The Trenel & the Mestre

A tale and a test of character…

It is always great to see my Mestre, Marcelo Angola. There were many reasons why I chose him as my master of Capoeira. Marcelo is a generous and caring mestre. His group was started as a childrens project, where he would teach capoeira and literacy and numeracy skills to the children who either did not or could not attend school and were getting in to trouble on the streets, the same problems we face here in our own country, by drinking, taking drugs or committing other crimes.

All of the Brazilian teachers from our group have grown up on Itaparica Island and developed their capoeira with Mestre Marcelo Angola and through and in support of this first project which still runs on the Island back in Bahia under the supervision of CM Brisa and trenel Manhosa.

I remember having long conversations with Mestre about life, love and capoeira and he’s as wise and rich in personality as he is in his knowledge and work as a professional Capoeira practitioner – he is a genuine Capoeira Angola master. When Marcelo offered me the title of treinel, I said to him, “…Mestre I don’t need or want a title. The responsibility that comes with it, I’m not sure if I want that. I don’t need a title to know I’m a good teacher & my students keep coming back for more so I must be doing something right…”

Mestre took in what I’d said and a smile spread on his face as he replied, “Pão, I understand….. you have passed the last test… you are now ready for your first title.”

ADM @ ICCI360 Weymouth 2012

This Olympic year we hosted our most ambitious International Festival of Capoeira with a day of displays and workshops with ICCI360 from Plymouth University in Weymouth for the final day of the Olympic games 2012.

Having mestre and the ADM family here that could make it to our second festival (CM Fubuia, CM Bizarro and Prof. Charel) really made this August very special for me. We had some of my first students I’ve not seen for years return as well as over 30 of the ADM students and friends from all over Europe. It was also great to finally host an event in Plymouth, where I have lived for the last 14 years. May capoeira stay strong and alive in the South West for many years to come. Thank you also has to go out to Mestre Joaozinho and his family from MarAzul for teaching and continuing to support the ADM family in the UK and Europe, Brisa and Figura from MQFSM in London who rocked up for one day to see us and join in a roda, and to all of my students here in Devon, who without the festival never would have happened – Vermelho, Cavaleira, Rato, Cutia, Roz and Zapata.

I want to leave you with the following list of capoeira & life philosophies that were told to me by my mestre Marcelo Angola and still today teach me new things about capoeira as I continue on my own journey. Axé.

The spirit of the capoeirista

  1. To know oneself is to control oneself, to dominate is to prevail.
  2. To always yield is to win.
  3. Capoeira is the one that has intelligence to understand what they do not teach to you, patience to pass on what you have learnt to others and to believe in what you don’t yet understand.
  4. The one that fears loses; the other one has already won.
  5. One only comes close to perfection when they look forward with certainty, wisdom and mainly with much humility.
  6. To know a little everyday and to use it everyday for good are the ways of the capoeiristas.
  7. When we realise with sadness that we don’t know anything, your first progression in the art form of Capoeira Angola will be done.
  8. The body is a weapon, whose efficiency depends on the precision with which your intelligence acts.
  9. To practice capoeira is to use intelligence, to think quickly and use the body with justice.
  10. Weakness makes you susceptible, ignorance makes you blind, knowledge and energy give you the understanding – those who understand she pardons.
  11. The man who dominates his own mind will never be enslaved.
  12. It is what you find difficult to achieve that presents an opportunity for you to improve.
  13. In all that you do, put your hope to the front.
  14. A master is somebody that knows the value of thinking, of believing and of being mistaken too. The most important thing is that he transmits his lessons.