If you’ve been looking for a new exercise to spice up your fitness routine, you might want to look into martial arts. We know what you’re thinking – martial arts can get a little intimidating. But let us introduce you to Capoeira – a dynamic Brazilian martial art that counts Adriana Lima, Halle Berry and Gisele Bündchen as fans. Like them, you will find that there are many reasons to get into this unique sport. Here are five reasons we keep going back to the roda.
It’s a complete workout.
Capoeira will help hone your strength, agility and flexibility like any good workout, because the movements emphasise working your legs, arms and core. In fact, one hour of Capoeira burns about 500 calories. But unlike usual routines at the gym, playing Capoeira also requires improvisation and hence improves your reflexes. Getting into a game is as much about using your mind as it is about using your body, but you’ll have fun and develop a sexy toned bod while doing it.
It has a rich historical and cultural background.
Capoeira is an art that is deeply rooted in Brazilian history, and was in fact granted a special protected status as “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO. The practice was first developed by African captives living in Brazilian colonies in the 16th century, for whom it became a means for survival. Completely unequipped, a fugitive was able to defend or attack using this moving fighting technique that became known for its unpredictability. Since then, it has also become a symbol of freedom and a constant source of pride for the multi-ethnic people of Brazil who practice it.
It’s graceful and powerful at the same time.
If you’ve ever seen a Capoeira demonstration, you will no doubt be mesmerised by the fluid motions of its players. It looks like a dance, a communication between individuals using strong movements. Capoeira doesn’t just involve kicks, blocks, feints and counter-attacks – it is a combination of self-defense, acrobatics and dance, which makes it a unique martial art indeed.
It teaches you to move and play in rhythm.
It’s not Capoeira without the music. When a game is played, capoeristas form a circle they call a roda. It involves instruments that provide the beat that players move to while in the centre of the roda. Those who aren’t playing instruments sing and clap to keep the beat strong, and everyone is encouraged to take turns playing the instruments. What other martial art can get you a workout and music lesson at the same time?
It’s an expression of freedom.
It can be practiced by anyone of any age – kids, men and women. The basic movements allow for plenty of variations, depending on your own timing and pace. Masters strongly encourage their students to bring their personality and individual style to their technique. Perhaps because of this, you will often see players relaxed, smiling and having a good time during a roda – and you will also feel their energy is definitely contagious!
Known Capoeira schools in Asia:
Escola Brasileira de Capoeira (Philippines)
Capoeira Kadara (Philippines)
Axé Capoeira (Macau)
Capoeira Argola Ouro (Singapore)
Capoeira Senzala (Singapore)
Bantus Capoeira (Singapore)
Xango Capoeira (Singapore)
Capoeira Aché Brasil (Malaysia)
Movimento Simples de Capoeira (Malaysia)
Capoeira Luanda (Taiwan)
All images from EBC Philippines by Albert Labrador, Inban Cristales and Rex Gelisanga.