Please enjoy the following guest post by capoeira student Adam “Pirata” Rothrock, on the structure and advantages of capoeira for kids.
“If school isn’t maximizing your child’s boundless energy, or they’re in need of a more involved outlet for their creativity, capoeira is an excellent resource that can stay with them their whole lives. Join Graduada Tasha with Grupo Unçao Capoeira for Kids’ Class, Saturdays at 2:30 pm at Breathe Yoga Studio on East Carson St. in Pittsburgh’s Southside.
As a martial art, a dance, and, most importantly, a game, youths learn kicks, dodges, and simple acrobatics based around the cartwheel. They’ll learn to sing songs in Brazilian Portuguese, as well as get acquainted with the traditional musical instruments of capoeira. Don’t forget the self-discipline of structured learning and the etiquette of play!
Class begins with the standard formal greeting, “Salve!” while taking a step in “ginga”, the foundation of the dynamic movements. Next comes the warm-up: typically running in place, jumping jacks, and high-knees. After this we stretch and shake it out.
Now for the agilities! Kids are welcome to practice a handstand, a low step used to dodge, or a moving “role” (pr: ho-LAY) used to sidle around a playing partner, for example, all demoed by Graduada Tasha–sometimes with an adult capoeira student helper. The adult class is right afterwards at 3:30 pm, so it’s extra practice for them, too! Feel free to stick around for it if your child’s not too tired.
After drills across the floor, Graduada Tasha teaches kicks, where kids’ developing sense of balance really gets activated. Depending on height, students learn to sweep kicks over yoga blocks stacked in front of them. Once we’ve done our pushups (don’t worry: we start at just five), we combine the travelling moves with escapes and kicks.
It all leads up to the “roda” (pr: HO-da), the circular game where children play the instructor and fellow students, each taking time to appreciate the back-and-forth, conversational aspects of capoeira. They learn to follow the traditions of clapping and singing when not in the center with a partner, and the best way to “buy into” the game, not to mention being “bought out”.
After roda, Graduada Tasha teaches the form for playing the atabaque and pandeiro–a drum and tambourine–as well as the lyrics to capoeira songs.
Class ends the way it starts: “Salve!” We then clap for yet another successful class, happy to be learning every day, every week, our whole life!
For any questions, email Graduada Tasha at firstname.lastname@example.org.”