007: Quantum of Progress (A Vignette)

14 11 2008

Quantum of Progress

Computer: target proper?  Negative.

Her eyes narrow as she scans the crowds.

I know they’re here somewhere.

She furtively flits to a better vantage point, unnoticed by the individuals around her.  Let the commotion distract them; she has an appointment to keep.

Computer—no, she already sees it is wrong.

This is harder than I thought it would be.

Her first assignment back.  Already she feels each wasted, unforgiving second dropping away, like bullets on steel.

In, execute, out.  What more is there to it? OH SH—

She leaps into the air, cursing herself for losing focus.  Away, down, regroup, now! There are foreign parties here, with the same assignment, she is harshly reminded.  If she does not find her target soon…

Safe now, she resets.  Warily reapproaches the epicentre; the target is here, she was told.  But where?

Computer: profile: global-scan:

Too old. Too loud. Too short.  Wait—no, too troubled.  Damnit!

Her ammunition begins to self-activate.  A warning sign: she should have begun her next assignment by now.  No panic, but thinking fast.  What’s missing?  One more try.

Computer: Recalibrate assignment parameters: Profile: Global-scan:

What?!  What’s going on?!!

Target proper: positive.  Target proper: positive.  Target proper: positive.  Target proper: positive.

Her eyes furiously sweep the scene.  Unlike before, no matter where they land, her orders mandate it is appropriate to take action.

They’re ALL targets?!!  Every one?!!

Then, she realizes. Not every one.  Anyone.

The data…it was corrupt.

She circumvents the crowds, darts straight towards the centre of the ring, where her assignment had been all along.

Who was it who just bought in, again?

It doesn’t matter at all.  She begins to play.

10-Step Guide to Rocking the Capoeira Roda (by A. B. Ghinner)

4 07 2008

Hi everyone! Joaninha has been exhausted with work and training for the past few weeks (she slept for 15 hours last Saturday), not to mention catching up with all her Canadian friends, and apologizes dearly for having unintentionally lead you on regarding her return! I’m her hitherto unknown alter-ego, A. B. Ghinner, and she sent me to write a guest post in her absence.

Getting through a roda is easy!

Don’t tell her I told, but she’s been complaining about her performance in the roda lately, so I’m writing a post to help with that! Now, I don’t know that much about capoeira rodas, but the point is to maintain the circle, right? In that case, she’s actually pretty good! In fact, I’ve put together this fabulous guide for you guys on how to rock the roda, based on my observations of her alone. You’re sure to learn tons from it—and no need to thank me!

A. B. Ghinner’s 10-Step Guide to Rocking the Capoeira Roda

1. Watch the games, clap to the music, and sing along to the songs.

2. Be polite and “let” people go in front of you.

3. Shift your weight from foot to foot. Constantly.

4. Create a mental flowchart of conditions for buying in, and don’t even think of deviating from it.

Joaninha’s personal favourite (She’ll love how attentive I’ve been!): kid: no ==> much higher belt: no ==> floreio-happy: no ==> trains everyday with: no ==> excessively aggressive: no ==> played already in last or 2+ games: no ==> involves buying out higher belt: no ==> remaining capoeiristas: maybe, depends, we’ll see)

5. Mentally organize every other capoeirista present into order of preference for playing against.

6. Hover on the edge of the roda, preferably directly behind one or more large, shirtless, sweating men whose eye-levels you are literally below.

7. Attempt to put every capoeirista with a higher belt between you and the bateria.

8. Failing that, continually take one step towards and two steps back from the bateria/pé do berimbau. Reverse direction when you reach the other side.

9. As a last resort, practice the cha-cha or salsa steps right at the entrance to the roda.

10. Do not, under any circumstances, actually go into the roda and play.

Well, that’s it! Easy, right? You could get through a roda like that blind-folded! Although I have to admit, she only does about half of those things, but I hope my own ideas will work just as well! Be sure to let her know if they do; I’m sure she’d be so pleased. 🙂 It was great meeting you guys, and I’ll see you around!

Picture source:

Photoblog: Capoeira Goodies

23 05 2008

I just found these photos of some cupcakes I made last year, and thought you guys would get a kick out of them. 😀 Enjoy!

(Obsessed?? Who, me???)

Capoeira cupcakes!

Berimbau and Brasil

Brazil flag and Axé

Capoeira na beira do mar!

Top 10 Signs Your Capoeira Group is Like a Jealous Lover

29 04 2008

Are you in a healthy relationship with your capoeira group? We’ve all been there: you miss a class or two, and suddenly it’s all “Where have you been?! Why haven’t you been training?!” You find yourself constantly accounting for why you couldn’t make this workshop or that roda, and once in a while it gets to the point where you feel like calling up the doctor for a note or two, just in case. I’ve never noticed this before, but thanks to an astute and mercilessly sharp-witted, non-capoeira friend of mine, it hit me that sometimes one’s capoeira group can really seem like a jealous lover.

Love and Capoeira

Is your capoeira group a little too attached to you for comfort? Here are the top ten signs to look out for!

10. Your friend tells you your capoeira group is like a jealous lover.

9. They get upset if you’re late and demand a reason why.

8. They demand to know where you’ve been if you haven’t seen each other for a day.

7. They try to become the centre of your world, or act as if they are (and get upset if you act as if they’re not).

6. They are possessive and don’t like you being friends with potential/imagined “rivals”.

5. They are constantly suspicious of the intentions of “other” friends and friendly strangers.

4. They try forbidding you from seeing those they are most suspicious of.

3. They are always trying to affirm or retain your fidelity even if you have not shown any signs of being otherwise.

2. If one thing happens or you do one thing that seems to suggest the slightest sign of infidelity, they (a) overreact and (b) never let it go.

1. They automatically assume that every minor break, dispute, or more (or any) time spent with “other” friends means you want to or should break up, and their suspicions and paranoia only ever end up sabotaging the relationship…but somehow, you still can’t help loving them!

Now that you know the warning signals, it’s up to you to decide if everything’s going strong, or if it’s time for a break and some space. Just remember that no matter what happens, at least capoeira itself is one love that will never die!

Picture source: http://ladynina.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/capoeira.jpg

Comic: The Capoeira Journey

1 04 2008

(Click on image for full readability; you may need to click again on next page to zoom in!)

The Capoeira Journey

Public Service Announcement: Are YOU Affected by Capoeira-Coloured Lenses?

6 03 2008

Does capoeira influence your first impressions of people? 

“Whoa, you went to Nice on your own?”
“Yeah, because I was going for capoeira.”

“But weren’t you scared going to Amsterdam by yourself?”
“No, because I was meeting capoeiristas there.”

“Did you know them from before?”
“Never met them, but it’s fine because we’re in the same group.”

Did the above bits of conversation make perfect sense to you? If so, then you, my friend, may be under the influence of capoeira-coloured lenses.

Capoeira-coloured lenses, like their close cousin the well-know rose-coloured lenses, are known to shift or alter the wearer’s perception of people or situations towards a decidedly positive light. Complete strangers are welcomed with open arms; homes and hearths are opened to any in white or black and yellow; and ordeals otherwise known as travel headaches, major hassles, hardships, pain, or annoyances are often relegated to a rather large category titled “worth it”.

Authorities (parents, friends, and the like) are unable to explain the effect these lenses have on their loved ones. Those struck with capoeiryopia (also known as CCLS, or Capoeira-Coloured Lenses Syndrome), rather than displaying anxiety or worry in the presence of self-proclaimed “obsessed addicts” who are often “high” or “drunk” on mysterious substances such as “axé” or “malandragem”, on the contrary go out of their way to meet such individuals, and display great joy and delight if they happen to come across such individuals accidentally.

This syndrome, which many fear is contagious, is a new trend sweeping the globe, as persons of uncertain motive (do they dance? do they fight? who knows?!) burn through gasoline, plane fuel, and Puma or Adidas sports shoes in order to take advantage of this popular phenomenon. To anyone wearing capoeira-coloured lenses, you are automatically a wonderful, open-minded, awesome, and fascinating human being by virtue of an affinity for the sound of wood hitting a taut steel wire in repetitive patterns.

Will this trend continue? Will CCLS take over the world? Will YOU know what to do when the time comes?

Stay tuned for further developments! (For now, I’m off to tune my steel wire.)

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Blog Meme: Eight Things You Didn’t Know About Me

4 03 2008

So thanks to Faisca, this blog has been hit with its first internet meme.  I suppose this is the part where I spill all my deepest, darkest, most shocking secrets…well, sorry, not gonna happen.  😛  

I’m going to, however, share eight non-capoeira-related things about myself, giving you a closer look into the semi-deranged mind you know and love as Joaninha. 😀

1. Nancy Drew was my childhood heroine.  My dream was to be exactly like her, right down to owning the blue Mustang convertible, up until the day I realized that regularly getting tied up in cellars and thrown into car trunks isn’t actually all that much fun… (Although, if I end up going into investigative journalism, there may still be a chance!)

2. I didn’t learn the public transit system in my city until first-year university; up till then I’d gone everywhere by car or on foot.

3. I am a master packer.  Give me any suitcase, bag, or valise, show me your pile of junk, and I will get it all in somehow.  Just ask my old roommate (or anyone who’s seen me travel)!

4. I don’t really use MSN anymore, and hate it for the way it propagates conversations like the following:

(15 minutes later)
“Hey, what’s up?”
(15 minutes later)
“not much”
(20 minutes later)
“oh, lol”
(20 minutes later)
“yeah, lol”
(30 minutes later)
<smiley face> lol

5. Including this blog, I’m currently working five volunteer jobs simultaneously, all to do with writing and/or communications.

6. I’m a complete sucker for nice stationery.  School supplies shopping makes me happy, and I have an ever-growing collection of blank (but very cool/trendy/cute/gorgeous) notebooks just because I can’t help myself…

7. Ispeakreallyfast.

8. I absolutely can’t stand walking down an entire set of stairs without looking down at them.  Even if I can count exactly how many steps there are to the bottom, I get more and more paralyzed the further down I go, until I actually have to come to a complete stop, and look down.  Weird, isn’t it?

Well, that’s it!  Seems like Faisca covered most people when he passed this on, so I guess the line stops here.  Hope you enjoyed the ride. 😉

Top 10 Reasons to Train Capoeira on Zero Hours of Sleep

2 02 2008

Do you have too much to do?  Too many committments to keep?  Are you barely training enough as it is, with still more piling onto your plate?  It’s hard to get enough sleep when you have a million tasks to complete each day, but here are the top ten reasons for why being completely sleep-deprived will not only not disturb your capoeira training, but may actually improve it!

10. You’ll be too sleep-deprived to be bothered by any mistakes or gaffs you make (which is a good thing, since you’ll probably make many).

9. You know that high you get from doing capoeira?  Well, now you can look and feel high as you feel yourself trembling all over while trying to hold a simple ginga stance.

Training capoeira after pulling an all-nighter will make you feel like you're in a different world...8. Face your fears: have you ever wondered how scary it might be to have slow esquiva reflexes while a flying martelo rotado comes at you?  Well, now you get to find out!  (Alternatively, test your reflexes: since you won’t have the mental capacity to esquiva consciously, see how well your body does the work for you!)

7. Crushed fingers, stomped toes, bruised shins—training on no sleep gives you a great opportunity to rack up all those battle wounds you can later brag you got “from training capoeira”!

6. If you’re a regional capoeirista, this will be a good chance to try some angola, as all your movements will naturally be done at the suitable speed.

5. All your partners will thank you for giving them good teaching experience, as they’ll be masters after getting the zombie-formerly-known-as-you to understand the sequences you’re supposed to be working on.

4. That throbbing dizziness in your head is good practice for continuing the game even after you get a real concussion.

3. You won’t give away anything in the roda, as your face will be too tired to make any expressions.  Furthermore, your eyes will be too small or squinted for your opponent to properly look into them and thus “read” your movements. 

2. You’ll be forced to give yourself a good work-out the whole time, since if you stop moving for more than thirty seconds, you will fall asleep.

1. No matter how tired, how sleep-deprived, or how dead you were at the start, by the end of class you will still feel like you’ve just woken up from the best sleep you ever had.

Picture source:

Just for Fun: Capoeira Pick-up Lines

29 01 2008

(Warning: Use at your own risk.  Mandingueira does not condone the use of nor will be held responsible for any and all events that occur inside or outside the roda as a direct or indirect result of these lines.)

Are you a capoeirista?  Because you just turned my world upside-down.

You must have lots of mandinga, because I’ve fallen under your spell!

That’s too bad that you lost your pandeiro, but if you want you can bang me instead.

If I play you hard enough in the roda, will you go volta ao mundo with me?

Hi, are you an angoleiro/a?  That’s great, ’cause I’m regional—what say we get together and be contemporary?

I’m surprised you have an apelido, because to me you are indescribable!

You know, your abada would be cleaner if you didn’t wear it at all.

If I gave you rasteira would that sweep you off your feet?

Update: I think there may have been some confusion…I haven’t actually heard or read these anywhere.  I made them up, just for fun…in the spirit of “I’m a fermata—hold me” and “I wish I were your derivative…”, etc. …hence the disclaimer!  Sorry about that!

Murphy Was a Capoeirista

18 12 2007

These are some capoeira maxims I came up with just for fun a while ago,  inspired by Murphy’s Laws.  I don’t know how widely they apply to capoeiristas in general, but in my training experience, I’ve lived by them! 

Muy Thai's Tony Jaa takes on capoeira's Lateef Crowder in The Protector 

Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.

1. The longer and the harder you work at doing something right, the higher the chances are that you’ll be caught out the one time you do it wrong.

2. The degree of certainty with which your teacher states something is directly proportional to the likelihood that they mean the exact opposite or something else entirely. Exceptions to this are when it is equal to the degree of certainty with which another teacher tells you the exact opposite, or something else entirely.

3. The amount of rushing you do to arrive at an event on time directly influences the lateness with which it will begin, increasing the exact amount of rushing you did not have to do. This is also known as the Universal Theory of Brazilian Time Dilation.

4. The class(es) you miss, no matter where, when, or why, will always, categorically, and unconditionally be the class(es) you most wish you had attended

5. A watched student never moves. (Note: This law is only ever concluded by teachers through empirical evidence and inductive reasoning, due to a freak coincidence of constant impeccable timing between the exact moment a student tires out and the exact moment a teacher checks across the room.)