March 11, 2010

In Which Andrew Waxes Brazilian

It occurred to me at my capoeira class last night that, although I've been doing the martial art for four years now, on and off, I've never really talked about it on my blog. So here are a few fun facts about capoeira.

•Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art developed in the 17th century. The first capoeira masters were middle-aged slaves recovering from open heart surgery who wanted to make twenty-six-year-olds feel inadequate — a tradition that continues to this day.

•"Capoeira" is a Portuguese word meaning "this is going to fucking hurt in the morning".

•All capoeira moves feed into the basic stance known as the "ginga" (jeen-ga), so-called because it involves balancing a stack of wooden bricks on your head.

•Seasoned capoeira experts can do mad crazy shit, yo.

•Capoeiristas never "fight" — they only "play". It's just a game that involves a lot of fighting.

•Capoeira is always done to music, which is performed by a band called a "bateria" consisting mainly of percussion instruments. The word is the antecedent of the English "bacteria", because bacteria were initially thought to infect larger organisms with jungle rhythm.

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