Capoeira: A Dance to Beat Ninjas
For those who love extreme sports and typically get their exercise from rock climbing, surfing or parkour, typical workouts just don’t cut it. Honestly, why would you want to hang out in a gym all day when you could be getting fit in exciting ways? One of the best methods you’ll find to stay in shape while upping your “extreme” game is known as capoeira. It’s a Brazilian martial art, and while you may not have heard of it, you’ve undoubtedly seen it performed. If you’re looking to brag at the bar about your ninja skills, capoeira is the way to go.
What Is Capoeira?
In the early 1500s, long before surfing the Southern California coast was even thought of, the Angolans in Brazil came up with capoeira. It’s not fair to say that the discipline is better than karate, jiu-jitsu or any other martial art, but for those looking for something they can really enjoy, capoeira provides more fun than you’ll find in other customs.
This is because capoeira has elements of acrobatics, music and dance all combined into the training regimen. This means that, if you enjoy music, are relatively athletic and can break it down on the dance floor, you’ve already got the building blocks of mastering this martial art.
Of course, everything goes better with bragging rights. The origin stories of Tae Kwon Do and other disciplines are probably very exciting, but if you learn capoeira, you’ll have everyone’s attention at the bar when they ask what you did with your day. This discipline was created by slaves so that they could survive should they ever escape into the dangerous territories that surrounded them.
When it comes to origin stories, capoeira is the Godfather II to other disciplines’ Howard the Duck.
The Rise of Capoeira
Capoeira has been around for hundreds of years, but lately, it’s gained more attention than celebrity iPhone leaks. In certain circles, anyway. One quick Google News search shows page upon page of recent news articles dedicated to the martial art from all over the country. And if you’re looking to find capoeira schools to train at, they’re available whether you’re used to the sunshine in California or the harsh winters of Maine.
It’s hard to say that this exciting martial art is just now gaining momentum. Any red-blooded American who enjoys Ultimate Fighting Championship, for instance, has probably already seen it in action. Anderson Silva, Conor McGregor and Marcus Aurelio all trained in capoeira and utilize its techniques in the octagon.
Just a quick disclaimer: If you do get into capoeira, which you should, we are not suggesting that you catch Anderson Silva in a bar and call him “cupcake” just to see what happens. At that point, you’d better hope you’ve mastered the dancing aspect of the discipline and that he’s mildly amused.
Capoeira Improves Your Extreme Abilities
Even people who aren’t into fighting methods can recognize that capoeira isn’t your typical martial art. It combines disciplined defense and survival techniques with the excitement of “getting down” to a good beat and making dancing look as good as parkour makes running. When it comes down to it, though, capoeira will also increase your ability at the extreme sports and adventurous activities you already enjoy.
You only need to look at the upper body and core strength that’s developed when performing capoeira routines. These moves require you to do rolls, poses and actually move around on your hands while performing headstands. All of this builds the muscles utilized in activities like rock climbing, and if you see those brave souls hanging by one hand from a rock ledge with nothing but air under them, you better believe they’ve done something to build the necessary muscles.
Of course, don’t go and try to hang off a ledge just because you took a few capoeira classes. You might want to find a rock climbing class while you’re at it, if you’re new to both sports. And if roughing your hands up on the side of a mountain isn’t exactly living the life you love in your mind, capoeira also teaches balance and body control. Seriously, who couldn’t use that when surfing or trying to walk home after a night at the bar?
It’s also worth noting that your speed and flexibility will improve with capoeira training. Whether you’re into adventure running, snowboarding or just want to try your hand at American Ninja Warrior, the skills improved by capoeira will help achieve your dreams.
Choosing a Capoeira School
When you’ve come to your senses and decided that capoeira is worth your time, you may need a little help choosing the right capoeira school. After all, if you want to pull off some of the moves seen in this capoeira video, you’re going to need the right training. And while the extreme adventures company that uploaded that video might be right down the road from you, not all of us can make it to Britain.
With that in mind, here are a few things you should be looking for in a capoeira school:
- Clean and organized facilities: Martial arts masters who put pride into the appearance of their facilities can be expected to put the same pride in their training.
- Length of time in business: Finding a capoeira training studio or class that’s been active for years is ideal. It is important to remember, though, that the martial art is quickly gaining attention. This means new schools are popping up, so you could also just ask for the trainers’ credentials.
- Do Your Online Research: You wouldn’t go to a skydiving school without doing a bit of online research—unless you’re really into taking chances. Take the time to research the schools and studios in your area.
- Set up appointments: If you find a few capoeira schools that you’re interested in, call them and set up an appointment for a tour of their facilities. This will give you an idea of what to expect from the trainers and studio.
- Check out the contract: Many martial arts studios, not just capoeira, require you to sign a contract before training. Do not let this dissuade you, but make sure you read it over carefully. Nothing can ruin a day more than finding out you’ve just signed away your first-born child. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
There are plenty of great capoeira schools out there. Then again, you could try to learn the discipline online, but honestly, who among us can avoid Facebook or parkour fail videos while we’re on the computer?
Have you had any experience with capoeira or is there another unique martial art you enjoy yourself? Let us know in the comments!