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  Topic: Are all capoeira people hippies?
  curious george
  2007-06-15 18:48:22
Hi I just wanted to know why so many hippies play capoeira?And where do you think New Zealand Capoeira stacks up on a world scale.
Ive seen capoeiristas from this country and think their is alot of enthusiasm but not a whole lot of skill.
Maybe im wrong. But none of the caps i seen so far have been able to enthuse me to get back into it
  2007-06-15 23:17:11
Hi George.

Hmm... Where to start? Where to start...? I don't even know where to begin on this one... But allow me to try...Bare with me on this one.

I think if you understand the values and ideals that capoeira represents, and also the values and ideals that the people you appear to be describing as 'hippies' stand for, then it should be plainly obvious as to why so many people of this mindset are drawn to capoeira. If it's not plainly obvious to you, then that seems to suggest that you don't understand the values of a 'hippy', or you don't understand the values of capoeira. I'd be inclined to say, based on the rest of your post however, that the answer is that you understand neither...

With respect to where NZ capoeira stacks up on a world scale, that seems to me, a very ignorant and/or naive question. In short, capoeira in NZ stacks up on a world scale as VERY VERY YOUNG. I'm not sure how much you know of our short history, but the nature of your post implies very little. Capoeira has only been here since 1992, and as is the case with trying to set up anything like this, it takes a while for it to perpetuate and get people to stick around. Thus, the majority of our more senior students have only been training round...7-8 years, with a small handful who've been around longer, but still...11-12 years max.

And then, you have to also take into consideration the small factor of our isolation, here in NZ. This means that the students who have been training for the longest, began learning it without actually SEEING it, other than from Brabo's teaching. They didn't have more advanced students to learn from or any of the luxuries that would have been afforded to people training at the same time as them in other parts of the world where capoeira was more established, nor the technology afforded to those training now...such as the internet...youtube and the like. Therefore it's completely unreasonable to expect the same level of skill from our capoeiristas as capoeiristas who've been training for twice as long or more, and with so much more exposure to the art.

I don't know you, and you don't know me, so all my comments are just based on the little I could glean from your post... And you don't have to believe anything I say...after all, who am I to say all of this, or assume I know what I'm talking about? I still have an infinite amount to learn about this art that I'm a part of, and that is a part of me (just as a note, I think this holistic and mutually inclusive nature is something else that appeals to us 'hippies' also). But we have had a number of Mestres visit us here and be immersed in our capoeira... Mestre Marcelo Caveirinha, Mestre Jogo de Dentro, Mestre Lobao, Mestre Cabello...plus others, and even including Mestre Joao Grande himself. From these Mestres we've received numerous comments on how well our capoeira is developing, especially given our relative youth, and significant isolation. They've agreed with you on our enthusiasm also, and commented on the uniqueness of our energy, our capoeira and the people who play it. Something that makes them really enjoy being here, and really want to come back when they can. I think this uniqueness is something which stems from the fact that so many hippies do play capoeira... It's a common mindset between people, an open-mindedness, and a shared opposition towards such things as oppression and exploitation, plus a desire to take action where possible to make a difference in the world that has drawn us to, and kept us as a part of and art such as capoeira, and that brings us together as a community. All of this on top of the obvious fact that it is so much fun and all the usual pros. And lastly, in a country like NZ, anyone who stops to take in scenery, the laid back lifestyle, the chilled out nature and all the green...is bound to become a hippy at heart.

If you're looking for skill to enthuse you back to capoeira, maybe you should consider looking at different places, or looking at different arts. It might not be your thing. Either way, I'd advise you to try to understand more about things like this before you pass judgment on it. That's like comparing the knowledge/skill of a 6 month old baby to that of a university graduate... what's the point?

Phew, well that's my 1. Just been waiting for an excuse to let the flood gates open again, hehehe. Ah felt good, all that writing. Thanks george :) And just remember, we capoeiristas are a loyal bunch...and curiosity killed the cat... o.O hehehe

  Man in Yellow Hat
  2007-06-16 11:39:56
Hey Curious George your comments very curious indeed my friend.
I have a few questions for you:
Firstly is it the fact that 'hippies' are involved with capoeira that puts you off?
Secondly what are you basing your opinion of skill level on?
And last but not least I presume that you have at one point played (or at least trained) capoeira how long was that for and how long ago?
  2007-06-16 11:42:11
kia ora, very nice rastinha luvd the comment
  Ass kickin' Hippie
  2007-06-16 12:09:23
Hey monkey boy you've got something in for what you loosely term as Hippies huh?!
Have you ever heard of a 'Malandro'?
I doubt you have but perhaps you should look up the concept of Malandrem and how central it is to Capoeira and by association the importance it is afforded in Brazilian culture.
You should also look up the the concept of 'Malicia' and then perhaps you can start to understand how that features in the play/fight of Capoeira.
Your understanding of Capoeira does appear to be pretty one dimensional.
If you would rather though perhaps you could come back and do a few classes and/or join a roda sometime soon and get schooled that way.
I can tell you it would be my pleasure to personally give you a few lessons!!!
  2007-06-16 23:57:52
Hey george, i think u managed 2 rustle up a few feathers lol al good . i dnt want 2 tell u wot 2 do bt, u shouldn't rely on wot u jst c in our roda's to inspire u to train. there is so much more going on in or games then meets the eye. like TRANSFORMERS!! as 4 the hippies thng, wots a hippy these dayz?
  2007-06-17 01:36:26
Dang Rastinha, you go girl.... Ive missed reading your "little" snippets of thoughts.... LOVE IT. Now curious George, i think "hippies" playing capoeira, is a good thing.... i mean, can you imagine "skin heads" or "KKK" playing capoeira...? i don't think it'll be a lot of fun, do you? not that i have any problem play either of these factions, but my point is, ITS A GAME!!!! and the whole skill comment, was really, whats the words I'm looking for??? ah, Narrow minded!. come on, who are you to be able to judge anyone on skill?( i will humbly apologise if you have been playing for 20+ years, and have the title "Mestre", in front of that curious George
  2007-06-17 10:45:15
"bater papo com atario e joga conversa fora!

As for you getting enthused about getting back into it...i wouldnt rely on fancy footsteps and flash moves to motivate you burro sem rabo,if you dont feel a rush of adrenaline,or the hair doesnt stand on the back of your neck,[ like when the All Blacks do the haka ] when the berimbau calls,then burro,you will never experience what we know!

FYI-capoeira is for everyone, it does not discriminate or segregate.Much of the senior students are reserved in what they use depending on who they play,which is why we dont where cordaos,[ belts ] during training ,to humble ourselves within the group.

Thankyou for your thoughts and i hope i have turned a leaf for you burro.Know that there are many working hard behind the scenes including our own Mestre to develope capoeira here in Aotearoa.Perhaps oneday when you figure life out and realise show ponies belong in a circus,you may too enjoy the fruits capoeira has to offer.

boa viagem ...little donkey,little donkey on the dusty road...
  2007-06-18 13:03:08
I have to agree when i first started training back in the day I thought that its was a bit hippyish in respect to the social aspect rather than the capoeira itself. It can be proven on a few things i've seen such as the display at ecofest in Auck and spiritual festivals in Chch. However, the reason for this may just be because this kinda crowd are just open minded and enjoy good clean fun which is outside of the "social norms".

NZ society is certainly leaning towards the 'if i guy doesn't watch rugby and dances in public he's gay' direction, just like many other developed countries. I can go on and on about this but i'm sure someone else will.
  georgie pie
  2007-06-18 13:24:51
Wow, Yall are a sensitve bunch. See i hit a nerve.
Not trying tryin to be a dick but just think you guys need to try a little harder. Saying the internet wasnt around is bullshit. I found a site 9 years ago detailing the movements principles philosophies and history of the artform. It was called Chimp Capoeira but no longer exists.
Ive obsreved your school as it has grown for the same amount of time. seen your professor turn into a mestre. I mean no disrespect in using the term hippie. Im just a bit bummed when i see half ass macaco's fall on your ass role's and lame parafuso's. Form is important. Im not trying to say everyone is like that. But defenately most seem to be.
Ive trained capoeira in Australia, Germany, and Brazil. I am a great fan of Mestre Cabello and his wife. And also Mestre jaoa grande. but personally think Marcelo is a cock.
Mr ass kickin hippie yes please forget the lessons dont wory bout it. Dont think they would be any good.
Rastinha you are very passionate and speak from your heart that is good. Much respect.
Sticks Id love to play against some kkk's or skinheads.
Putumuju dont want flash moves just good ones games can be more interesting if people tried harder moves sick of Fucking role negativa armada and nothing else.
gotta go work but will be back later.
  2007-06-18 14:24:14
I was wondering if you'd comment again, Mr. Pie. Glad you came back, this forum needs some attention, and hopefully you're attracting that of people who may not have commented in a while :)

DISCLAIMER: Yeah it's another long one, scroll quickly if you're in a hurry, lol.

I just thought I'd point out that if you watch our games often, you'd notice that there's definitely a lot more rabo de arraia than armada. I know I'm splitting hairs, but if I'd made your comment: 'sick of Fucking role negativa armada and nothing else.' I'd've mentioned rabo de arraia instead. Surely you'd be far more sick of seeing them?

But aside from that, my point re: the internet was not that it wasn't necessarily there, but just that the students training years ago wouldn't have had the same luxury as those today. As in, the number of capoeira websites in existence today, and the number of different resources available... The amount of media such as video, audio etc. etc. is infinitely larger than it would have been 9 years ago when you found that Chimp Capoeira site. The difference is that if you have 50 explanations of something you don't understand to choose from, you're going to be able to find one that opens it right up for you with much more ease than if there's only one.

And along those lines, when you say you think it would be better if we tried harder... I don't think you're at all in a position to judge how hard people try. I think yes, there may be people that don't try too hard, but that is the case in anything, and will be the case with capoeira everywhere, not just here. As far as our dedicated students go, I think you're wrong. It's just my opinion, which is solely based on what I've witnessed in the time I've been here, but I see people trying very hard to push themselves as far as they can.

Also, ability is not a direct indication of effort... Some people are naturally physically capable, and capoeira is something they can pick up without a lot of effort, and develop great technique and skill easily... For other people (like me), however, it's something totally foreign, and they're not able to just pick up new movements without trying really hard. So that really clean technique and form takes longer to acquire. No, I can't do a good macaco. Nope, can't do a parafuso. Nope, no backflips or armada duplas either. In fact, I still struggle with a lot of simpler things such as S-dobrado, or even going up into bananeira from pushing off with BOTH feet at the same time. But I can guarantee you it's not for lack of trying. I've spent countless hours working on these movements, but progress is slower because it takes me a long time to develop muscle memory and get my body to do things it's not used to. I train as hard as I can, I go to every class I can unless I absolutely have to miss it, I go to every event I can make it to... When I'm in class I push myself, and I try to take in absolutely everything I possibly can because I want to learn everything I'm offered... I practice the movements I can't do, and ones I want to refine at home, or before/after training, or wherever I see open space...I have to be forced to take it easy on injuries, which I know is in my best interest, but I still don't like having to do it. And when I can't push myself physically I try to push myself mentally to widen my understanding of the game of capoeira itself, it's history, protocols, and the intricacies of interaction within the roda etc. etc.

I'm not trying to talk about myself here, I just wanted to put forth one perspective, and the only one I can genuinely give with certainty is my own... But I'd like to add that I know I'm not alone in thinking this way, or working this hard. Yes we do all have a long way to go with respect to technique and such, because our capoeira is so young, but it's not like we're all sitting around complacently waiting for that to happen. We are working for it, and we are working hard for it. You're entitled to your opinion, and there'd be no point if you weren't allowed to express it, but I don't feel that you have any place undermining the really hard work that the majority of us are doing.

I appreciate the observation that I speak from my heart, as I do... As humans we're all judgmental to an extent, but you may find, George, that you can be less so if you try to speak less from your ego.
  2007-06-18 14:58:00
Hi George, yeah it seems you did hit a nerve. Guys, relax! The first post that set everyone off wasn't really all that bad.

I've talked to at least one other person who was missing the capoeira they found when they trained in Brazil and was therefore reluctant to get back into it here where the level is not as high. My argument was that the level here is never going to improve if people here don't train and play, ESPECIALLY those who have experience and have seen and played a lot of capoeira. If you've been around for years and trained in Brazil and elsewhere, you can't really expect people who have only trained for a year or two here to inspire you to get back into it. The enthusiasm has to come from you, and, realistically, at this time here in Aotearoa, you have to expect to be giving back to capoeira more than you take from it. As Rastinha said, Capoeira here is really young.

But even if you do have the inspiration inside to get back into capoeira, maybe this school's just not your thing? Where do you live? In (at least) Auckland, Mt Maunganui, Wellington and Dunedin there are other groups, maybe you'd find more what you're looking for with one of them. If you're in Wellington then you're more than welcome to come and train/play with us, drop me an email (my address is on the classes page). If you find that you're not really into what we're doing then there's no pressure to stay and no hard feelings; I could probably put you in touch with the other group here too if you like.

As for the thing about hippies, I have to ask the same question as Ra - What's a hippy these days? When I first started there seemed to be quite a few flakey, unwashed, barefooted, dreadlocked, space cadets. Is that what you mean by 'hippies'? Most of them didn't seem to hang around for long.
  2007-06-18 15:38:29
I'm relaxed, lol... Just taking advantage of the opportunity to write a little... Hehe.

I only bit back because it was hard to tell from the first post exactly where george was coming form and what he was basing his opinions on...wanted to encourage him to elaborate. Oh and also cos I didn't like hearing all the people I look up to and am inspired by, dissed for half the stuff I look up to them for and am inspired by :P.
  boy george
  2007-06-18 15:51:14
thanx zigue zague and rastinha.
Points well taken. Think ZZ's last paragraph is more the types i was talking about as apposed to hippies.
Capoeira here is very young and thats cool.
Glad to incite some discussion
In the grand scheme of things think you guys are awesome Group, Inclusive and friendly.(except on the forum)
Just trying to figure out why i dont feel inclined to come and play. Its not an ego thing. Just trying to understand things.
This forum is pretty rough, Make me cry. You guys must really hate hippies to take such offence at the title.
But anyways good points rastinha and Zigzag.
Rastinha maybe next time try to just reply without all the assumptions about me. I love capoeira and allways will, just tryin to find a place i feel comfy. Thats up to nobody but myself, Iknow that.
First comment was just made of my observations.
thanx for your feedback
Boa Noite Pasifika
  2007-06-18 16:41:30
I agree that it depends on what you meant by hippie, george... I don't hate hippies, in fact I relate quite well... I'd consider myself a hippy as I understand them. Didn't take offence at the title, just felt that it should be fairly clear as to why 'hippies' are drawn to capoeira if you understand a hippy perspective and capoeira values...

This from Wikipedia:

"...Hippies rejected established institutions, criticized middle class values, opposed nuclear weapons (especially in the United Kingdom and New Zealand[5][6]), opposed the Vietnam War (especially in the U.S.), embraced aspects of non-Judeo-Christian religions, championed sexual liberation, promoted the use of psychedelic drugs to expand one's consciousness, used alternative arts and their Acid Rock as a part of their lifestyle, spreading by it their feelings, their protests, their vision of world and life, and created intentional communities. Hippies opposed political and social orthodoxy, choosing a gentle and nondoctrinaire ideology that favored peace, love, and personal freedom,[7][8] perhaps best epitomized by The Beatles' song "All You Need is Love".[citation needed] They perceived the dominant culture as a corrupt, monolithic entity that exercised undue power over their lives, calling this culture "The Establishment", "Big Brother", or "The Man".[9][10] ..."

Maybe it's just me, but that seems to have a lot of parallels with a capoeira philosophy... both traditional, if taken broadly in terms of being anti-establishment/oppression; and in terms of a more modern philosophy in the way that capoeira, and capoeiristas relate to the world of today. And especially with the stance our group in particular takes on having a political aspect to our capoeira...encouraging though, and action, and making a difference in the world where we can.

Any assumptions I made weren't things that I decided in my head about the way you were, they were just things that seemed to be implied by your posts that I wanted to get you to elaborate on so I could get a proper idea of what you meant :)

And if we don't seem as friendly and inclusive on the forum, I have to say it's most likely due to the fact this is an open forum and we often get people that come in here and pass judgements, or attack us or whatever directly...And we are capoeiristas, so I guess we're always on the defensive, and we can't help but become part of a good dialogue...especially if there's a bit of fire in there... :P
  2007-06-18 17:00:49
Maybe one thing about the level is this:
- in this neck of the woods most people pick up capoeira in their late teens, early 20s. And then they leave for other parts. We're always bleeding good players because they have itchy feet.
- it seems to me that this group has grown a lot faster in the last couple of years. People who've only been playing 1 or 2 years are probably the largest part of the group at this point. Certainly if you come to class any night in Welly or Auckland and take a census you'll find 50% on the 2 years or less side.
- good things take time. Really, lots of time, like 20 years. If you think about how many people in NZ might like to play, if they knew about it, and at what rate they might join, and at what rate they might leave, and blah blah blah, you'd see that it will take years yet before you can have a solid core of a really high standard. (No disrespect to the fine people we do have but the ones with long years in the game could probably fit in one big hippy bus...)
- someone mentioned modesty and holding back upthread, and I think that's true - I notice all the time that good players play down to the standard they're presented with. (Which is why it's becoming my mission, as a not-very-good person, to try and prod those people into providing an arse-kicking.) I dunno if that's a cultural thing for NZ, or this group, or what, but I think it's a real phenomenon. And it means that if you wander into a random roda and watch one random game, it may not be a very inspiring one.

My observation is that visiting people with skills have always been welcomed in. If you want to see people play a game that inspires you, you might have to muck in and make that happen.
  2007-06-18 17:27:44
Very nice thread George!
You've inspired some really interesting discussion and some self analysis (which is always a good thing) at the same time.
I wouldn't take offence at the tone of the thread; even the entries with a little more vitriol; as I think this is all part of the play that makes this forum compelling.
It's also great to hear about your depth of experience with Capoeira internationally. Perhaps you could bring some of that knowledge to the Roda sometime as I think it would be beneficial for both parties in much the same way this thread has been.
Ax� to all the writers and thinkers on this thread.
  mad dingo
  2007-06-18 18:02:36
Hey George.
Who is your Mestre? You have no hesitation in talking freely about my mestre's Mestre, so would you care to speak about who your Mestre is?
  2007-06-18 22:57:45
hehehe, see, this is why it would be handy to have "Real time chat" installed on this site... we would have so much fun and debate.... and i agree grorge... Id love to play against some kkk's or skinheads too, i just dont think id have as much fun playing them as i would enjoy playing the "Hippies" of New Zealand..... i think im a bit of a flower child at heart.... but ive also seen Tucano play in a roda... and there aint no way id call him a hippie....nope, not me.
  2007-06-18 22:59:38
And to back up Rastinha, we get ALOT of Fairys that ruin it for EVERYONE....LOL
  2007-06-18 23:00:02
Net fairys that is.
  2007-06-19 00:19:07
Ill speak for myself since we re on the Brazill band wagon.

Been there,done that,got my arse kicked as expected,got up,licked my wounds and did it all again.Why?

To come back home and help develope capoeira.

"stuff those who go there and come home crying about how far behind we are,that really annoys me!

Burro,have you thought about creating a group of your own for the style of capoeira it may be that you seek?

I wish you luck and hope you find a roda that best suits you.

thats all i have to say on this thread.

  2007-06-19 09:56:27
you can call me a hippie if you want

there did use to be a few more vegans around... in the old days...
  2007-06-19 10:35:55
... but then we ate them! A HAHAHA HA!
  2007-06-19 13:44:14
vegans... no fat... are they yumy?
  2007-06-19 14:59:37
I doubt that Panca...... Vegans bite back ....hard!
Don't be fooled they are as blood thirsty as they come in the Roda.
I think its the lack of iron that drives them.
  2007-06-19 15:25:45
or steel... LOL
  2007-06-19 16:31:29
Damn, even anemia doesn't make me bloodthirsty...

Would eating a vegan be considered a vegetarian friendly meal?
  2007-06-19 16:41:10
Did you hear about the vegetarian cannibals? They only ate Swedes!


Thank you very much.
  2007-06-19 16:51:00
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