The Tab tries: Capoeira
Always wanted to learn a Brazilian martial art? Now’s your chance…
A few weeks ago, The Tab featured Manchester University’s Coke machine sized Markus Okafor. Sure he could probably bench-press me until his eye sockets bleed, but someone give me a call when he manages to pull of half of what’s coming up next.
This is Contra-Mestre Parente, a master in a Brazilian martial art known as Capoeira, and for a mere £3 an hour he can teach you how to kick ass and do mad flips. What’s more, you don’t even have to travel far to learn! Parente and his group, Cordao De Ouro, train at the Trinity school behind Main library on Thursdays and Sundays.
His introduction show reel on the group’s website makes this man look like he simply laughs at gravity on a daily basis, so I thought I’d give it a go!
It doesn’t matter if you play football, rugby, go cycling or swim, capoeira will definitely make you feel like the fat kid everyone used to laugh at during high school P.E lessons. The training is pretty much an all body work-out making use of kicks, handstands, flips, cartwheels and plenty of moves that look like ancient tribal breakdancing, all of which guarantee you’ll be sweating within the first ten minutes.
The basics promote core strength, rhythm and movement, while some of the more advanced moves promote the ability to get your leg high enough to kick someone in the face. Although it’s a fighting form, Parente promotes the old musical traditions playing samba instruments throughout the class.
The last 45 minutes of the class sees the sparring begin. Everyone jumps in and puts themselves to the test against their classmates, and having your legs swept out from under you or getting head-butted in the sternum is pretty common if you aren’t fast enough.
Capoeira is one of the most unusual things I have ever tried. It is intense, engaging and definitely challenging while at the same time it teaches something about Brazilian culture, music and Portuguese. So if you want to add a bit of a Brazilian zing to your week that will economically double as a gym session in these exam-filled times, look out for the Cordao De Ouro Capoeira.