A year ago today I walked into ABADA-Capoeira San Francisco for the first time, and I had no idea about the path it would lead me on, one that I am still navigating today.
That first day of Capoeira was dark. It was cold. It was 6:30 a.m. While filling out the paperwork, I scanned the room and was intimidated by the other students who seemed to already know what they were doing there.
It had been over 10 years since I had trained Capoeira at a rec center on the Peninsula, and I was at least 20 pounds heavier. I could only vaguely remember the basic moves like ginga, queixada and meia lua de compasso. My kicks couldn’t even make it over the targets, let alone reach them. I felt like I was pushing my body through molasses.
Despite my lack of skills, over the course of the month-long session the instructor and students encouraged me to keep trying and coming back to train. So I did, first to morning classes, then weekends, then weeknights.
Over the first few months, things changed slowly, but surely–my body, of course, but also the way I felt mentally. I not only had more energy, but more confidence, especially at work. This confidence in myself propelled me to question why I worked so hard for people who just didn’t care–I was just a cog to most of them, no matter how many hours of the day I gave of myself to the company. I was sick of the fluorescent lights and cubicles, and the constant berating and doubts from a coworker and disrespect from clients.
Capoeira gave me a feeling a hope, that I could change the situation that I was in with my job. So I started planning how I wanted to alter my work life, but also my health, my relationships, etc. Today I am a hell of a lot healthier and more content with my life. I still have challenges to face every day, but they don’t seem insurmountable.
As a bonus to the mental and physical changes, through Capoeira I’m doing a little volunteer work, and meeting a great bunch of creative, caring and interesting people.
At my “mature” age, I want to maximize my training, so I’ve made some goals that I can look back at a year from now and see how much further I’ve come down the path. These goals include:
- learning how to play the berimbau (see picture above). If you’ve ever tried to play one, you’ll see that whomever created this instrument had a sick sense of humor.
- learning more Capoeira songs, and eventually lead one in a roda.
- improving my Portuguese, so I can understand Mestre Camisa without a translator when he comes to the United States.
- improving my game by playing more in the roda.
- accomplishing floreiras, like macaco, parada and ponte.
In the meantime, I want to thank everyone at ABADA for helping me on my way, from Mestranda Cigarra and Instrutor Corrente, to all the graduados and alunos for your guidance, help and inspiration. It’s been an awesome year and I hope this year of Capoeira is even better!