Spiritual Talk: Why I Do Capoeira

It’s no secret that there’s more to martial arts than fighting. Bruce Lee (one of my personal heroes) popularized the idea that, behind the martial arts that you see in movies, there is a deeply rooted martial arts culture of seeking your best self – mind, body and soul.

For those of you unfamiliar with capoeira, it is an afro-brazilian marital art that incorporates flow, energy and music. 

How I Discovered Capoeira

I first saw capoeira at a performance during a summer concert series I went to in LA when I was 18 years old. I was with my cousin Cassandra who almost immediately started taking classes after we first saw it.

At the time, I wanted to do capoeira but my ego told me it was “too cool” for me and not to even try it. It was exactly 5 years later that I finally went to my first class and I got hooked. 

Many people ask me, why is capoeira such a big part of your life? 

Capoeira not my career and I have a very busy schedule (practically a fully-booked life)! People always want to know, why spend so much time doing capoeira? 

This is WHY I DO CAPOEIRA – Capoeira consistently teaches me to be the person I want to be.  

What I Learn From My Capoeira Practice 

  1. Be creative and let your freak flag fly. When I first started capoeira, it wasn’t as popular and in movies like it is today. Most people still don’t understand it and because of that, I take it as an opportunity to “give zero ducks” of what other people think about me – and let my freak flag fly. Also, capoeira is not a martial art of forms like karate. Capoeira teaches “mandinga” or the unique way each person moves while playing capoeira.  
  2. Trust your intuitive flow. Rather than blocking kicks, capoeira teaches students evade kicks following a natural energetic flow that can then be used to bait or counter attack. Capoeira is more about having a physical and energetic conversation rather than beating the other person down (right away).
  3. Use unexpected life-altering experiences and suffering to build character. There’s nothing like a powerful kick being sent straight to your face that will cause you to grow fast. By practicing defending yourself through sparring, your mind and body have the chance to activate the sympathetic nervous system (flight or flight response). The more you tap into what your mind and body does instinctively, you can then train it to do whatever you want – aka. survive. 
  4. Happy community, happy life. The capoeira community grew out of an afro-brazilian culture that transformed repression into empowerment and celebration. Because of this, a huge part of the culture focuses on teaching to give back to the community and celebrate with parties. It’s through capoeira and other art forms like samba, that the community continues to thrive in deep tradition. 

More pictures of my capoeira journey: 

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It’s time for YOU to inspire – I’d love to know, have you ever tried something new that you resisted but ended up surprising you?

What do you enjoy most about and what do you learn doing it?