Monday, November 27, 2006


Style in Capoeira is bit of a missing element in recent times. Recent? I'm talking about the last 10 years or so. There are so many amazing moves being done today by capoeiristas, great interaction and communication being performed in Rodas around the world, but very few stylish Capoeiristas. Actualy, one can count the capoeiras with style on his fingers and without taking his shoes off. Its realy a sad state of affairs. The original, authentic, expressive feel capoeira once had is lost, and people dont even look up to the ones who still dedicate time and effort to polish their moves.
From my view, and I've been traveling around quite a lot in the past 10 years going to capoeira events around the world, most people are looking to complete the moves techniquely, but when it is done, they move on. That is actualy just the begining stages of doing something in Capoeira. You still need to put emotion into it, polish it, look for the cleanest, smoothest, sharpest execution. Lets not lose sight of what makes Capoeira be Capoeira. Contemporary capoeiristas need to learn a lesson from the Angoleiros, almost the only ones left in the Capoeira world that are still after the 'feel' of things and are not stopping at the point of perfect technical execution. Maybe the reason is they kept their art simple and though maintained authenticity and originality. With all the diffrent new things going on nowdays in the Capoeira world, how can we stop for a moment, and improve upon some of the most basic elements? Take a step back and look around. This is what will make you special and diffrent. Stop being one of a crowd, look for your self in the perfection of your art. Lets get back to those amazingly creative Rodas of the early 90th... See you there.


Krasnodarian said...

What style do you talking about, Ido? I would be glad if I could say that every school of Capoeira has its own face, the only feature which allow to distinguish it from others. But... From all that videos and live playings I saw till I started to practice Capoeira, I can only determine with a high probability by game style Cordao De Ouro and, maybe, Abada and Senzala. Although, maybe it's because I just haven't enough expirience. And an own style of game (or fighting) is a quality of master, isn't it?

Ido Portal said...

Hello, friend. How are you? Its been a long time since we've talked.
I'm talking about a certain trait that distinguish one man performing a movement from another doing the same movement. You can Ginga, and you can GINGA, you can do a macacu like a gymnast, and you can do a stylish macacu that looks completely diffrent, etc... Do you know what I mean? When you see a very good capoeirista (rare...) for the first time, and you just see him Gingando, you know right away he is good. How? style. I understand your confusion. A lot of people dont understand it. When you teach capoeira you dont just teach the movements and the interaction, you also give the students style. For us foreigners it is even more important because if we are allowed to develop in every direction with no guidance, our style will be more similar to ballet or another physical movement manifest from our traditions, it wont look anything Afro-Brazilian at all..

Krasnodarian said...

Hi, camara, it's me again. Thanks a lot, I'm fine - and wish you the same (it seems this american shit - Inholtra - at last did some cure for my poor joints). Of course I understood what did you mean, I just wanted to point out that the most of schools of Capoeira are similar like a twin brothers. In such circumstanses it's difficult to speak about any self-style. I believe that's because of european and american influence. Western system of education with its precise programs is wery useful to conveyor production of great number of good specialists - and they will do their job good, but they are faceless. "Hollywood smile", "take it easy" etc... if you understand what I mean. So I'm very glad that you are disturbed by such matters. Capoeira is a martial art. It's martial. But it's an art. ART!!! You can't be an artist without a sharpened by a hard training technique. But it's not enough. You may be good with a pencil and paints, you may draw really not bad, but it won't make you a painter - like Da Vinchi, Rafael, Van Gog, Modigliani, Picasso... To be something like that you must express your own vision of the things using your amazing technique, add your inner "I" to your creation. Else you may be good - really good! - professional, but not an artist.
Sometimes, when I see that somebody of my students reaches some progress in doing any movement/sequence of movements - just does it correct and in right time and place - I ask him (or her) "Guy, it's good, and now - try to do it beautiful!". Sometimes I appeal to them all:"Men, try to be artistic!" But they don't understand what I want from them, and I couldn't explain it them with other words. How do you solve this problem - maybe you have some methods to awake a creativity in people? I believe it's a serios direction to search.
Sorry for my English (yeah, I always wanted to say it!)

Ido Portal said...

Glad to hear from you again, amigo. You have some good insights there, you should post more often.
Back to our discussion... Getting people to be creative is only a problem with some students, and it is mainly a beginners problem. What I find harder to do is to provoke the right kind of creativity. Capoeira is a very wide & open art, but it has its limits. Creativity can be sometimes too much for capoeira's sake. For example some creative Capoeirista can try and sing in Russian or Hebrew in the Capoeira roda. This would be very creative, but not 'Conforme o Razao' as they say in portoguese. Its just wouldnt be 'right'. Exactly like that extreme example, you can perform movements that do not look like capoeira or are not from the same origin and feel. I dont like people to do Air Flares (Thomases - gymnastics element that you spin your legs around in a split position) inside the roda. It is just not 'right'. Just like that, I've seen people do some horrible Gingas that has to do with Capoeira less than Rossan Barr has to do with Diet-Coke. I do not hold the 'Capoeira Book of Rules'. Nobody does. But a certain 'feel' and traditions should be maintained or else this art wont survive. I'm glad the Angola movement still exist in the world. They keep us contamporary capoeiristas closer to the origin, even though we dont make the same choices as them. So, while provoking creativity, be careful! It is a double edged sword.

Ido Atlasian said...

Hey Ido!

Sorry, as I am no Capoeira expert but just a fan I cannot comment on your post especially, but I do love the name Ido and picked it up for creating a name for my blog, and I have always wanted to learn to do Capoeira.

I just wanted to say hi. I will follow your blog.

EdOpines said...

Amen. This is something I'm struggling with though. Sometimes I lose myself in the self-expression bit and my instructor has to remind to do my movements in the context of the other player. I really think about making my movements flow into one another but sometimes that comes at the cost of paying attention to how I can best respond to the situation. I just started looking at you blog but I already like what I see. I'd like to look through all your exercises so that I can work through them during the bitter winters here (Wisconsin). Thanks for posting your thoughts and experiences.

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