Capoeira is a Brazilian dance/martial art that I affectionately call “Warrior Class.” I discovered it via Groupon. I showed up to class having no idea what I was getting myself into and was met with an interesting assembles of rhythmic sounds, accompanied by a call and response type singing. The music enveloped the space with a quality that soothed; the same effect a good lullaby might have on a child. To my right was a 30-something year old man casually hanging upside down, bare feet up against the wall. I watched in admiration as he pushed himself up and down, dreads touching the floor in quite little thumps. Beyond him was a woman gracefully moving back and forth to the music occasionally flipping over and then beginning again. The teacher approached. He greeted me with a hug and said, “Welcome. First time?” I responded with a wide-eyed nod and smile. He chuckled and returned the smile, “Just follow along, you’ll have fun.”
The class began.
We started as a staggered group facing the mirror following along as the instructor did basic warm- up drills in time to the music. Surprisingly, as we stepped into the ginga (the move I saw the woman doing earlier) I didn’t feel that awkward. The music seemed to carry me and people were too friendly to feel that self conscious. I felt the energy of the song surge through the air as my eyes scanned side-to-side checking in with others to see if I was moving properly. After warm ups we lined up on one side of the wall and had to do a series of drills/sequences across the length of the floor. At first I was on my hands and feet hips facing the ceiling crawling across the floor. Then we flipped our bodies around, buts facing the ceiling and moved the opposite way across the floor. I watched as the others gingerly kicked their legs out slightly to the side, again time to the music. I felt silly like being a grade school kid at track and field day or something. I laughed quietly to myself. Next up was cartwheels and a series of moves I couldn’t pronounce or understand all delivered in Portuguese. I fumbled kicks, flung my body this way and that, trying to keep up and now feeling extremely awkward as the movements were alien to me.
At the end of 2 hours of training the iPod was turned off and the bimbibo came out. A circle formed around this wooden string instrument and I experienced my first roda. I watched as two people fought inside a circle throwing moves that awed me with a control that surprised me. It was like watching real live people enact a game of mortal kombat. I was good at mortal kombat; I wanted to be good at this.
At the end of the class the teacher asked me, “What did you think?” I replied sheepishly in a whisper, “Secretively I want to be a warrior.” He looked back straight in my eye, “I can make you one.” The next day I signed up for a gym membership.
Finish Her (insert mortal kombat voice),
A Warrior Princess