Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that we usually get. Hopefully this page will answer most of your questions.
Of course - and you are not alone! The majority of our students have never done any martial arts before, let alone Capoeira. We will start by teaching you the basic movements and you take it from there. All of our classes are mainly tailored towards beginners, so no experience is necessary and you do not need to be in a certain shape to take part in our classes.
However, we do tailor each class to the level of the students. You can’t be an expert right away. There are building blocks and a foundation that needs to be built first, and you gain that when taking the class. If you have never done any form of exercise before or have any health concerns, we highly recommend you to consult with your physician prior to taking part in any physical activity.
One last thing worth mentioning, here at Axé Capoeira Maryland, students of all skill levels train together in order to create and nurture a sense of community. Beginners can learn a lot by partnering with experienced students who can push past their limits, thus encouraging faster (and fun) learning process. Conversely, advanced students gain more control over their game by helping beginners, as well as skills in instructing others.
Every class begins with a warm-up routine, followed by reinforcement of basic kicks, movements, and escapes. Afterward, class will typically consist of learning new techniques or developing known movements, either with a partner or as a whole class. Sometimes students will play a warm-up roda before class begins, or end class with a roda to practice their skills.
Capoeira will provide you with a cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility workout. When you begin your training or practice new techniques, expect to be sore for a couple of days. Don't worry! Your body will adjust. Just remember to stretch before and after training, and drink plenty of water.
The roda (pronounced ho-da) is the circle in which Capoeira is played. In the roda, you should apply the training and movements practiced in class, such as different kicks and escapes. If you can't think of anything else to do, just keep moving and stick to the basics (i.e. ginga). As you gain experience as a Capoeirista, your game will progress as well.
Also, while 2 Capoeiristas play in the roda, the rest of the Capoeiristas that make up the roda circle need to clap and sing. The songs that accompany Capoeira are sung in Portuguese. As a beginner, just clap along with the music and try to mimic the sounds of the chorus. Gradually, you will learn the words to the songs, and will gain some cross-cultural communication skills, too!
In a typical roda, you will also see instruments being played. The songs and musical instruments of capoeira are an integral part of the art and history of capoeira. Together these instruments form the bateria, or ensemble, played during a roda. The bateria include:
- The Berimbau - a single-stringed bow-shaped instrument that sets the tone and rhythm of the game
- The Pandeiro - a hand-held drum, similar to the tambourine
- The Atabaque - a tall wooden-framed drum, similar to a conga drum; and
- The Agogô - a double gong bell made of wrought iron or wood. This is not as common as the other three instruments above
You can wear any loose and comfortable clothing suitable for a wide range of motion (i.e. think 'gym clothing'), such as breathable pants (no shorts or jeans please), and a tucked t-shirt / top. As a beginner, these are acceptable for training. As you progress past your initial classes however, you will be expected to purchase an official uniform through your instructor.
As far as wearing shoes goes, some people prefer to play Capoeira barefooted while others wearing shoes. If you train capoeira barefoot your feet will need to grow accustomed to the movements and "toughen up". If you wear shoes it is best to wear indoor athletic shoes that are only intended for indoor training.
Capoeira was developed with one purpose in mind: survival (of which self-defense is one of the primary goals). Many people who don’t understand Capoeira may doubt its effectiveness in a fight. This is a powerful weapon for a capoeira practitioner since the element of surprise is a very important one for any capoeirista. Here is a good example of one:
There is no end to the learning process in capoeira. The amount of time it takes a new student to learn the basics depend on many factors, such as their athletic level, previous experience in other physical activities, consistency, will to learn, patience and dedication. You do not need to be flexible or be in shape to start classes. However, when you start capoeira you will see many positive changes in your body such as increase in strength, stamina, flexibility, energy and a more toned physique.
You can also think of it as learning a new language. The more of the language you learn, the more clearly you can express yourself to others. If your goal is to have a conversation with someone that consists of, "Hi, how are you?" and "I am fine, thank you.", you should be able to do that within a month or two. If you plan to discuss world politics or philosophy, be prepared to spend more time learning the language.
You’ll be amazed how training capoeira will positively affect almost every area of your life. Whether your goal is to lose weight, develop flexibility, endurance, or strength, you’ll find the help you need in capoeira class. Capoeira students find they build confidence, learn to step outside of their comfort zone, develop leadership skills, and form lasting relationships. On top of that, the students will learn self-defense along with getting an amazing workout, by which they will earn a tremendous increase in their strength, conditioning, rhythm, coordination and flexibility. You get all that, while having fun doing it!
If you have any more questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org