Jan 232012

Lima, Peru

When someone has given you a place to sleep for free for many many days and they make a simple request, you can´t say no, right?

Thus when Mila politely asked me to teach her some capoeira I was only happy to help! And, the more the merrier, so we decided to make this a Couch Surfing event (open to everybody from Couch Surfing). A quick post on the website very soon started resulting in replies that people would be interested to join. Good!

I had posted that we were going to start at 17.30, punctually. To a Peruvian “punctual” means: Don´t be more than 30 minutes late (they have the “hora Peruana” (Peruvian hour) here, which is about the time that everybody shows up late for anything).

Thus, I was very surprised when quite a lot of people where there already at 17.33! The fact that none of them were actual Peruvians might have had something to do with it…

Warm-up using some basic capoeira moves, then stretching using another few (with a firm warning that people would be having muscles aches the following morning. Mila woke up this morning confirming that).

On to the first defense (most important of course). Go down, hand over your head, protect that and your neck and you`ll be fine. Really, a foot heading full speed your way may look dangerous, but it really is nothing to worry about! Trusth me! (Insert evil grin.)

Then the attacks. First the simplest one I know (swing your leg up, move it sideways, swing back down). That seemed to go fairly easilly, so I had people practice together, one person attacking, the other defending. Some people got the hang of it very quickly, other were very much afraid of hitting someone or being hit. I always say “if you don`t get kicked in the head once and awhile, you`re not learning anything!” (ok, so I say something else, but I`m sure it means basically the same!).

After everybody felt a bit more secure it was time for the second kick. This time the very beautiful but also quite difficult meia luna de compas, which is the quintessential capoeira kick and not used anywhere else as far as I know. Step sideways one foot. Step forward the other. Put your hands on the ground between your feet, fingers pointing backwards. Lift your leg and turn around your axis for a full 360 degrees (like a compas!). Not that difficult, right (don´t try to learn this just from this description, it`s impossible).

After lots and lots of practice of this, most of the people were able to spin round without actually falling on their buts. What more can a teacher ask for?

So finally time for my favorite part, the “roda” (Portugese for circle), where everybody stands in a circle (you don`t say!) and two people are playing / fighting in the center. I don`t know why, but for some reason people prefered playing with each other instead of with me… Am I that scary? It was really cool though to see how everybody had learnt and to see a lot of beautifully executed kicks and defenses!

After about one and a half hours of class in total it was time to call it quits. Tired, hungry, thirsty, so time for a restaurant together.

But not before getting a really great compliment: They wanted another class. So I`m teaching again this afternoon!