Remembering moves in a roda is worthless

Remembering moves in a roda is worthless

When you enter a roda, trying to remember the moves you learnt in class as a beginner is worthless. Instead, you need to…

…be cautious of who decide to play with and just go with the flow. So you’ve been training for a while and you go to a class or two or three a week (if you are lucky). You see your fitness and flexibility improve, you can remember movements better and have practised but, when you enter a roda (the circle we play the game of capoeira in) you forget everything you’ve learnt. Sound familiar..?

It doesn’t matter (!) there I said it… the roda is the reason we play capoeira. To have fun, respect the ritual, sing songs, play games with our friends or strangers and only as a last resort as a way of defending yourself. The rodas you attend should be chosen wisely. If the teacher or mestre can not lead a roda (which is done by the berimbau gunga and the other instruments) and can not control the energy of the roda well, then things can easily get out of hand. BE CAREFUL – simple really. This doesn’t mean you should avoid playing in a roda, far from it…

If you do not play in a roda you are missing probably the most important way you learn in the beautiful art form of Capoeira; only by being tested and testing other players skill and knowledge in a safe and enjoyable setting can you develop the skill to improvise, play off the vibes of the music and songs and really enjoy your game. It’s true, there are rodas which are more dangerous to attend (and this is especially true of Brazil). If you intend to visit another group’s roda, unless you know them, always try to go with someone else from your group, your teacher if at all possible, and always ask before offering to play, sing or have a game in their roda. Every group has its own way of running a roda, from the way they set up the instruments in the bateria (orchestra – 8 instruments in Capoeira Angola) to how you enter and exit the games or even what songs can be sung in that particular roda.

Only by playing capoeira will you develop the reaction skills and malandragem (trickery/magic) needed to develop your own capoeira further.

In the roda games are not rehearsed or choreographed, they are improvised. You must remember you need to play the other person (they are the potential threat) whom may or may not have more or less knowledge of capoeira and the game than you. If they are more experienced it is always best to play respectfully and try to find that perfect opportunity to show you could have caught them without getting carried away. As soon as you let your emotions get the better of you or play a little too hard, you need to remember the person you are playing if older with capoeira may have more levels they can step their game up to than you…

so pick your games wisely, especially if you are at someone else’s roda playing someone you’ve never played before. It is the emotions, personalities and ego’s of man/women/child that you need to be careful of the most when playing in a roda. We all have good and bad days, but being able to control those emotions sometimes in the roda can be difficult to achieve by everyone who plays capoeira.

We hope you continue on your own journey in to capoeira and look forward to meeting you at one of our classes or in a roda sometime. Thank you for reading.