My First Capoeira Class (Or: Joaninha Joins a Brazilian Street Cult)

11 01 2008

*to-be-Joaninha (hereonafter referred to as simply “Joaninha”)
*Joaninha’s father
*Joaninha’s sister
*Random British woman
*Teacher who taught first capoeira class
*Group of skilled, attractive, intimidating, tattooed strangers who obviously work out (hereonafter referred to as simply “Capoeiristas”)

Scene 1: Kitchen inside Joaninha’s home

Joaninha sitting at table, poring over KCC (community centre) summer program.

Joaninha (to self): Well, it’s July and I have another two months to go before university starts.  Seeing as how it’s not really my goal to become a professional couch potato by the end of August, I should probably pick something up.  Hm, what’s this?

Joaninha’s eye is caught by an interesting-looking word.  The intrigue piques her dormant yet awakening inner-English major.

Joaninha (to self): Capoeira? (with retroactively perfect pronunciation) “Learn self-defense and increase your flexibility to invigorating Brazilian music!” (or words to that as equally misleading effect)  That sounds like something new, and interesting.  And since it’s just a community centre program, it’ll probably be all “just for fun” and no pressure, nothing really hardcore or anything like that.  I’ll try it!

Scene 2: KCC Gym, one month later.

Joaninha enters and makes a few interesting observations during the start of her first class.

Joaninha (to self): Hm, the music’s pretty cool.  Wait, why is everyone in uniform?  Uh-oh.  And they all have belts!  What?!?  Okay, okay, class is starting.  What did everyone just say?!  What was that move they just did??  Alright, just running around the room now, that’s normal, warm-up makes sense…oh, the teacher’s starting to clap on beat—wth?!?!!

Joaninha’s internal panic system goes into overdrive as rest of the class does a cartwheel every time teacher claps.

1.5 hours later

Against all odds, Joaninha has survived both mentally and physically, along with one British woman, also new, who was never to be seen again.  Class is now sitting through wrap-up talk.

Teacher: So, we’re ending class a little early today so we can go to the academy.

Joaninha (to self): There’s an academy?!

Teacher: And Thursday’s class is cancelled—

(At this point, teacher starts talking about what turns out to be a batizado, which, unheard of by and unbeknownst to Joaninha, happened to be that weekend.  So, she heard things a little differently.)

Teacher: —because we’re all going to a tournament to compete against teams from the United States and Brazil.

Joaninha (to self): Whoa!  What?!?!  Okay, this thing is WAY bigger than I thought it was!!!  Holy crap, what have I gotten myself into?!

Teacher (to Joaninha, as people get ready to leave for academy): You should come, and see what capoeira is really like.  This is just a small part of it.

Joaninha (to self): Well, if I’m going to do this, I might as well make an effort to do it properly.  (to teacher) Um…okay.  I just have to call my dad. (for she does not yet know how to drive or take public transit, to her future self’s chagrin)

Joaninha (to her father on the phone): Hi…yeah…so…this capoeira thing…well, I think I may have gotten just a tad in over my head…It turns out they have uniforms, and belts, and there’s an academy, and international teams, and everything…but they’re going to the academy tonight…and the teacher said it’d be good for me to see what it’s all like there…can you drive me?

Joaninha’s father arrives with little sister, who promptly states she came along for the ride specifically to make fun of Joaninha. 

Scene 3: The Academy 

Joaninha, father, and sister have arrived at The Academy, which turns out to be in a not-so-good part of town.  Joaninha and little sister are dropped off, proceed down narrow dark path between two buildings into a back alley, and enter The Academy.  They both spend the next seemingly interminable period of time (the exact length of which Joaninha has no memory, beyond “long”) huddled sitting on the floor against a wall watching Capoeiristas mingle, mill around, and eventually hold a roda.  Joaninha’s first roda is entirely seen through a forest of white-pantsed legs.

An interminably long period of time later.

Teacher: So, what did you think?

Joaninha: It was interesting!  Yup, see you next class!

Joaninha and little sister leave and are picked up by Joaninha’s father.

Sister (to father, angrily):  Why didn’t you come in?!?  It was so scary in there!!

Father: Are you kidding me?? All those big, muscled guys with tattoos?  I’m not going in there!

Joaninha makes mental note to rethink next year’s Father’s Day present.

Father: Anyway, wait till your mom hears that you’ve joined a Brazilian street cult!

The end.

Joaninha's first capoeira roda



8 responses

11 01 2008

OMG, ROFL, WTH, LOL, words can’t describe how funny this story is. Must be the most original (and funny) ‘how I learned about capoeira’ story I have ever heard!

Thanks for sharing this!

11 01 2008

So funny, that I’ll decide to comment to it.

“The not-so-good part of town”….you make it sound like Brazil.

12 01 2008

You’re welcome, Xixarro, and haha thanks! =P

One reason it might seem original is just because anyone else who had a similar experience probably wasn’t masochistic enough to return, and thus never needed a “how I started capoeira” story since they ended up not doing capoeira at all. 😛

Lol, Philipino…or a Western frontier XD

13 01 2008

Hahha I think this is the 6th Time I’ve heard this story but I love this one the best XD and your dad…that’s one funny comment.

14 01 2008

Lol, well, you can’t say the title didn’t warn you! XD

10 01 2009

Hey Jo, just wanted to tell you I love this story. I’ve read it quite a few times and shared it with my friends. It’s really great. I just have to come back to it every now and again!

8 05 2009


Someone should make this into a comedy sketch. Wait till i tell your mother that you joined a Brazilian street cult xD Oh man

10 12 2010

haha! I get the feeling my parents thought I had joined some Brazilian cult too when I told them about capoeira.

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