Archive for batizado workshops

What a Week!!

Posted in Photos, Updates! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2009 by testcapo

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We just had 4 full days of incredible workshops and batizado. What a week! Mestre Di Mola, Prof. Baiano and Prof. Indio came in for the event and added amazing energy to the event. Prof. Baiano conducted incredible music classes, we had an open roda on 24th and Mission and played a ton of capoeira!

But they weren’t the only ones to come visit us in SF! We had students from every single one of our chapters in the US and Canada join us. Chicago, NYC, LA, Seattle, Madison, Amherst, Minnesota, Winnipeg, and even Sweden. It was such a great event. But let the pics tell the story….

Here are photos from the batizado.

Omulu Capoeira Guanabara Batizado-San Francisco

Posted in Updates! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2009 by testcapo

Our batizado is right around the corner. Here are the details:

Wednesday, August 19th

  • 4:00-5:15 Music Workshop ($10) @ Aceituno Arts, 2141 Mission Street, San Francisco 94110 (Mission District)
  • 6:30-10:00 Capoeira Workshops @ Harvey Milk Center, 50 Scott Street, San Francisco, 94117 (Castro)

Thursday, August 20th

  • 4:30-5:30 Open Roda @ 24th st.and Mission st., 94110
  • 6:30-10:00 Capoeira Workshops @ Harvey Milk Center, 50 Scott Street, San Francisco, 94117 (Lower Haight)

Friday, August 21st

  • 4:00-5:15 Music Workshop ($10) @ Aceituno Arts, 2141 Mission Street, San Francisco 94110 (Mission District)
  • 6:30-10:00 Capoeira Workshops @ Harvey Milk Center, 50 Scott Street, San Francisco, 94117 (Lower Haight)
  • 11:00-1:00 am Celebration for Mestre’s 50 years of capoeira @ Aceituno Arts 2141 Mission Street, San Francisco 94110

Saturday, August 22nd (Batizado)

  • 10:30 am-3:30 pm San Francisco Batizado @ Harvey Milk Center, 50 Scott Street, San Francisco, 94117
  • 10:00 pm-2:00 am Party at Pena Pacha Mama with Fogo na Roupa (Carlos Aceituno’s Brazilian Bateria) $10 at the door

***Individual workshops are $30. Each day there are 2 workshops. The first workshop is 6:30-8:00 and the second is 8:30-10:00. (if you plan on attending only the second workshop please get there at 8:00 to warm-up). Batizado without the package costs $60.

Getting to San Francisco from SFO or Oakland

For those of you flying in from out of town it is really easy to get to the city from the airport. The BART (The Bay Area subway system) has a stop at the airport and you can take that into the city. Go to this website for further info http://tripplanner.transit.511.org/mtc/XSLT_TRIP_REQUEST2?language=en. This website works for both SFO and Oakland. This website will also give you the routes for the MUNI (the san francisco bus system).

Housing

As for housing, we are working that out right now. Once we get everything settled which should be within this week, we will have your hosts contact you.

San Francisco Resources

Also, for those of you out-of-towners, there are a lot of things to do in the Bay Area. Here are some websites that you can check out that will give you some good places to check out.

http://www.sfstation.com/ (General san francisco guide)

www.yelp.com (Great website that will give you great restaurant and shopping recommendations)

http://www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/

We look forward to this years batizado!

Instructor photo from lasts years SF batizado (2008)

Instructor photo from lasts years SF batizado (2008)

Don’t get kicked in the face and other tips for beginners

Posted in Capoeira Etiquette, Capoeira nuggets with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2009 by testcapo

by Trevor Gregg (Trovão)

Trovão, a veteran capoeirista, good friend and excellent writer, has come up with an excellent assortment of tips and advice for beginners. This is a must read for all capoeira beginners (especially with batizado on the horizon).

Batizado season is upon us.  Panicked and eager, beginners are crowding our rodas and academies.  Slightly off-beat clapping and mispronounced, mumbled lyrics ring in the air.  Gearing up for our own batizado, our instructors have been teaching a series of fundamentals workshops just to get the white-belts ready for their big day.  Aww, look at them doing their little cartwheels.  They grow up so fast!

Seeing beginners struggle, train, and play brings back vivid memories of my own long and difficult initiation in capoeira.  Making mistakes, and hopefully learning from them, is every initiate’s burden to bear.  I consider myself somewhat of an authority on beginner mistakes, not because I have any sort of talent or ability but rather because I’ve made nearly every mistake possible.  Many of them several times over.

A few things I’ve been taught, then, to help the next generation survive the coming months.

1)  When in doubt, do what the higher belts do.

Capoeira has few ‘rules’ per se, but makes up for it with a staggering amount of traditions, manners, customs, and obscure points of etiquette.  There are far too many subtle but important tenets to learn early on in one’s capoeira career, and there is certainly no definitive list of them.  What few customs are explicitly told to you as a beginner are but the smallest pile of snowflakes atop the massive iceberg.  The poor man’s solution, then, is to watch how the veteran capoeiristas behave, especially towards their ‘betters’.  Watch the way your instructor enters a roda when playing a mestre.  How do they buy in?  Do they show straight kicks, rasteiras? (Hint: no.)  Do they stop the game?  Throw palmas and elbows?  (Hint: No also.)  Pick a couple of high cords, pay close attention to them, and if they aren’t getting yelled at or kicked by the mestres chances are whatever they’re doing is ‘right’ and can be safely emulated.

2)  Escape, don’t flinch.

There will come a day when your instincts, sharpened by years of intense training and abuse, will serve you so well that a solid escape will be a completely natural response to any assault.  Whether it’s kicks in the roda, fly balls at the baseball game, water balloons, wild pumas, whatever, you’ll be such an excellent capoeirista that you’ll esquiva any and all attacks with grace and dexterity.  That day is probably not today.  Thus, you must make a direct and conscious effort not to just flail away from kicks and takedowns.  When another player comes at you, even if you’re surprised, do not flinch or flop around on the ground.  Swatting the air like you’re battling bees is not proper technique.  Instead, evade carefully and discriminantly, like you’ve been taught.  Choose an esquiva from your repertoire and execute it.  Did you do it perfectly? Maybe.  Probably not.  But any esquiva you can walk away from is a good one.

3)  Make your kicks count.

Every kick you throw opens you up to a variety of counterattacks, sweeps, and takedowns.  To minimize this inherent vulnerability, make your kicks matter.  Many capoeiristas, particularly beginners, have a tendency to kick too often and with too little intent.  Setting aside technique, the two essential considerations in an effective kick are distance and aim.  You can throw a textbook perfect armada, the kind of beautiful movement that brings a tear to your mestre’s eye, but if you do it when you’re fifteen feet away from your opponent it’s completely wasted.  At best it’s a pointless and energy-wasting decoration.  At worst it’s an opportunity for your opponent to pull out your support leg and ruin your evening.  A kick that’s properly distanced, however, forces the recipient to escape before doing anything, including kicking you back.  Whether you’re playing a beginner or a veteran, it’s guaranteed that your opponent’s priorities will be as follows:

1) Get to safety
2) RETALIATE

If they can skip number 1, it leaves them all the more time to work on number 2.

The second factor in an effective kick is intent.  Beginners are often overly sympathetic, which results in various sloppy habits: pulled kicks, ludicrously slow or stalled movements, and awkward roda apologies.  Forget all that.  Aim your kicks.  Strike to hit.  If you throw a clean, effective kick and your opponent doesn’t avoid it, that’s their fault, not yours.  Don’t mistake my meaning: intent is not the same thing as anger.  A kick can have intent and be still be controlled, courteous, even friendly.  I’m not suggesting you dive into the roda with murder in your heart, ready to lay waste to all comers and make a trophy necklace with their ears.  That’s low-class.  Simply make sure your opponent understands that there is a penalty, however slight, associated with not avoiding your attacks.

In the long run, effective kicks are just as important to your safety as good esquivas.  When you’re training, or playing with your friends, often times people will escape from your kicks even when it’s not necessary.  Don’t rely on this; you will come across people who only dodge when necessary, people who will take every advantage of your crappy kicks.  Getting the courtesy dodge from your opponent should be just as embarrassing as getting the courtesy laugh after telling a bland joke.

Don’t be that person that expects the courtesy laugh, or the courtesy esquiva.  He/she has no friends and is shunned at parties.

4)  Whatever happens in the roda, don’t stop.

Every beginner goes deer-in-the-headlights at some point.  Capoeira has a steep learning curve, and beginners lack both the vocabulary of moves and the understanding of the game to deal with every situation.  That being said, it’s always better to do something than nothing.  If you’re not sure how to react to what the other player is doing, just do what you know.  Ginga, au, kick, whatever.  However awkward and silly the thing you’re doing seems, it’s quite a bit better than just standing there.  Holding still gives your opponent an open invitation to force you to move, either by making you escape an attack or by pushing you out of the roda so they can interact with someone less catatonic.  Everyone, regardless of level, will encounter situations in the roda for which they’re not prepared.  It happens to me often: my opponent will be doing some crazy no-handed physics-defying backflippy thing that is entirely impossible to respond to and I’m left completely at a loss.  Still, I force myself to do something, ginga, floreo, handstands, whatever.  Waiting like a bump on a log, however, is not a viable option.

This point is especially applicable after a takedown.  Remember that a successful rasteira or vengativa is not always the end of the game.  If you’re a low cord, it’s best to let your opponent decide when or if to reset the game.  If you’re swept, do not lie prone and expect the other player to give you time to recover.  Sometimes they will, sometimes they won’t.  There are players who are as likely to jump on you as give you a hand up.  So get back up, post haste.  Laying flat with a smile on one’s face or giving your opponent a thumb’s up is not a valid defensive posture.  Role away, keep your hands up, and do whatever you have to to regain your composure and continue the game.

5)  Stop looking at the ground.  Seriously.

The ground will not kick you, but the same cannot be said of the person you’re playing.  Watch them instead.  Recognize that your desire to look at the floor is like a toddler’s security blanket; it might make you feel better, but is of no practical use when you’re in danger.  The sooner you learn to live without it the better.  Don’t be that weird kid in fifth grade who still can’t leave the house without his binkie.

6)  Enjoy yourself.

You’ll reach an important milestone, a day when the enjoyment you get out of capoeira finally eclipses the sheer terror you feel when entering the roda.  This more than any other achievement will help you on your way to greatness.  You’ll quickly find yourself more relaxed, more creative, and more inspired to play.  It is a game, after all, and you’ll play better when you’re having a good time.  The more you play, the more comfortable you’ll get in the roda.

So go play.

Capoeira Tourism PART 1

Posted in Capoeira nuggets with tags , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2008 by testcapo

My sister and I have done a lot of traveling together. She lives in Italy and we have gone to a lot of countries in Europe and I always seem to find a capoeira class or roda. When Palhaço and I take a trip down to LA or maybe visit my family in Chicago, thats right, we find a roda or capoeira class. Sometimes we hear the berimbau playing in the distance or we go online and try to see what is going on in the city we are visiting. 

This is what my sister lovingly calls capoeira tourism.

The truth of the matter is that there is nothing more exciting then discovering an open roda in a foreign place or scouting out a capoeira class in unknown terrain. Historically, I have found that capoeiristas overall can be incredibly open and really cool people when they embark on a visitor in their group. (That is, of course, if the visitor brings an equally positive energy.) In my experience, my capoeira brethren have welcomed me into their rodas and classes with open arms. In only a few cases I have gotten a little bit of an ‘icy’ introduction but after 15 minutes of playing and contributing to music, everyone warms up. 

Whats even better is, after playing capoeira, you have now made yourself some new friends in this foriegn land. After exchanging the typical questions of, “who do you train with?”, “how long have you been training”, and so on, maybe even playing some capoeira 6 degrees of separation, your new friends want to show you around town and give you some insiders advice on what to do and where to go. It’s quite fun!

Aside from making friends and expanding your capoeira rolodex, you also learn a lot about capoeira. When you visit other rodas you learn how to have deeper interactions with capoeiristas because often times the styles are different. You also find out that, well, not everyone is welcome to your presence. (Especially with the women.) But you learn how to work around that. 

Ultimately, practicing capoeira tourism is not only fun but you really grow as a capoeirista. Some of my fondest memories and biggest learning experiences come from visiting capoeira groups all over the map.

We have an opportunity to do some capoeira tourism in the next couple of weeks. Omulu Guanabara’s LA group will be hosting their batizado on November 15th with workshops taught by Mestre Di Mola and Mestre Preguiça on that Thursday and Friday. For our students reading this blog, this is our same group so you will not be forced completely out of your comfort zone, but it is still a different crop of people making the experience equally exciting. We will be driving down with a couple of cars so if you are interested, drop us an email.

Also, there will be a part 2 of my writing on capoeira tourism. There, I will give some tips on how to persue capoeira tourism that have worked for me. I will also give some examples of things that I have seen during my time in capoeira that DEFINITELY do not work and will, more times than not, have you end up getting your ass handed to you.

It’s Batizado Time!

Posted in Updates! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2008 by testcapo

Everybody, start planning for your week to get a little crazy. This is just the nature of batizado week.
Here is the batizdo info:

Both the workshops and Batizado will be held at Glen Canyon Park. This is the same location of the Batizado last year. Here’s the details:
70 Elk St
San Francisco, CA 94131

Get Directions

(415) 337-4705

Google Map =
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Glen+Park+Recreation+Center,+Bosworth+St,+San+Francisco,+CA&sll=37.784529,-122.445465&sspn=0.007657,0.016522&ie=UTF8&ll=37.73607,-122.440593&spn=0.015324,0.033045&z=16&iwloc=A

Workshops – 2 per night
Thursday, September 18th
Workshop #1 – 6:30 – 8pm
Workshop #2 – 8:30 – 10pm

Friday, September 19th
Workshop #1 – 6:30 – 8pm
Workshop #2 – 8:30 – 10pm

Drop-in Cost = $35 per workshop

Workshops will be taught by our guests, order being left up to the discretion of Mestre Preguica. Please arrive a least 30 mins before hand to allow for proper sign up and strectching before each workshop.

Batizado
Saturday, September 20th
Capoeirista arrival time = 2 pm
Batizado Start Time = 4 pm