Luckily for me, two of my passions, travel and capoeira, go hand in hand. In fact, I first found capoeira through travel. On my second trip to Brazil over ten years ago, my friend suggested attending a capoeira performance while we were in Salvador, a large city in the north east of the country with strong ties to Africa. I’m not embarrassed to say I was completely reluctant to go. I had a vague understanding of what capoeira was, and the little I’d seen in the US didn’t interest me one bit. Growing up I had zero interest in martial arts, so why would I start as an adult? But eventually she talked me into it and I agreed to attend the performance. Man, did I have it wrong! I was instantly captivated but the art, strength, movement and rhythm of this Brazilian martial art. Enough so that I wanted to check it out when I returned home to Los Angeles.
Once I was back in LA, I jumped on the internet, found the capoeira academy closest to my home and picked out a day to go WATCH a class. Yes, just watch. Ha! Little did I know that within 5 minutes of walking in the door, I would find myself actually IN the class, putting my right leg back, my right arm up and learning what in the heck a “ginga” was. An hour later I’d been talked into doing kicks, cartwheels and singing a song in Portuguese. I’m not sure if I got a better work out from the class or from the deep belly laughs I got from laughing at myself trying to do moves which looked so graceful on everyone else, but all I knew was at the end of class I had had an absolute blast. Not only had I taken a class, but I also felt welcome in a fun new community. Within a week I had signed up for classes and a new chapter in my life. I’ve been at it ever since.
Over the last ten years, I’ve developed from the awkward beginner who could not even do the most basic kick, to an Instructor who teaches classes to kids and adults in Los Angeles. As with anything you develop a passion for and work hard at, the journey has not always been easy. I’ve been tested physically, and even more challenging, I’ve been tested mentally. I’ve dealt with bruised shins, a broken leg, and most painful, a bruised ego, but over all, I cannot imagine my life without it. The friends I’ve met, the challenges I’ve overcome, the beauty I’ve seen and the fun I’ve had along the way completely outweigh anything negative I’ve come up against in training capoeira.
And what does all this have to do with travel, you ask? We always say that capoeira is a Brazilian martial art with its roots in the continent of Africa, but these days it is accessible from all parts of the globe. Since I began training, I often find my travels influenced by capoeira schools and capoeira events. I’ve made my way around the US and to Asia, the Middle East, Europe, South America and Australia just to train or attend a capoeira event.
I’ve taught classes in Lebanon, led songs in Portuguese in Abu Dhabi, and won a trophy in Germany. Even when I don’t have a specific event to attend, you’ll nearly always find my capoeira uniform tucked nicely inside my carry on luggage. It’s a great way to get in some exercise while you’re on the road and to meet some local ambassadors when you’re in a new city. Based on my travel experience, you’re never far from a capoeira school and a chance to meet a good group of social people who are ready to sweat with you in class then clean up and head out for a meal, a tour of their city and a place to spend the night. Capoeiristas (what we call ourselves) can be amazing hosts and have added so much to my overseas journeys.
If you’re have any questions about getting started in capoeira or some of the locations I’ve trained, please do get in touch. I can talk about travel and capoeira for days!