Capoeira Angola

Dominique Landinez - Brazil


December 13, 2017

I was awaken by a knock on my door Sunday morning. I had just gotten home 3 hours earlier from a late night out. It was early. I reluctantly peeled off my covers and rolled out of my bed to open the door. The blinding bright light poured in and took me off guard. I rubbed my eyes and squinted, trying hard to focus on what was right in front of me. It was a blurry silhouette of my host mom. I could tell she wanted to ask me something but was indecisive because she had just heard me trying to creep back into the house moments earlier. 

“Você quer ir a roda?” She had asked me if I wanted to go to a capoeira gathering. My host father is a mestre and my entire host family practices capoeiraa brazilian martial art. I began training with them and made it my goal to get better at it. 

A smile spread across my face. “Sim!” 

Capoeira is a huge part of this family. Capoeira is less of a martial art and more of a lifestyle. It has become a sort of safe space for me. When I go to the trainings, I am able to unwind. All of my problems and worries seem to fade away; I become distracted by the outside world and instead, focus on interactions with people. Focused on playing the tambourine to the beat of the drum while also trying to sing along to lyrics in another language. Focused on not getting kicked across the face by a skilled 10 year old. On not laughing when they tell you to balance on your head or the sound of the berimbau as it picks up speed. Focused on your mom as she ushers you into the circle and focused on the interactions between just you and her“nobody is watching you, focus on the movements, focus on us”. 

And just like that, in the circle Sunday morning amidst dozens of people, I flipped her. I stood in awe, I could not believe the move I had just performed. I felt myself finally reaching my goal after hours of training. I had not realized I had improved at all, every training was difficult and everything still felt as though it was new. Sometimes progress sneaks up on you. Sometimes, you just have to say “sim”. 

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Dominique Landinez