downs, working from home and virtual communities, gathering in person for live singing, dancing and play is incredibly appealing.
At Kalahi Martial Arts Academy our Capoeira group is small, but we would love to grow it. Come try it out. The first week is FREE. If nothing else, you'll gain the experience of laughter in group.
Capoeira builds community with singing and encouragement. It's for all ages and abilities. It is multi- sensory, and this helps improve health wholistically.
Kalahi Martial Arts Academy is dedicated to creating community. Kalahi Martial Arts Academy is a non-profit, is supported by volunteers. We value the fellowship that comes from training and commitment to the practices we love that keep us strong and vital.
So if you want to build community, resilience, strength, flexibility, power and cardiovascular endurance, mental, physical and emotional agility all at the same time, this is the place to get it.
Join with your kids or do it for you and your one and only body.
Kalahi Mixed Martial Arts. Day Classes. Evening classes. Saturday class. Kids class.Ault classes. Beginner. Intermediate. Advanced. Young. Old. Fast. Slow.
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