Ditosa. Joy, Happiness, Dear, Blessed.
I was given my Capoeira name last Saturday, after 12 sessions into this beautiful, graceful martial arts.
I was praying for a good name and I wondered what ‘blessed’ was in Portuguese. When Leao said it was just luck that he found my name so late in the game before Batizado, I say, nope. I am my name after all.
I was given my white belt, to symbolize that I am now part of the Kadara Capoeira family and that I am now Capoeira-ready.
My life is a colorful one. I’ve always had that uncanny ability to find colors and shapes and oddities wherever I go. On my birthday month, I felt this restlessness in me that needed to be satisfied. It wasn’t the birthday blues because I wasn’t sad at all to be at this point in my life. At best, I was at peace and grateful, at its worst I was just restless. I called it my birthday purples. I have in the past month, taken a pottery class, archery, and even batik painting.
I’ve invited my friends for over a year now to join me in finding a Capoeira class. But no one was quite interested to pursue it, until I figured, this is a good a time as any to do something I’ve always been intrigued with and never had the hutzpah to pursue.
I found Kadara Capoeira online and remembered when I was consulting for Vibram FF in 2012 that Coach Joseph Pagulayan and his team joined us at the Vibram launch. I messaged, asked a lot of newbie questions, and with a lot more uncertainty when I began, I went to my first Thursday class at Fisher Mall.
You. Don’t. Know.
#1 I am so out of shape that any physical anything is already strenuous for me. Of course may warm up. Nag jog pa around the gym. Nakow. Hingal ba kamo?
#2 I have no hand-eye, leg-hand coordination skill whatsoever. You know those fandango sa ilaw steps, where they teach you the foot movements first, and when you get that right, they teach you the hand movements next? I did well in each of those two (2) separate parts. Eh pinagsabay. Wala na. I still wonder to this day why I passed.
Capoeira is my same nightmare in a different gym. Foot work okay. Combine it with the simplest of hand movements, akin to walking naturally, I get lost!
#3 My memory sucks. And then there are combinations of movements. I know! I know! I got into this precisely because of its dance-like quality. I should have been prepared for complicated moves. Why am I now being such a baby about combinations of movements? Because it takes time for me to remember anything. I have to write it down, draw it if I must, and repeat again. And again. And again. Sabi nga sa Bato Papo, Rinse and Repeat.
We also partner off. My poor partners! They suddenly become student-teachers to this newbie slow one, that I have to apologize every time I’m partnered with anyone. But this is when I start realizing I will be okay – when whoever I’m partnered with takes time to teach me with joy and patience and love. Even the youngest at 11 years old, on my first day in his sweet tiny voice, tells me what to do and what I’m doing wrong and assures me I’ll get it right in time. I now listen to wisdom from 11 year-olds.
#4, #5 I have no rhythm and I cannot, for the life of me, sing. What? We have to rhythmically clap, and sing/chant. This is consistent with my coordination issues.
#6 The songs are in Portuguese. *longer sigh. My language acuity is deplorable. I work for an organization where I must learn another international language and I have been delaying it for 3 years precisely because I don’t learn new languages well.
Ano ba talaga pinasok mo, MARGARITA? Marami ang binigay ni Lord sa yo na talents, bakit ka nagsusumiksik sa wala kang alam?
So let’s re-cap in different languages how to say zero:
Coordination skills, NULA. Memory, SIFIR. Rhythm, JELO. Singing skills, KHONG. Language skills, NULL.
Batizado E Troca De Cordas
The past week, our mestre from Brazil and instructors from Australia visited us for our Batizado E Troca De Cordas. It was a week of learning from the master himself, and Capoeira practitioners of over 15-years. It was a joy to see them teach and demonstrate. It was truly a sight to see. But more than the technical skills, I appreciated the life skills they generously shared. And it wasn’t a put on, it wasn’t for show, these Capoeiristas truly live what they preach as you feel their sincerity to share this beautiful art.
That it’s not an age thing. Capoeira is not dictated by age. It is your personal journey embraced, accepted, and protected by your Kadara Capoeira family.
Trust the process. Submit to it. Show up. In the beginning, you may feel like an outsider looking in, where you take lessons from your seniors and your instructors. In time, you will learn to incorporate your own self in the movements, relax into it and by so doing allow the Capoeira to flow out of you.
Freedom of Movement. This was my first attraction to this art. People moving elegantly, gracefully, beautifully. And I see it in my seniors. If anyone wants to see ‘cool’ manifest, come to any of the Capoeira classes. They take their time, they are not flustered. They give. They take. They balance themselves, then proceed.
Capoeira is going to be part of my life now. Kadara Capoeira, my new family. Family, I may joke around, scream inside the roda (I’ll try to relax, promise) in fear or excitement, laugh aloud, and generally not be cool… but know that I only deflect my fear, embarrassment, awkwardness by trying to be funny. It is no way indicative of my respect for each one of you who have lovingly allowed me to part of you. I take the art seriously. I will try harder. I am trusting the process. I will show up. Rinse and Repeat.
But as a fellow (but better) newbie said, please continue to be patient with me. At ZERO, I have no other place to go but up, right? Right?!