When Capoeira first landed on the yoga studio schedule, I read the class description with interest and trepidation. Dance and martial arts would require some sort of hand-eye coordination of which I have a lifetime of deficiency.
Weeks later, after the 1st session, my yogi friends rolled out of the class filled with enthusiastic bliss. “You have GOT to try this class, Juls. We did CARTWHEELS!”
Cartwheels? Did they say “CARTWHEELS?” To say that I was intrigued is an understatement.
A week later, after tutoring and getting my son settled in back at home with plenty of nourishment to get him through the remainder of his homework, I set off to see for myself what this Capoeira was all about. I showed up with yoga mat in hand (just in case), my I-heard-we-do-cartwheels enthusiasm, and complete naivety for what I was about to experience.
Class started with a series of warm up dance-like “exercises (?)” to this beautiful Afro-Brazilian music. It felt tribal. And I could almost see a fire in the center of the room which we were encircling. I fought back my long-believed notion that I am uncoordinated and played in follow-the-leader like fashion.
Before long, we were head-over-heels with cartwheel, kicks, and tucks. I found a smidgen of rhythm and clung tight to it. I started up an quiet mantra in my head: I can do this. I CAN do this. I *CAN* do this….
And indeed I was doing it—albeit far from perfectly. Even when we were paired up to “do the dance,” I did okay. But, when the participants all entered into a circle for final part of Capoeira class, the words “martial arts” rushed back into my awareness. EEK!
I watched the un-choreographed free-play in the game of Capoeira and felt my fight or flight mechanism kick in. It was saying FLIGHT.
I thought, “Good lord, why didn’t I read the class description?” This was not a cartwheel class. It was not a dance class. It was Capoeira, an “Afro-Brazilian combination of dance and martial art.” *sigh*
My turn was up. And I could not very well take flight. I needed to face my opponent and play the game. We held hands, bowed, cart-wheeling into the center of the room and…
I survived – unharmed.
Thankfully, my opponent did too. I apologized afterwards for turning a cartwheel after she called out “kick.”
Next time, I’ll be better prepared. As will my yogi friends — who now know that Capoeira is more like Capo-BEWARE-a when playing the game with Juls.