As soon as I heard the drums, tambourines and assortment of other exotic instruments rattling DHT, I knew I was in the right place for the ILW Capoeira demonstration, given by the Edinburgh Capoeira group ‘Mao no Chao’. We began by sitting in a circle while two men jumped into the middle and began this Brazilian ‘game’ which is best described as somewhere between improvised slow motion street fighting and dance, with a dusting of ritual and acrobatics.
Having been suitably mesmerised by the demonstration, it was soon our chance to give it a go. We started slowly, getting everyone to loosen up with some basic steps in time to the music. Still struggling to give instructions to my arms and legs to make them go in the right direction, we then paired up with some basic “questions and answers” – Capoeira speak for slow motion kicking and dodging kicks.
Then it was time to up the anti. Much of Capoeira is done close to the ground, and brings us back to our animalistic routes, so soon we were rolling around on hands and feet doing stretches and twists that I didn’t know were possible, and working muscles that I didn’t know existed, learning moves that could be useful in a Capoeira ‘game’.
Feeling exhausted, after that it was time for a break and a discussion. The group were very knowledgeable and passionate about the game and its traditions, which originated from the play-fights of African slaves in Brazil and has become big in the UK in the past 15 years, and did their best to answer the questions they were bombarded with. It was fascinating to learn of such deep rich tradition, which until recently I knew nothing oabout.
Feel inspired? Capoeria Mao no Chao offer weekly classes in Edinburgh.