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  Topic: Forum Decorum - Forum/Roda
  2006-10-17 09:34:59
Some really cool parallels and analogies have been drawn into the discussion on the board in various threads.
Having the freedom we do (non-moderated or censored) in this forum I believe we have to certain extent created our own protocols to follow.
Thats why I thought having read (thanks to Rastinha) the essay by Contra Mestre Perere I thought this would be an opportune time to lift a small part of it. This is in relation to the way we might conduct the online Roda/Forum and it's form of Malicia

" Malicia, a skill or perspective often proposed as some sort of trickery, treachery, and slyness in the ring is frequently considered the most important skill for the angoleiro to develop, but I beg to differ. In the world of Capoeira many things can be like sticking your hand in a dark hole where a snake may be coiled up napping, yet ever-ready to strike. If you are to clever you may outwit yourself in the end. Malicia, in order to be a tool for personal cultivation (transformation!) in the world of Capoeira must be soundly rooted in a foundation of respectful courtesy and honor towards our fellows, or we may all very well forget what it means when we shake hands at the beginning and end of our games in the circle. And that these things too require skills worthy of mastering."

Any thoughts on this?
  2006-10-17 11:37:13
Yep this is great quote.

There's the boy who cried wolf also.
  2006-10-17 11:56:46
Maybe you could elaborate Mungunza.
  2006-10-17 12:01:18
Yep its a great quote that reinforces the need to look after each other inside and outside the roda, but be wary also. Receive and accept, give and take in the spirit of brother and sisterhood, without taking things forgranted. It seems to relate to respect alot.

Man, such a good quote Lucifer, nice one.

  2006-10-17 12:03:38
Sorry which bit would you like me to elaborate on? the quote or the boy who cried wolf?
  2006-10-17 12:08:26
Man I am tired but, the really good Masters I have met, have a objective to their use of Malicia, sometimes that means that they are making a point about something in particular and you have to deficer the message in order to understand what's going on, it can be very tricky or not.

I think this has something to do with the language of Capoeria.
  2006-10-17 12:11:21
The last thing I might add, is that it's not something to be toyed with. Life has more serious implications that the roda, and there are meanings and symbolic gestures happening all the time and different people pick up on different things, I feel it's part of the magic of the roda.
  2006-10-17 12:23:24
"we may all very well forget what it means when we shake hands at the beginning and end of our games in the circle"

I'd like to know what people think about the meaning(s) of a handshake.
  2006-10-17 13:07:54
Thats an interesting parallel 'The boy who cried wolf'.
I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I would assume by this you mean Malicia is something not to be taken and used lightly. That it may in certain circumstances bring on serious repercussions.
But here is where I see the twist Mungunza.
Malicia is a behaviour that can play with the very securities we take for granted. An example of this might be a smile on the face of an angoliero hiding their true intent.
In the fable of 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf' inherent message/moral is don't play with others confidence and trust or they may not believe you when it counts.
Don't you think works in opposition to concept of Malicia?
  2006-10-17 14:27:05
Yeah, that was the other quote I was gonna post in the other thread.

In terms of 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf', perhaps it could be sort of taken in the following way (if I can explain what I mean properly). If you never hide your intentions, people always know what you're going to do, but if you hide your intentions all the time, people will still know what you're going to do, as they'll just assume you'll always do the opposite to what you show. Malicia, then could be a lesson in understanding when, and when not to show intentions, built on a foundation of respect for others. This respect and courtesy is important in order to generate an atmosphere of danger and awareness, rather than one of fear and violence, that is conducive to having as fulfilling an experience as possible, and learning as much as possible, in the roda. For instance, if an advanced capoeirista keeps feigning a big armada, say, whilst playing with a beginner, until the beginner has been lulled into a false sense of security that the advanced dude is never actually gonna throw the armada properly, and hence stops escaping. Then the advanced person sees their chance and throws one, socking the beginner right in the jaw, then all the beginner will have learned is that they won't wanna play that dude again. And the advanced guy hasn't learned anything either. It's just violence that'll inspire fear in the beginner. So maybe 'the boy who cries wolf' could be seen in that? That there is an element of respect lacking from the boys interaction with the villagers. He just assumes they'll trust him if it ever comes down to something so important, but because of his lack of respect, and since he's just conjured up fear in all of them, they don't respond as they might have otherwise? I dunno.

To play devil's advocate, maybe it really is the opposite, and instead of learning from the moral of the story, we should learn from the boy himself. He disguises his true intentions by telling the villagers there's a wolf (someone feigns a kick), the villagers respond (other person escapes). Same again. Villagers realise boy is a troublemaker (other person realises kicks are fakes). Boy yells again, this time it's real (cue real kick) but villagers don't escape (person doesn't escape - bam, got em). Which could be the exact response a capoeirista was looking for. But I think if one was to look at it this way, they'd definitely have to take this respect and courtesy into consideration. There's a difference between getting someone and whacking the snot out of them, and getting them through cunning and trickery, whilst still having respect for them.

As for the other point, like Palha�o, I'm interested to hear people's takes on the significance of the handshake. The first thing I thought of was how it's a sign of respect, and how this same thing is interpreted in other martial arts. For instance, in karate etc. when people bow before a fight or whatever to show respect. In capoeira we all know that the game has begun as soon as you step into the roda, you're not necessarily safe whilst shaking hands at the beginning, and one still has to be wary after shaking hands at the end. This same thing is true of other martial arts. In karate people bow at a safe distance, out of reach of their opponent, in order to recognise that that person is still your opponent, even if you're still bowing. I think in both of these contexts, shaking hands or bowing, the take home message is that one should always be wary. Because, despite the fact that games/fights start and stop, life doesn't. It's perpetual, and you never know what's coming.

I guess, then, that all of this all translates into real life, as skills for reading people, and in relation to what Perere says about approaches, and approaches being dangerous. Approaches in the roda, and real life, are all indeed dangerous, but one is better prepared with skills for reading people/situations. The best way to understand how something works I guess is to learn it yourself. So as your own malicia develops, so does your ability to interpret that of others.

Did that make any sense? What do other people think?
  2006-10-17 14:28:05
Man, I need something else to do, I gotta stop writing so much!
  2006-10-17 16:11:35

You're drafting a book on Capoeira!
  2006-10-17 16:28:08
I know, lol, and the worst part is I'm just a beginner. What do I know about capoeira's deeper stuff and intricacies? I'm just rambling on about a bunch of ideas etc. that I don't really know much about...And I feel a little silly rattling off my n00bish ideas to the likes of Lucifer and Mungunza...But oh well. I suppose if I save all of this I can look back on it 10 years from now and see if I've come to understand it any better. Or something like that.
  2006-10-17 16:43:33
Hey Rastinha I'm flattered that you would hold me in such high esteem.
But you're observations and theories on Capoeira are just as valuable as mine.
As you have probably experienced by now the absolute beginner who enters the Roda for the first time can often be far more dangerous and challenging than those with years of experience. Because they bring a sense of unpredictablity to the game.
By this I am not implying you are a beginner but rather that we are all learning here. By the same token you could say we are all teachers.
  2006-10-17 17:19:40
Yeah that's true, Lucifer. I think that came up sometime in another thread too, the idea of everyone learning and teaching simultaneously.

And I suppose that's sort of one of the things that's good about this forum; it means you can get thoughts and opinions from anyone and everyone who wants to share them, regardless of where they're from or how experienced they are or whatever. Hmm...Yeah
  2006-10-17 20:02:34

The Boy who cried wolf is an illustration of. 'If you are to clever you may outwit yourself in the end'. to quote Perere.

I think is one of the perils of someone, always trying to be Malicioso. A good capoeiristas has good sense of timing and knows when and when to use the various hidden tools in the kit. Some schools really focus on the development of it, but I loses it's value of uses too much. Less is More.

But there's many different shades of the same flower and there are many different types of malicia as well, some use it to screw you over and other to help you whether you know it or not.

Oh Rastinha, There ain't no-one too stupid who can't teach and no-one too smart who can't learn, that's us mate.

Damn sucks being the stupid one.
  2006-10-18 09:31:43
Ricky Gervais (comedian, star and writer of The Office and Extras) once said that the moral of The Boy Who Cried Wolf is not "never tell a lie," it's "don't tell the same lie twice." I think there's some wisdom in that in terms of the whole malicia discussion.

It seems to me that people sometimes have strange ideas about what "respect" means. After playing for a few weeks in Brazil I realised that I was limiting my game far too much because I was going easy on any beginners that I played (out of "respect"), and I was holding back on anyone that was more experienced than me (again, out of "respect"). Eventually I realised that I wasn't respecting anyone because I wasn't giving them as much of myself as I could. The best way to show respect to someone else is to put all the effort you can into challenging them and helping them to improve in an appropriate manner (obviously it often takes a while to learn what is and what isn't appropriate). I still find myself holding back sometimes and need to check myself and reconsider if I'm being respectful or not.

To me, that's one of the main things represented by the handshake; it's showing 'respect to the other person', meaning that you recognise the value of the other person (something that the pioneers of capoeira rarely or never experienced) and accordingly you will do what you can to challenge and push them.

Anyone in Wellington this Friday, come to Aro Valley community hall at 6.30pm and pay your 'respects' at my birthday roda ;-)
  2006-10-18 09:41:07
'Ricky Gervais (comedian, star and writer of The Office and Extras) once said that the moral of The Boy Who Cried Wolf is not "never tell a lie," it's "don't tell the same lie twice." '

Ha ha, yeah I remember that now, I'd totally forgotten. Ricky Gervais is the man. Despite the fact that he does talk out his ass a lot, every now and then he comes up with a gem like that, hehe. Wicked.
  2006-10-18 10:31:36
To me the handshake at the start and respectively at the end of a game within the Roda is both a mark of respect but also signifies the 'What goes on in the Roda stays in the Roda'.
  2006-10-18 14:10:58
Does it signify trust? If so, to what degree?
  2006-10-18 15:35:17
Hmm, I think trust is an interesting question. Perhaps to a certain extent, but it seems it would have to be quite limited. How possible is it to create a dangerous environment if there is trust? Are the two mutually exclusive? Are there different types/levels of trust that allow for different degrees of danger?

And Lucifer, the 'what goes on in the roda, stays in the roda' is another useful interpretation of the handshake. Do you think it's likely that a lot of people share this view? And either way, to what extent do you think it gets followed? I was just thinking, in terms of a roda being a model for life, and social interactions, and things flowing over between the two; how much do our interactions with people within the roda affect our relationship with them outside the roda? Is a person more likely to get along with someone they gel with, and have good games with in a roda? More likely to dislike someone they have a bad game with? Vice versa? Neither? Just some thoughts.
  2006-10-18 17:15:10
a handshake in the roda for me is a mixture of these a welcoming gesture, a warning, a peace offering, a agrement and a invitation to share in the dialog of the roda.

when you enter the roda, they or you extend the welcoming invitation you know in yourself to be careful and to watch for the rasteira com soriso and in the event that the dialog gets a bit heated being able to finish what was in the roda and bringing the dialog back to the roda with a handshake. it is also a way of say yip you got me! lets play some more!

" In capoeira we all know that the game has begun as soon as you step into the roda, you're not necessarily safe whilst shaking hands at the beginning, and one still has to be wary after shaking hands at the end. This same thing is true of other martial arts. In karate people bow at a safe distance, out of reach of their opponent, in order to recognise that that person is still your opponent, even if you're still bowing."

" never take your eyes off your opponent,even when you bow." keeps play in my head go bruce lee, water!
  2006-10-18 19:43:56

I don't think ritual neccesarily means we do this and that like this, it dynamic and changing all the time and thing don't always stay in the roda actually I can remember playing a game with Lucifer about 4 years ago when I got a really good ponteira from Lucifer, I think it almost broke my nose and then about a minute later I gave him a rabo de arraia to the head (with sole of the shoe). That didn't stay in the roda. But I have no hard feelings at all, but at the time I got sick of being beat up by up you guys all the time.

I really like the interpretation that Guerreiro has put forward and it echoes what Perere is saying about the approach it is another moment of approach. Someone told me that one of the arts of good capoeirista is to see enter doing your thing and then leave (I'm not allowed to quote people now).

Thank you all for your contributions in this discussions it really good.

Oh Ziggie some great points there, about respect. I be digging that man.

I really like what Uncle bimm says at the end of Kaikohe Demolition Derby,"Bro, it's just a game, and bro, didn't we ennjjjjoooooy it (laughter)".
  2006-10-18 20:26:27
Hey Mung sorry for the ponteira man but I guess if it were a conversation in the Roda we both had our say huh?!
  2006-10-19 01:05:14
Cuz it was just what happened man and that was accepted before we got in the roda when I shook your hand, sweet as man, nothing wrong with the ponteira, in fact it was a cracker, a real good one.

It was just to make the point about how things can spill over. I thought you were cool with it so I thought I could bring it out in the open so to speak. Hope that's o.k. It was a really good game and not all end in hugs blah blah it was great learning curve for me in more way than one. Thank you.

Some proponents of capoeira believe that what happens in the roda says in there in a professional manner. Where as it commonly understood in and among angoleiros that they only change their clothes when they leave the roda. Each has a purpose I guess.

Back to it though...

Man, if wasn't for the likes of yourself, Brabo, Pe Liso, Swifty, Sumo, Senhor Largarto, Lua Astuta in aucks playing with us, like properly playing around in way Ziggie described I wouldn't still doing capoeira, those are some of the best time ever for me, really. The energy was just so raw and simple.

I started at Galatos that dingy little, piss and cigarette riddin floor, with dim lights and this Brabo guy who i thought was crazy cos of his atrocious memory, like show you one movement and hen ask everybody how it went, mas pode ser um pouco de mandinga dele neh? quem sabe?

Actually I remember seeing you and Pe Liso playing and just thinking shit! Someone is gonna loss an eye there and then you guys would finish and just shake hands and walk off. I was like what!?! Those days were special for me.

Foi massa pra carumba! Axe!
  2006-10-19 08:23:47
Damn nice to hear all that camarada!
That was one sticky filthy beer-soaked floor alright. I remember coming away from training with black hands and black smudges on my head.
I also remember your wicked rastieras Mung (I've always gotta keep an that) you caught me a few humiliating times.
It's always a pleasure playing and being challenged by someone as passionate about Capoeira as yourself.

  Arranha Ceu
  2006-10-19 11:25:02
It is thought that the handshake developed in medieval times. When two knights or kings met they would display their right hand (general sword carrying hand) in front of them as a sign that they were not concealing any weapons. Even in this situation I'm sure each party would have been keeping a close eye on what was happening with the other hand in case it was a trap.
I think these ideas can be carried over to the use of the handshake in capoeira. It is an aknowledgement of a meeting between the two capoeiristas before their dialogo de jogo begins. But both are still well aware and ready should the other be planning anything sinister. It holds all the same concepts as any other chamada in capoeira.
  2006-10-19 15:31:18
Thanks Arranha Ceu,

[opens notebook and copies last paragraph.]
  2006-10-20 13:51:34
Wiki has some intrestin things about handshakes :0)

Heres a gem...
"At cattle markets, one can sometimes see cattle farmers slapping each other's faces to negotiate a deal. One farmer will name a price and slap the other's face (with one or two hands). If the other doesn't like the price, he will slap the other's face and name his price. The process of alternatingly slapping continues until they shake hands, thus concluding the deal."
  2006-10-20 14:56:44
Sounds great! I'll try that when I come back to class and negotiate the price of an eight-class ticket :)
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