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.