The ups and downs of Capoeira life

I remember the words quite well. “Be careful, you are too much into Capoeira.” I heard this sentence sth like 2 months ago. In those days I bought my new berimbau, started learning new songs, new ladainhas, read a couple of more articles about Capoeira, and started a Blog, in which I write down things that are important for me as an Angoleiro. I was completely into it, again! It’s not the first time and I believe won’t be the last time I had that in my Capoeira Career. I remember at least 2 other times where I was on a permanent high. Usually those times were the times in which I learned most. The last few times I started learning how to move. This time I started getting into the music even better. I started getting nice, clear compositions on the berimbau (of course I believe my teachers would say something different, but I noticed the difference). But whatever the improvement is you get out of you Capoeira High, usually the high will vanish after a while.

I realized this last week. I was playing in a park, cause these days are the first nice and warm days in the Netherlands. And while I was playing I realized that I was not really enjoying it. Ok, it will definitely be due to the game itself, to the person involved and so on. But it was not only that.ย I also felt that I didnt want to play much. I just did, well, because I initialized the roda. I also realized that I dont really want to go to training these days. Today, for example, there is a training, and I am still in doubt. Maybe I should just enjoy the weather.

I think everything in life has its ups and downs. In Caopeira it is the same. And I dont really think that it is a bad thing. Usually, after having a Capoeira Down, I started getting a nice game, much more creative, much more interesting, for me and for the person I play with. The longest time I had was 3 months. 3 months of no Capoeira training at all. My teacher started asking me if I still wanted to train Capoeira at all. And the first game I had after this offtime was against a professor or contramestre (I dont really remember his name, just saw him once in a roda and played with him) and well, as far as I can remember that game was not too bad!

So my question to you people is:ย Am I the only one having this irregular ups and downs in Capoeira creativity? And what do you do when you feel an Up or a Down coming. Do you still force yourself to go to training although you’re not motivated at all? Or do you force yourself to do something else although you cannot think of anything else than of Capoeira (while you are having a Capoeira Up?)

14 Comments

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14 responses to “The ups and downs of Capoeira life

  1. I know exactly what you mean, mate. I’ve been going through a bit of a capoeira slump for a while now, and I’m trying to get myself out of it. Sometimes there’s really nothing you can do about it, and giving yourself a bit of time off is probably good for your game in the long run. Like you said, you can come back feeling refreshed and ready to rule the roda!

    Don’t get down on yourself about it, because it happens to everyone.

  2. Welcome back, angoleiro!

    I think I can say…without a doubt…that you are definitely not the only one! I’d almost say that up-and-down-ness is an inherent part of capoeira…as it is of life.๐Ÿ˜‰ Something I’ve noticed though is that mine seem to come in extremes…for example, I’ll have a high from one class where I play really well and manage to take down someone higher level than I am…then the very next day I’ll play terribly and get kicked in the head 3 times by a beginner!

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but to be honest I’ve never been *so* down that I haven’t even wanted to train…often my “down’s” will be due to thinking I’m not good or improving enough, so that only makes me want to train more, not less!

    And if I’m having a capoeira “up”…I ride it! Definitely wouldn’t want to “waste” it by trying to focus on something else (which I probably wouldn’t be able to do anyway) ^^”

  3. Same thing here Angoleiro.
    In my ‘down time’ I still try and go train, I tell myself I’ll feel better afterwards, and I usually do. Sometimes I’m so tired though I do stay home and enjoy … nothing realy.
    In my ‘up time’ I just ride the wave.

    The ‘down times’ are common these days; I just recently started playing again after a 3 year break. (changed jobs, got stressed, overweight, …).
    I hang on to my friends, who grew up to turn graduados now a day. And although they kick my fat ass and that might put me down, I find my ‘up’ in the fact I’m learning so much from them and realy enjoy playing with them.
    But I guess it’s safe to state I can’t live without it, no matter the bumpy ride.

  4. angoleiro

    woah… three years is a really long time. The good thing about the downtimes is – when you have had them a couple of times – you know there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it yet!
    well, I’ll go to training tonight, no matter what. And if it was too bad, I’ll let you know.

    P.S. Cantor, even with overweight you can be a pretty good player. So, no worries!๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Yeah, I’ve seen super capoeiristas who have ‘extra bagage’. I do plan on getting rid of it though, headstands and queda de rins realy hurt๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. angoleiro

    fair enough.๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Akira

    Generally speaking, my whole time spent on capoeira has been one big buzz. The only times I get down happens on a micro level similar to Joaninha’s i.e. I might feel I let myself down a little in the roda e.g. missing an excellent opportunity for a tesoura/cabaca/banda; executing a sloppy rasteira; poor footwork/ground movement. However, that just makes me want to get back in there and do it again! The bad feeling never lasts though and is only transient.

    Having said that, I’ve only practised capoeira for 1.5 years so maybe I’m still in the honeymoon period. What I’m really afraid of is losing the motivation to do capoeira when I finish my degree in the next few months. I’m heading back home where there is no exotic anything whatsoever – women or beer let alone sports! In the past holidays, I never practised capoeira because I get most of my enjoyment from the jogos with other players. Solo play/training really doesn’t excite me very much and no one back home does capoeira.

    How do you deal with your capoeira slumps over the years? Do you actively have to snap yourself out of it, or does it just go away after awhile and you suddenly feel like doing it again?

  8. angoleiro

    Usually the feeling just goes away. You suddenly feel the urge to play. And usually it is just at an unapproriate time – like when you are sitting in a meeting, or when you are driving in a car – far away from ANY capoeirista.
    and akira, dont worry. most people who are much into capoeira dont just stop doing it and that’s it. even if you go back to neverland you will have the urge coming up. especially there, because there is no way to release your tension (and single training is not really an option, it’s not a play after all). so if I were you I would start looking and asking around if there is somebody (ANYbody) playing capoeira in an area of about 50 miles around your place. I think that is still a reasonable distance to go once a week for capoeira (and yes, it is almost exactly the distance I go every week for Capoeira Angola training).

  9. During the 3y I’ve stopped, I too didn’t realy stop either.
    I stopped playing because I was too busy working all them time or worn out ‘coz of working. But I was still playing in my mind, watching capoeira videos, …
    It wasn’t hard to return though, it’s just damn too much fun.
    ONce you fell in love with it, it’s hard to let it go.

    And yeah, you might still be in your Honeymoon period Akira, but you should treasure this buzz you’re having, ‘coz it’ll be the foundation for many years to come.

  10. Akira

    Aye Cantor, I love capoeira. Allegorically, we haven’t left the hotel room at all yet. I’m definitely enjoying the buzz.๐Ÿ˜‰

    The problem is, I don’t even know whether the island I live on is even 50 miles from top to bottom! Finding a MA class is hard enough let alone something as exotic and new(er) as capoeira. The island has a dearth of culture of any kind. I’m going to be stuck there for the next three years of my life after getting my uni degree at the end of this (uni) year. 3 years of no capoeira might just drive me insane…

    Although I’m not back home yet, I’m already starting to contemplate possibilities of getting the early morning boat across to the UK and taking the train to Manchester before returning on the night time boat every now and again on Sundays. However, that would cost me over 80 pounds for just the one day… *Sigh* What am I going to do?๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    By the way, how was your training session mate? Did you still feel burnt out capoeira-wise or was was it more enjoyable than you thought it’d be? Or did you decide to stay in the sun after all?๐Ÿ˜›

  11. angoleiro

    yup 80 punds is quite an amount… well, dont give up. you actually just need ONE other capoeirista.

    oh yeah… my training on Tuesday: nice. I decided to go, cause I thought it would at least be a bit of a work-out. The training was ok. And in the Roda in the end I somehow caught the attention of the youngsters. What I mean with this: not so experienced young dudes with a) longer legs than I have and b) more muscles. Well, and as it is regional we were in a quite high speed. The only thing I could rely on was my experience and my endurance.
    It werent the nicest games I had (they dont even fall into the category “nice”), but they were perfectly stress-releasing!

    So you see, sometimes it doesn’t need much to get over a Capoeira Down, but you cannot plan it. It just happens, and when it happened, then you know that you are over it.๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Capoeria, Martial Art, Dance or just fun! I Got The Music

    Brazil always brings to mind ‘the constant party’…

    You always have the other side, otherwise how could you compare and improve?

    I’m into dance and music and was looking for different moves and inspiration for my t-shirts. I came across Parkour and Capoeira on youTube – and wrote about it at my blog. There is even a fun parkour film up from YouTube (if I did it right). You’re welcome to post up any comments it inspires!

    I didn’t know the word ‘Angloeiro’ until this post, so thanks for that. I learned ‘Traceur’ from a Parkour afficiando the other day.

    I think it’s probably the same as anything you enjoy, there comes a time when it’s ready to go to the ‘next’ level, but often you need an outside influence. Hopefully someone better than you, or at least at the same stage – so you can ‘challenge’ each other.

    When playing music, I would find myself in a similar place from time to time and you suddenly get a ‘mind click’ when you are looking somewhere else. It’s like the decision to do something professionally, rather than just as an amatuer.

    Where and how do you practice?

    Do you practice with anyone?

    Isn’t Capoeira more of a fighting discipline like Judo or Karate?

    Keep it up.

  13. angoleiro

    Hello Funkster, welcome to my blog. I hope you found some interesting posts here. I assume that this is one of your first contacts with the Capoeira world, and so I feel obliged to welcome you to Capoeira, too๐Ÿ˜‰ There are many people who think of fun when they think of Brasil. This is easy, with all that Samba and sunshine and beach life in Rio de Janeiro. Most people do forget that these “fun days” are usually payed by triple the amount of hard working days and that Brazil does have a lot of social and economic problems.
    I didnt get the “next level” thing? Do you mean that being an “Angoleiro” seems to you like a person who takes Capoeira to the next level?
    To learn Capoeira in its essence you need a more experienced person. Thatยดs inherent. This Art does make the student learn more than different movements. Itยดs a lot about music, expression, rituals, social considerations (especially when you meet other Capoeiristas) and so on. Such knowledge is better transferred from person to person.
    Capoeira is not a fighting discipline like Judo or Karate. I always say “if I wanted to learn a martial art, I would have learned some other thing than Capoeira”. Yeah, Capoeira does have a martial aspect and yes, you can hurt people using Capoeira. But it is more of a Game. A game which is hard to categorize (actually, Parkour is also hard to categorize). You have no point system and no set system of rules. You have no “golden way” of movements and the names of the movements vary from group to group. You have a kind of rule that you try to avoid hurting your opponent, but this rule can, under circumstances, be ignored. And so on. I think it is impossible for me to describe perfectly what Capoeira is. I would recommed you to look around in this and the other blogs I linked too, to get an idea of Capoeira. And then go to your next Capoeira class and get involved!๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Viajante

    Yes, I understand this completely, especially bc today seemed like a “crash” after a high. I went to a bday roda tonight and was just out of it, my game was not flowing at all. All this after a lot of training in the last month, a batizado I went to this weekend (and played pretty well at) and an hour long phone conversation with my Mestre this morning. But realistically I know I can’t be on all the time, and there will be ups and downs, just as so many songs tell us…

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