Or: A painful lesson in malicia
The first time I have seen this video I thought, yep, this clip will make a big round in the web and people will start discussing about how effective Capoeira is in a fight or not. I don’t think that people who dont know much about Capoeira should judge about it. I also dont think that comparing martial arts is a highly intellectual thing to do. So I wont go into this topic. I didnt start Capoeira because I wanted to learn a martial art. But I learned things about fighting and about life. And, as everything in life is kind of a learning process, we will now start learning from the mistakes our fellow capoeirista made.
I dont know where this video comes from. I dont know who that capoeira fighter is. I just know that he did some serious mistakes and that the other guy did understand a certain aspect of Capoeira much more than this guy. Malicia.
Mistake 1: Honourful Fights
The first mistake might be a bit controversial. I will try to explain this as good as possible. The first mistake I see is that our Capoeirista is actually there. Why is he engaging in an arena fight? I am not against sparring with a practitioner of another fighting style. And I am also not against using Capoeira knowledge in a fight (I am against fights, but once it happens, there is no reason not to use Capoeira). And I know that some of the old capoeiristas did go into the arena. So I cant say “You should never engage in an arena fight.” But an arena fight has certain rules and the people want to see something special. A Capoeirista does – or better did – never fight to show off, but for survival. Of course there were the old Capoeiristas of Rio de Janeiro who did also fight for being famous, but even then it was a matter of survival. Because if you lost in these fights there was a high possibility that you lost with a razor in your belly. And if you fight for survival, you dont care about rules. That is why even the play of Capoeira does have so many unexpected situations. This is why I trained to throw sand into the eyes of the opponent in my old group. When you go into the arena, you deliberately give up many chances to turn the fight into your advantage. The Capoeirista is the one who fights when he knows that he can make it or who fights when he is forced to. So for me, the Capoeirista’s natural environment is not the arena, either the streets (where he fights) or the Roda (where he plays).
Mistake 2: The higher you climb the deeper you’ll fall
The next mistake is pretty obvious and you see it in the first seconds of the clip. This Capoeirista is a show off. Yeah, of course he is doing some mad and cool stuff out there. But he is there, in an arena, and seems to think that this is the best time to show some of his Capoeira techniques. With this he raised the expectations of one half of the audience, and the other half started to loathe him, to wish that he gets kicked in the ass big time. And when he then gets kicked in the end, the one half is absolutely disappointed and thinks “wow, Capoeira sucks” and the other half says “yeah, you deserved it” and maybe “Capoeira sucks! This is the proof”. Of course we dont have to care about people and what they think. But with showing off so much he just raised the stacks. And the higher they are the deeper is your fall. Otherwise this youtube video would not show up in so many places. And this puts Capoeira into a bad light. Which I am not pleased with.
In terms of Malicia this mistake is one of the most often made. A person who has malicia would be very careful to show off with his talents. It’s not about humility – there are some pretty big egos amongst Capoeiristas – but about tactical advantage. The less the opponent sees you “jumping around” or doing whatever, the less he will know what to expect.
Mistake 3: Corpo aberto
Another big mistake our Capoeirista made was his way of approaching the other person. As Capoeirista you learn that while playing you have to keep an eye on your opponent. When you ever had an opponent with malicia in front of you, you learned to be alert and to not do movements which leave you completely vulnerable to an attack. And even if so, then you certainly should know at least one way out. In this video our Capoeirista did about everything wrong while approaching the other person. Acrobatics look nice but are the best way to get yourself kicked (or in this case: punched). He does do saltos and does see the fist only in the last micro second – and far too late. He didnt keep an eye upon his opponent and – and that is the worst – had no defense at all. Already in the first lesson you learn to always have a hand somewhere close to your face. Although it might not be used much in a Jogo, sometimes it is the last chance to not being hit in the face. When you cant evade an attack, you must block it or get hit. But his hands where noway near his face.
Mistake 4: Intermixing play with fight
And the last mistake I see is actually the most fatal mistake this Capoeirista made. He did intermix the Roda with a Fight. This fight we see on the youtube video is obviously not a Roda. But what does our Capoeirista do? He does things which are amazingly cool in the Roda, when your partner lets you do it. Actually, most of the time such movements do come only when there is time and space in the Roda. In a fight, you do usually neither have much time nor space.
People have to understand that the Roda and a Fight are something different. In the Roda, we are playing. In this play we learn a lot about fighting, but we also do a lot of other things. We play, we sing, we dance. And by the way, we learn important things about a fight. That is the safe area in the Roda. There we can play the game with all its floreios and all its different rituals. Outside, a good Capoeirista will not play, sing or dance. He will only fight – and for sure he won’t do many movements he would do in a Roda. For example: he would leave out the acrobatics!
I believe the Capoeirista we see failing so miserably on Youtube is actually a long-trained Capoeirista. He seems to be athletic, he knows how to do beautiful movements. And he is, obviously, very courageous. But here the other guy was just much more malicioso. He waited, watched, and took the chances the opponent gave him. So, my dear Capoeirista friends, dont worry about this video. Cause, whoever thinks that this is a proof for Capoeira being not effective and dadada, doesnt know what Capoeira is about. And we do actually get a lesson in Malicia, for free!