Q: What if I have never done capoeira before?
A: You have to start somewhere? We start by teaching you the basic movements and you take it from there.
Q: I have never taken any type of martial art or dance class. Can I still try capoeira?
A: Capoeira does not require that you have prior experience on any type of physical activity!
Q: What if I am not flexible or not in best physical condition?
A: Don’t let this discourage you! Capoeira is for everyone!!! Young or old, short or tall, girl or boy! Of course, the more you train, the faster you will see results!
Q: How long does it take to learn capoeira?
A: Think of it as learning a new language. The more of the language you learn, the more clearly you can express yourself to others. If your goal is to have a conversation with someone that consists of, “Hi, how are you?” and “I am fine, thank you”, you should be able to do that within a month or two. If you plan to discuss world politics or philosophy, be prepared to spend more time learning the language.
Q: What language are classes taught in?
A: English, Chinese and Portuguese. Our instructors speak English and Chinese, and
are assisted in translation where necessary by students in the class.
The names of movements are taught in Portuguese, as well as song lyrics
and other important tools for communication.
Q: What should I wear?
A: For your first class, comfortable workout wear is fine. Should you decide to sign-up, we have uniforms available for purchase.
Q: Should I bring anything?
A: Open mind and positive attitude! Bring a water bottle.
Q: What’s the significance of a belt?
A: The belt is there predominantly to hold your pants. It also indicates your level in Capoeira. In order to get a belt, you must train regularly, and become involved in the group’s activities. In our group there are 4 main belts (green, yellow, blue, and white) and many intermediate belts between these colours.
Q: How long should I train to be eligible for a belt?
A: As a rule of thumb, students should train 2-3 times per week over the course of 1 year to be eligible for a promotion. There are specific criteria for the different belts, and these will be made known to you throughout the course of your trainings.
Q: What is a Capoeira Batizado and who can participate?
A Capoeira “Batizado” or Baptism happens once every year. It is an event to celebrate capoeira and to promote students to the next level. Our Mestre, Mestre Marcelo Caveirinha attends our Batizado every year, alongside other high level guests from overseas who teach interesting workshops. At the Batizado ceremony you can be awarded a new belt. Usually we have a big public event in which we play capoeira, and do public performances of other Afro-Brazilian dances and music.
The “Batizado” (baptism, in English) is a ceremonial roda where new students will get recognized as capoeiristas and earn their first graduation. Also more experienced students may go up in rank, depending on their skills and capoeira culture. In Mestre Bimba’s Capoeira Regional, Batizado was the first time a new student would play capoeira following the sound of the berimbau.
Students enter the roda to play with a high-ranked capoeirista (a teacher or master) and normally the game ends with the student being taken down. In some cases the more experienced capoeirista can judge the takedown unnecessary. Following the Batizado the new graduation, generally in the form of a cord, is given.
Q: What is “roda”?
A: The Roda (pronounced [ˈʁodɐ]) is a circle formed by capoeiristas and capoeira musical instruments, where every participant sings the typical songs and claps their hands following the music. Two capoeiristas enter the roda and play the game according to the style required by the musical instruments rhythm. The game finishes when one of the musicians holding a berimbau determine it, when one of the capoeiristas decide to leave or call the end of the game or when another capoeirista interrupts the game to start playing, either with one of the current players or with another capoeirista.
In a roda every cultural aspect of capoeira is present, not only the martial side. Aerial acrobatics are common in a presentation roda, while not seen as often in a more serious one. Takedowns, on the other hand, are common in a serious roda but rarely seen in presentations.
Q: What is “apelido”?
A: Traditionally, the Batizado is the moment when the new practitioner gets or formalizes his or her Apelido (nickname, in English). This tradition was created back when capoeira practice was considered a crime. To avoid having problems with the law, capoeiristas would present themselves in the capoeira community only by their nicknames. So if a capoeirista was captured by the police, he would be unable to identify his fellow capoeiristas, even when tortured.
Apelidos can come from many different things. A physical characteristic (like being tall or big), a habit (like smiling or drinking too much), place of birth, a particular skill, an animal, trivial things, anything.
Even though Apelidos or these nicknames are not necessary anymore, the tradition is still very alive not only in capoeira but in many aspects of Brazilian culture.