Capoeira and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

22 01 2008

(semi-inspired by Pirulito/D-cal’s paper, Zen and Capoeira)

The roda, a place of logic, precision, art, and beauty.One of my favourite novels is called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig.  The novel explains how art and science, or “Romantic aesthetics” and “Classical reason” are not so much two opposing ways of looking at things as they are twin perspectives that were separated at birth by the likes of Plato and Aristotle, to the detriment of all Western society today.  The split occurs because Romantic appeal is tied to emotions and subjectivity (something appeals or seems beautiful to you “merely” if you like it), while Classical reason is associated with objectivity, the need for a complete lack of emotions. 

In fact, argues Pirsig, you need both to do anything worthwhile, and to do it well.  You need to at once see the cold logic underlying an original Van Gogh and the flaming beauty in the mathematical precision of a motorcycle engine.  At the crux of it all is a concept he calls Quality, which is the point at which Romantic appeal and Classical reason merge.  It all sounds a bit weird and out there when I describe it now, but you must read the book to have a chance at understanding it all (and read it anyway, because it’s amazing!). 

With that said (sorry for the long introduction), it occured to me that capoeira is a perfect example of this unification of science and art.  The novel’s title is explained by the fact that the philosophy of Zen codifies exactly the concept of what Quality is, so you can imagine my excitement at recalling the following quotation, from Nestor Capoeira’s Street-Smart Song:

In the East there is Zen;

Europe developed Psychoanalysis;

In Brazil we have the Capoeira Game.

(Alright, so by “recall”, I really meant “was reminded of by Pirulito’s paper”. :P)

With capoeira, it’s easy to see where the Romantic appeal aspect comes in.  The dialogue, the movement, the acrobatics, the expression, the flow—ask anyone to describe capoeira for you, and it probably won’t be long before the word “beautiful” or a synonym comes up.

I would argue, however, that the logic and science in capoeira is just as easy to perceive as the beauty is.  In fact, one of the first things about capoeira that I fell in love with was the seeming perfect logic of many of the take-down or take-down/counter-take-down sequences we learned.  Seeing them demonstrated, to me they each possessed all the elegance of a succinct, devastatingly proven math equation.  For instance, a successful tesouro was a logical progression from an attempted vingativa, which itself was the jigsaw-puzzle-perfect response to an attempted quexada—based on body positioning, players’ intentions, opportunity, and the laws of physics. 

According to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the reason many people today feel detached from technology and science is because all the Romantic appeal has been taken out of it—emotions are not involved, everything must remain objective and separate from the individual, and test tubes, metal parts, and theories, etc. are not very attractive aesthetically speaking.  What we must learn to do, says Pirsig, is put our emotions and individual values back into Classical reason.  When tuning a motorcycle, for simplified example, he can feel the point at which the screw takes on the exact needed amount of tightness.  When he thinks of the motorcycle as not an object outside of himself, but something that he is engaged with and cares about, he has a much better chance of working on it successfully, and the moment he feels satisfied and at peace is the moment his motorcycle is fixed. 

In other words, one must work with defined principles on which the game is based, but in a way that makes it your game, that makes it personal, and if you do it right—there is nothing but the moment, and everything goes with the efficiency of a well-tuned machine that also happens to make one feel they’re looking at a beautiful work of art.

Sound familiar?

Picture source:
http://www.swps.org/wrf/artist_05/Capoeira.jpg

P.S. Just a note to acknowledge Blog for Choice Day, that today is the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade in the United States.  I haven’t thought enough about this topic yet to feel comfortable writing an actual post on it, but thought I should at least just recognize.





Lessons from Morocco, Part 2: Cultural Relativity and Other Issues

21 01 2008

Woman walking down side street in MarrakechIn my last post (Lessons from Morocco: How NOT to Treat Women), I talked about how intolerable I found the behaviour of many Moroccan men towards women in the streets to be, and set aside the matter of cultural relativity to be dealt with later—that is, now.  The issue, as my friend pointed out to me, was this: I hated the heckling and calling and kissing noises and so on because I wasn’t used to it.  For women who had grown up in that culture though, they’d be used to it and thus not mind or care.  So, since the men were allegedly all bark and no bite, I had nothing to worry about and should be fine if only I let go of my own cultural prejudices (i.e. the idea that everything they did was inappropriate and disturbing).  Even my friend, who although just as feminist is much more easygoing and laid-back than I am, said she didn’t mind as much towards the end of the trip, whereas I was more sick of it than ever.

My response to this is: it doesn’t matter if you’re used to it or not; it’s the principles and the ideas behind the actions and reactions that matter.  Cultural relativity only works to a certain extent, and past that you could very easily find yourself arguing for letting people get away with murder.  There are many cultures around the world that harbour certain practices, such as female circumcision/genital mutilation in Africa, polygamy and sexual/sexual child abuse in Canadian and American towns such as Bountiful, and the abandonment or killing of female babies in China.  These things are all culturally or religiously entrenched practices, and accepted as normal by the people within each culture, but clearly, that doesn’t make them right.

Alright, so if cultural relativity doesn’t make the men’s and boys’ behaviour in Marrakech right, why, exactly, is their behaviour wrong? 

My very first instinct would be to say it’s wrong because of how it made me feel—unsafe, uncomfortable, and vulnerable everywhere I went, no matter when or where.  That should be enough; it’s why bullying isn’t allowed in schools, isn’t it?  However, cultural relativity does create some leaks in this one.  As mentioned above, I only felt the way I did because I wasn’t used to experiencing that sort of behaviour on a daily (read: minutely) basis.  So, since I was (supposedly) never in any real harm, I had no major reason to feel unsafe/uncomfortable/vulnerable and thus my feelings alone, as a reason on their own, polemically speaking, might not be enough to condemn the behaviour as wrong.

Taking my emotions out of the equation then, why is it still wrong?

Moroccan man in Marrakech souks (market streets), possibly catching Joaninha in 100% tourist mode

I really struggled to answer this question in a way that would hold water rationally and objectively.  In the process, I came up with several smaller points that backed up my main one, even if I didn’t know exactly what that was, yet:

1. It objectifies women.

The idea that it’s acceptable to call at and suggestively greet random women in the streets wherever they go implies that women are ever things to be looked at and commented on, as if we were not touring a foreign city or going out to dinner, but deliberately parading ourselves in front of the men/teenagers/boys clustered on the sidewalks.  You know that feeling you have when someone is staring at or watching you, even if you don’t see them?  Imagine being permanently in that state, and change the staring to leering.  Welcome to Marrakech! 

2. It degrades and demeans women.

After about two days, I realized part of why the calling, etc., bothered me so much.  Even if the men did not seriously believe their behaviour would get them what they wanted (although who knows), underlying it all was the idea that they would call, coo, or whistle, and we (women) would come.  Like we were animals.  Or infants, or children, come to think of it.  This reminds me of my “Playing Women in the Roda” post, where I said the “Chauvinist Theory” equated women capoeiristas to beginner capoeiristas; and of the incident where MSNBC’s Chris Matthews pinched Hillary Clinton on the cheek.  It’s the idea that just because we are female, we are somehow less than full or full(y) qualified persons, and can be treated accordingly.

3. It alienates and encourages self-oppression of women.

On our second last night in Marrakech, we met three other women our age and shared a laugh over the mass idiocy we’d all had the good fortune to experience.  Then, they said something that completely chilled and disturbed me.  At one point during their trip, they told my friend and me, they’d gotten so fed up with all the unwanted male attention that they decided to wear headscarves, like many Muslim women in the country do.  And you know what?  The attention, according to them, decreased dramatically. 

To me, that’s even worse than if the attention had gone on as usual.  What’s being said here is not only “You are available for heckling because you are a woman”, but “You are available for heckling because you are a woman with the audacity to leave your face/hair/head bared and not cover yourself.”  I get the feeling not wearing a headscarf in Marrakech might possibly have been the equivalent of wearing a revealing top in North America, which brings us back to the idea of men assuming women are looking/asking for it just because of something they wear (or in this case, don’t wear).  (SeeWomen, Men, and Brazilian Bikinis“).  It didn’t help that while trying to sell her one, a shopkeeper put a scarf around my friend’s head, almost as if to veil her, saying, “This is how our women wear their scarves.”  While we’re on the topic, not that it should matter, but my friend and I were in long-sleeves and pants for the entire trip.  We didn’t even bother with T-shirts, even though it was around 20 degrees Celsius or hotter each day.

Shops in Djemma el Fna, main market square in Marrakech

After looking over all those points together, the answer to my question became obvious, and was much simpler than I thought it was, which is probably why I had such a hard time pinpointing it at the beginning:

I wasn’t heckled because I was me, Joaninha, “English major and obsessed capoeirista”.  I wasn’t heckled just because I’m Asian (though if I hear “Konichiwa” ONE more time…).  I wasn’t heckled just because I’m a tourist—by shopkeepers, yes, but not random men on the street.  If someone exactly like me went on my trip in Morocco, only male, they would not have been bothered nearly as much (although it’s true I can’t speak for any gay male populations in the country…).  The shopkeepers’ heckling didn’t bother me as much by the end of the trip, because I learned to distinguish it from purely male heckling.  Fair enough: they wanted to sell things, I was a tourist, it was likely I was interested in buying things.  The male heckling, though, was not fair at all: they wanted something, I was a woman, but it was not likely I might be interested in that thing.

In short, the majority of the heckling was purely sex-based.  (And I mean sex in all senses of the word.)  That’s why it’s wrong.  Isn’t there something out there that says it’s wrong to discriminate in words or actions based on gender, race, or religion?  Oh yeah—it’s called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

So, it doesn’t matter if you’re used to it or not.  Harassment is still harassment.  Even if it’s not supposed to mean or lead to anything more than an annoyance (albeit a deep, implications-filled annoyance), it’s the ideas and mentality behind the bark that opens the way to it becoming a bite.  Sure, nothing happened to my friends and I, but that’s just it—nothing happened, and we still felt intensely uncomfortable; imagine what it must be like for all the girls and women in the world to whom something does happen?  If the base level of appropriateness in North America is common decency and respectful behaviour, and rapes and assaults still happen, what are the chances of such incidents occurring when the base level of appropriateness in a culture already constitutes verbal harassment? 

Maybe you might say that the rapes and assaults happen precisely because North American men don’t have the “outlet” of heckling women everyday in public, and so are repressed and thus burst from it in more explosive ways, but that idea, ignoring its own lack of merit, again is based on the idea of men “not being able to control themselves”, which is about as vendible as Peter Mans Bridge.

Anyway, I’m glad that I went to Morocco.  It was a really interesting trip, still fun, memorable, and full of new and different experiences.  I’m even glad for the heckling and all that, kind of, because it made me see and feel for real exactly what I’ve been talking about all along on this blog, which I think will contribute to Mandingueira in the long run.

Tomorrow, pure capoeira!

Update: Hmm, so it seems I’ve offended a person with ties to Morocco, according to a comment I received.  Alright, I guess I could have been more careful not to make such wide generalizations (e.g. “Moroccan men”), but something about the comment tells me that wasn’t what he was concerned about.  Oh well; all the blogging experts say you haven’t made it until someone hates you, so maybe this is a good sign? 😛 

Update 2: Aaaaaand…now I have incoming links from Morocco sex and prostitution sites.  That might explain it…





Lessons from Morocco: How NOT to Treat Women

19 01 2008

Marrakech at night 

When I first started writing this blog, it was because I thought it would be a good way of combining, interest, passion, work experience (you never know), and activism. However, all this time that I’ve been writing, especially on the feminist side of things, everything has just come out from my head, things I thought or ideas based on how I saw the world around me, with what little experience I’ve had. Even though I felt strongly about the topics I wrote on, the process of writing each entry was more of a mental pursuit than anything else (as opposed to an emotional or a personal pursuit). Like I said in one of my earliest entries, while I believe it’s important to bring attention to capoeira from a feminist perspective, I myself have never personally experienced sexism in capoeira; I’ve yet to truly enter the workforce to face the glass ceiling; and I’ve had to deal with little else in my everyday life.

Then, I went to Morocco.

It wasn’t horrible. The sights were striking, the scenery was different, the food was cheap and amazing, and it was all very interesting and something to experience. However, I don’t know if all of that makes up for the deep, ugly gash that is the flaw in Moroccan (male) culture.

[Note: I’ve gone over some of this already with my friend who came here with me, and she did bring up the point of cultural relativity, so I do realize it exists, but I’m going to put that aside for now.]

Basically, my friends and I could not go for three minutes—if even that—without getting called at, whistled at, heckled, followed, harassed, come on to, yelled at, beckoned to, hit on, sworn at (because we so rudely weren’t interested), and generally just bothered and interacted with very unsettlingly and annoyingly. 3 minutes.

It was unavoidable, and the men were everywhere. I’m sure “A woman’s place is in the house” is alive and well in Morocco, because no matter where we were and looked in the city (Marrakech, the capital), especially in the old/central part, Medina, about 80-90% of the people you see are men, teenage guys, or boys. I’m not exaggerating. What’s more, they don’t seem to have lives or livelihoods or anything better to do than hang around storefronts or sit on steps and call out slimy greetings to young female tourists who walk by. I am dead serious about this: they’re not in the middle of doing something (although many others who also harassed us were, like shopkeepers), and they’re not just passing by (although many who did just pass by took liberties as well, such as motorcyclists, car drivers and passengers, and pedestrians, who kindly thought we were worth full 180-degree head turns for maximum oglingage as they walked by). They lined sidewalks, lined marketplace aisles, and lined streets, almost as if they were waiting for us, or anyone young with that extra X-chromosome.

And they lined alleyways. Dark, lonely alleyways that my friends and I found ourselves going through when we got lost on our first night, on the way back to our hostel. We didn’t have a choice; it was the only (straightest, quickest, and nearest) way back, and at that hour pretty much all the side streets in Marrakech become dark, lonely alleys. There were several instances when we had to walk in between groups of loitering guys on either side, and speaking for all of us, I truly thought getting mugged or worse was a completely real possibility on at least 5-8 separate occasions that night (read: hour).

There were four of us at the time; we’d traveled in pairs and had met each other at the hostel by accident—so imagine if there’d been only two? (One isn’t even worth thinking about—women and girls, do not travel to Morocco alone! Listen to this especially if you’ll be an obvious tourist, or are young/pretty, and go alone under no circumstances if you have blonde hair. My friend got groped or almost-groped about 4 times in the street—our only instances of actual physical harassment—and it’s very well-known in Europe that most men there and nearby—i.e. northern Africa—love blondes.) [Update: Please see Comments for critique and qualification of this “advice”.] I have never felt so unsafe in my life, and my friend said something so striking and telling afterwards that I’m going to repeat it here:

“Never, in my life, have I ever felt soawkward—being a woman.”

I, on the other hand, after three days, had never wanted to deck anyone more in my life. Everything about this whole experience made it crystal clear to me that my blog isn’t just a waste of time or pointless stirring up of old and tired issues. They are old and tired for a reason. The only reason my friends and I were bothered so much is because we were female tourists (so twice-easy targets) who happened to be “unchaperoned” by any males. We came across other tourists during our time in Marrakech, and the predominant thought in my head every single time I saw an elderly couple, or a family, or a co-ed group of young adults was that they were probably enjoying a completely different tourist experience than my friends and I were, and I still cannot get over the discrepancy.

Do you recall the Comments section of my “Women, Men, and Brazilian Bikinis” post, where Xixarro said, “We can’t be expecting women to go thank every man that passes her ‘normally’, can we”?  Well, it is so bad here, the harassment is so frequent and omnipresent, that every time we passed a man walking towards us, all I would think was, “Please don’t say anything. Please don’t bother us. Please don’t come near us”; and when the man passed without incident, we really DID feel compelled to genuinely thank him for “acting normal”!  It was ridiculous; a man just gave us directions to somewhere without pressuring us to follow him or attempting to stick to us, and we spent the next five minutes exclaiming over how nice he was.

So, what have I learned from this experience? Well, I’ve learned not to look around freely anywhere—because if you accidentally make even the slightest bit of eye contact with a guy, they will react and do or say something unwanted (even 10-year old boys! That’s what they learn). I’ve learned to not smile, because as my friend observed, “Don’t smile. You’ll be a target if you look too happy.” (Most likely because then we’d not only be perceived as Western hussies, but drunk Western hussies.) I’ve learned what it’s like to feel truly unsafe just because of who I am, and what it’s like to seem a minority of 10% because of something I share with 50% of all human beings.

The most frustrating thing of all was that each time I got close to or beyond snapping point, my friend would tell me to calm down because “you can’t change things”—because she was right, it wasn’t just the fact of the matter itself that infuriated me, it was the idea of “this is just how it is” on top of that. But I don’t want to believe that things can’t be changed, because where do you go from there? Nowhere, unless down. Even if I don’t know for sure whether or not things can be changed (although I may have my own sneaking suspicion), thanks to this trip, I now know, believe, think, and feel that they must be.

Which brings me back to this blog.

Update: Click here to read Lessons from Morocco, Part 2: Cultural Relativity and Other Issues





Videos: Maculelê

18 01 2008

Dear reader, please play the following clips of maculelê performances for your viewing pleasure!

With grimas: 

With facãos: 

Maculelê roda:

Click here to see other posts in Capoeira é Dança





Capoeira é Dança, Part 1: Maculelê

17 01 2008

Welcome to Part 1 of Mandingueira’s newest series, Capoeira é Dança!  Maculelê has always been one of my absolute favourite things about capoeira since the first day I saw it (“That’s even cooler than the backflips!”), and I hope you enjoy finding out more about this spellbinding dance as much as I did!   

Myths and Legends

Maculelê may have been named for a village hero who single-handedly fought off an enemy tribe.Maculelê has its origins steeped in waters as murky as those which surround the origin of capoeira. Some say it came from Africa. Some say it came from indigenous Brazil. One story features slaves on a sugarcane plantation; another features two tribes at war. What is agreed, however, is that maculelê is a warrior dance—clashing blades, flying sparks, and heroic movements all blend together in a whirlwind performance against the pounding of hypnotic drums.

One of the most popular origin stories of maculelê attributes it to African slaves working on the sugarcane plantations in Brazil. The maculelê sticks were to represent stalks of sugarcane, and machetes the large knives used to cut them. Slaves, according to this theory, either formed the dance for entertainment in the fields or senzalas while resting between work, with the dance movements representing the motions of cutting sugarcane; performed it to vent their anger and frustration; or, like capoeira, practiced it as a form of self-defense disguised as a dance, later using the sticks, knives, and movements to protect themselves from physical punishment. Maculelê performances have also been known to use flaming torches in place of sticks or machetes; these represent the sticks some say slaves used to fight their “captains”, which were pulled, still burning, from the fire.

The other principal version of maculelê’s origins features a village hero, and there are variations even within this. As the story goes, all the men of a village went hunting and fishing one day, and left only one man or one boy to protect the rest of the village (i.e. women, children, and the elderly). An enemy village attacked, and the hero fought them all off with only a pair of wooden sticks he picked up off the ground. In some versions he dies in the attempt, but always when the rest of the village men return, they celebrate his bravery and spirit, creating the dance of Maculelê (possibly the hero’s name) in his honour. This story is said by some to have taken place in Africa, and one source goes so far as to give specifics: it was not one man, but 22, and they were from a village in Nigeria.

Maculelê

Finally, maculelê seems to be partly yet very strongly rooted in the indigenous culture of Brazil. Popular Brazilian legends tell the same tale of a sole man or boy fighting off an entire enemy tribe and saving his own, then being celebrated in the dance of maculelê. According to one, the battle was actually part of an ongoing conflict between two tribes, a warlike one and a peaceful one. The latter could not defend themselves against repeated attacks by the former, until during one attack, a young boy named Maculelê ran around with such ferocious energy holding two sticks in his hand that the warlike tribe never came back.

There is much talk of African culture having mixed with Brazil’s indigenous culture in the creation of maculelê, especially as the dance resembles some Brazilian aboriginal ones. A study by Manoel Querino, on the other hand, claims that maculelê was actually derived from the Cucumbi natives in Angola, whose battle traditions involved a “more elaborate and complex warrior dance” that “included group dance formations simulating actual combat”.

That’s it for how maculelê came to exist in the first place, but what happened after? How did this “dance of sticks” migrate from indigenous tribes, whether in Africa or Brazil, into the academies and performances of capoeira schools today?

All the World’s a Stage

Maculelê is performed as a popular part of many festivities in Santo Amaro.That would be thanks to one Paulino Alusio de Andrade, also known as Mestre Popo do Maculelê, in the city of Santo Amaro. Apparently, Mestre Popo first used the movements of this near-forgotten dance in the street, with a friend to attract the attention of women. Then, he gathered family and friends in 1943 in order to teach them maculelê based on his memory. He refined and revived it through a folkloric dance company called Conjunto do Maculelê de Santo Amaro, with the intention of reintroducing maculelê in local religious festivals. As a result, Mestre Popo is now considered by some to be the father of maculelê in Brazil.

If Mestre Popo is the father, Santo Amaro may well be the home. A city in interior Bahia, Santo Amaro is known for its African cultural heritage, which strongly includes maculelê. Incidentally (or perhaps not so incidentally), Santo Amaro is apparently also known for “the green of its sugarcane fields”. It’s not surprising then to hear that maculelê is supposed to have developed in the sugarcane fields of Santo Amaro, where the dance has been performed in local festivals for over 200 years. It is a leading number in the Nossa Senhora de Purificacao (Our Lady of Purification) festival every February, and plays a role in other religious and harvest festivities as well.

Although no one knows exactly how old maculelê is, the role it played in Santo Amaro is unmistakeable, with records such as the following newspaper obituary, published in O Popular, December 10, 1873:

“On the first of December the African Raimunda Quiteria passed away at the age of 110.  In spite of her age, she still used to cut the grass and sweep the front and back of the ‘Church of Purification’ for the maculelê festival.”

The popularity of maculelê declined after the abolition of slavery in 1888, coinciding with the death of great maculelê masters in the early 1900s, until it was revitalized by the efforts of Mestre Popo (purely for the tourism, one source claims). Now, the dance takes centre stage once again, especially among festivities in northeastern Brazil.

Maculelê performance by a capoeira grupo

As for maculelê’s association with capoeira, this supposedly began in the 1960s, through the students of Mestre Bimba. Many capoeira groups today incorporate maculelê into their schools due to its similar Afro-Brazilian roots to those of capoeira.

Dance this Dance

Maculelê dancers using machetes, or facãosMaculelê is immediately recognizable for its dramatic, expressive motions, high-energy performances, spectacular choreography (if applicable), and mesmerizing rhythms. The sticks, called grimas, were originally 24 inches long and 1 1/8 in. thick, but today have a range of 12-20 inches. Traditionally, grimas are made of biriba wood, the same used to make berimbaus. Maculelê knives, normally machetes, are called facãos, and they were traditionally around 40cm long (about 16 inches).

The dance is performed to a 4-count rhythm: for three beats, players strike their own sticks (or knives, or flaming torches) together in combination with expressive and athletic movements, and every fourth beat, partners strike their right-hand sticks together. Grass skirts are normally worn for performances, and sometimes bodies are painted. Although today many maculelê performances are choreographed and have dancers performing movements individually in straight lines, true maculelê is done in a roda just like capoeira is. Someone begins singing, then two people enter and begin to play. According to one source, the original basic step of maculelê was a “broken gingado” similar to that found in frevo, but through the years has been turned into “a hardened ginga with little swing”.

Maculelê by Grupo Abada CapoeiraMaculelê songs are sung mostly in Portuguese as well as in Yoruba, one of the languages spoken by the African slaves in Brazil. Songs can lament working in the sugarcane fields, celebrate the abolition of slavery, recall the bravery of the hero Maculelê, or evoke the battles of Brazil’s indigenous peoples. Up to three atabaques may be used for the accompanying rhythms, one of each type: Rum (large), Rum-pi (medium), and Lê (small). The rhythms usually associated with maculelê are the congo, afoxé, and barra vento.  Click here and scroll down for a list of maculele songs (with lyrics and English translations)!

Well, that’s it for Part 1, and I hope you discovered more about maculelê than you ever thought you would!  Unfortunately, I can’t list the sources I used right now as they’re bookmarked on my own computer and I’m posting this from a hostel in Morocco, but they will be added as soon as I return home!

Update:

Click here to read a transcribed/translated interview with Mestre Popo, the “Father of Maculelê”!

Click here to read other posts in Capoeira é Dança 

————————————————————————————
If you found this post useful or interesting, please
click to subscribe to my blog, by RSS feed or email!
————————————————————————————

Sources:
http://unterricht.vivastreet.de/unterricht-training+mannheim/capoeira-mannheim-auftrit-fotos
http://paulogualano.com/brazilian_show2.htm
http://www.carnaval.com/capoeira/
http://www.capoeirausa.net/home.html
http://www.capoeirasuldabahia.com.br/eng/default.asp?idp=23
http://carnavalderio-histoire.blogspot.com/2007/01/le-maculel.html
http://www.britannica.com/magazine/print?query=sensual&id=17&minGrade=&maxGrade=
http://www.capoeira.com.au/history.html
http://www.capoeirauniverse.com/how_to_play_maculele.html
http://capoeira.wikia.com/wiki/Maculele
http://gingartecapoeira.org/performances/afro-brazilian-dances/maculel%c3%aa
http://wikimartialarts.org/main/index.php/Maculele
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maculel%C3%AA_%28dance%29
http://www.maculelelondon.com/
http://www.worldartswest.org/main/location.asp?i=46
http://research.calacademy.org/research/anthropology/tap/ARCHIVE/1998/1998-10–maculele.html
http://www.capoeirabrazil.com.au/music.htm
http://www.capoeira.hk/e107/page.php?28
http://www.yourbestsiding.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=26

Picture sources:
http://www.achebrasil.com/photos/MaculeleEclilsonSmall.jpg 
http://www.capoeira.com.au/images/maculele.jpg
http://www.capoeirasuldabahia.com.br/eng/images/maculele1.jpg

http://www.capoeiracdp.com/img/fotos/maculele/04.jpg

http://cdodurinho.vilabol.uol.com.br/fotos/m_df_dg_pr/maculele_cdo.jpg

http://www.abadacapoeira.com/2006/aliyah.2.jpg





6 Keys to Building Upper-Body Strength (And Other News)

16 01 2008

Hello, class!

Today, we’re going to take a little field trip over to The Capoeira Blog, where Faisca has kindly published a guest post of mine.  Faisca was really nice in helping me when I first started trying to get Mandingueira off the ground, and so I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you! 

Before going on to the guest post, I apologize in advance for any irregularities in posting this week!  I’m actually on vacation in North Africa right now, so it’s going to be a little bit tricky.  The topic for today’s post went through an interesting process.  Originally, I was going to publish the article on maculelê, first in the Capoeira é Dança series.  Then, thanks to Day 1 of my trip, in fact, I completely forgot about that and was going to write a one-off post titled “The Scariest Night of My Life and Why Things Like this Blog Need to Exist”.  (Don’t worry, nothing happened, but that fact itself was also a part of it, as you’ll see.)  Now that Faisca has published my guest post, I also plan to publish a sister post to it, looking at women’s strength and the perception of it (or its lack) from a more theoretical point of view.  I hope to keep posting throughout my trip, and will hit all of the things mentioned above, so please keep checking back for more!

Click here to read 6 Keys to Building Upper-Body Strength





Videos: Contra-Mestra Susy (Grupo Vadiacão, Capoeira Angola)

14 01 2008

There were too many to choose from!  I’ll put two up here, and they’re a little lengthy, but worth it. 

This first one is Contra-Mestra Susy playing several of her students, and you can just feel the fun she’s having playing them, through the video.  (And props to the kid for his macaco, hehe.)  There are also some really interesting parts where you can almost (almost) forgive those people who mistake capoeira for [purely] a dance. 😛  Contra-Mestra Susy is the one in all white.



This second one has Contra-Mestra Susy playing someone more her level, and again, they are obviously having fun (another difference that’s starting to come up more between angola and regional to me; angola games seem to have a lot more playfulness at…well, play…than the average regional game).  Watch for a really cool section near the end of the first half, where it looks like they’re playing at intense regional speed, but with clearly angola movements.



And for those who still haven’t had enough, here’s a link to more!
http://youtube.com/results?search_query=capoeira+angola+susy+vadiacao&search=Search

(Source: http://www.capoeira-connection.com/main/content/view/156/78)

Click here to see other posts in Ie viva meu Mestra