With that, Capoeira is the best to take up if you’re looking for a more holistic experience when practicing a martial arts discipline. You’ll learn to fight, sing, dance, and become an active participant in a realm brimming with rich history, culture, diversity and axé, or positive energy. Doesn’t that sound fun?
My journey into the awesome world of Capoeira began on a college road trip. I, along with a large group of classmates, was on a coach bus heading to a conference at a university in Mississippi. As fate would have it, someone popped in a DVD of The Protector (2005) and it was then and there that I watched a dreaded Lateef Crowder pull off a classic Capoeira fight sequence against the film’s main star, the relatively unknown-in-the-US-at-the-time Muay Thai practitioner, Tony Jaa.
Before long I found myself tuning into every major UFC PPV fight to catch the sport’s biggest stars—Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Rashad “Sugar” Robinson—in action. I always thought, “If only I could do what they could do!” I didn’t care about style or the hot-debate of which was the most effective; I just wanted to learn anything.
Fast-forward about 2 years later and I had been working as a Site Manager of an after-school homework, tutoring, and enrichment program at a middle school in Compton, California. As part of a short-term enrichment activity our company had, to both my surprise and delight, arranged for a Capoeira Instructor to teach my students once a week.
Talk about awe-inspiring! They did flips, handstands, a variety of fast kicks, and sung highly energetic Capoeira songs at the top of their longs. What I found most intriguing was their energy. They were tremendously passionate about their craft and overflowing with positivity and optimism. My interest in Capoeira had come full circle and it was then that I decided to get more hands on by taking part in a few classes.
By August of 2009 my friend and I had joined Mestre Amen Santo’s Capoeira Batuque in Culver City, California. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Mestre Amen Santo was and is a worldwide recognized Mestre of Capoeira, and was even the lead choreographer and actor in the famed 1993 Capoeira movie Only the Strong.
By June of 2010 I participated in my first Capoeira Batizado—a graduation ceremony for Capoeiristas—and received my first belt, a green belt.
The Capoeira Belt Test
The Capoeira Naming Ceremony
The Capoeira Belting Ceremony
In June of 2011 and at 24yrs. old, I received my green belt and was officially inducted into the Capoeira world via Capoeira Batuque: Culver City under Mestre Amen Santos. It was a proud moment of my life and I was ecstatic to have my family, friends, and training partners with me.
Capoeira in China
Nevertheless, I did find time to train on my own, spending a fair amount of time at a local gym and in the park. I’d bring along my phone, play a few Capoeira tunes, and record myself to see what I was doing wrong with certain movements, as Capoeiristas commonly do.