After discussing what capoeira is the next step is to talk about why someone does capoeira and who does capoeira. An extremely over simplified answer would be to say, “people do it because it is good for your health, and everyone can do capoeira.” While that statement is true it does not really do justice to how capoeira is good for you, and how available capoeira is to everyone.
Capoeira is for everyone.
I have never met a person who I think couldn’t benefit from doing capoeira. Whether the person is elderly or young, sickly or healthy, overweight or underweight, average joe or fitness fanatic, or depressed or happy there is some way that capoeira can improve your quality of life.
The physical benefits to be reaped from doing capoeira are both long term and short term. In the short term you will see weight loss, increased strength and stamina, you will feel more energized, and you will feel inspired to keep pushing yourself harder and farther. After months of doing capoeira you will see and feel muscles in places you didn’t know you had them! After years of doing capoeira you will be using those muscles to make yourself do things you never thought you would be capable of doing. Also, after years of doing capoeira you will see yourself not only feel younger, but you will appear healthier and younger as well. Being active whether it be through capoeira or other activities like mountain climbing, biking, hiking or weightlifting gives you a more youthful appearance because you are keeping your body healthy. As opposed to those that are sedentary and appear much older than their actual age. I think that capoeira does this better than other activities because not only does it challenge your body in ways you would never expect, but it also challenges your mind and your spirit… Which brings me to the next aspect that capoeira gives to those that practice it...
The mental and spiritual benefits from doing capoeira are far and wide. Learning capoeira involves learning more about who you are as a person. When you play capoeira in the roda “who you are” comes out. Your personality shows itself in your game. You might portray yourself as an extremely introverted person in your everyday life, but when you go into the roda suddenly you are doing flips and challenging people, and find yourself pushing yourself to kick faster and harder every time you go in. On the other hand you could be a very extroverted person in life, but when you go into the roda your more timid self shows itself and you play a really calm and careful game. From doing capoeira you will see aspects of your personality come out that you feel you can’t express in everyday life for fear of how the world will look at you, or because you you don’t feel they are appropriate ways to express yourself. Capoeira removes those limitations, and allows you to use your body to express your hidden thoughts and feelings. I, personally, think that this is a very important part of capoeira as it helps you to understand yourself, and after you understand yourself better it makes it easier for you to connect with others and create healthier and deeper relationships with your friends and family. Which … Brings me to my next point of community
For me the most important part of capoeira is the community. I don’t care for all of the “show” you see in capoeira highlight videos or the mma styled capoeira where you see people knocking each other out. For me, what makes me really love capoeira are the people who I have met since I started doing it. The community that we have created at Omulu Capoeira of MN is a community that cares for each other. Everyone is devoted to helping each other learn and helping each other grow. As a child I did not have this kind of environment. I didn’t have a community of people that wanted to see me become a good functioning member of society. I didn’t have that until I started doing capoeira in Madison, Wisconsin and became part of a community that made me feel like I was worth their time. My instructor used to say something during class that I will never forget, “TOGETHER OR NO WHERE!” It was his mantra during class that made me feel like I was part of the group, and made me feel like everyone who was there was going to get better together. I felt as though it didn’t matter if I was fat, out of shape, and had two left feet because we were going to go “together or nowhere” and I wasn’t going to get left behind. I keep that mentality now in our capoeira group here. That if we aren’t all growing together as a community, then we aren’t growing at all. No one should ever feel left out or like they are a burden to those who are ahead. The mentality that we foster in our capoeira community is that the people who are in the front of the class are no more important than the people at the back of the class, and all of those people always help the people who need help, so that everyone grows together. The community is my biggest “why” for doing capoeira. I love the physical and mental benefits that I have taken from doing capoeira. I feel sharper in my mind and healthier in my body than ever before, and I am constantly feeling those benefits. But what really makes me love why I do capoeira is that I get to be part of this amazing community of people that love and support each other. Getting to see the children who do capoeira with us grow up in this community is everything to me, because it is an environment that I was not given as a child. I think that it will make a huge impact on their lives, whether or not they choose to continue doing capoeira I think it will give them a better start to life and how to approach the world when they are older.
So these are the reasons why people do capoeira. If you look at each of these reasons you can see that everyone has something to gain from doing capoeira. So when someone says, “capoeira is for everyone” it is absolutely true, and this is why. Whether you are young or old capoeira, female or male or neither, a person of faith or of no faith, capoeira will make you stronger and healthier, and it will give you a community where you will feel loved and cared for and respected.