What is a typical capoeira class like? Part 1 – Warmup

Posted: March 20, 2012 by L M in beginner moves, capoeira, classes, how to, washington DC
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For a lot of people here in Washington, DC, capoeira is virtually unknown. When friends and colleauges ask me what it is, I usually try to describe it as a mixture between dance, martial arts and gymnastics.

So what happens in a typical capoeira class? Instruction will vary depending on the teacher, your group’s style, and even what part of the world you are practicing. In our class, we use many instruction techniques passed down from the mestres of capoeira in Bahia, Brazil as our instructor, Contra Mestre Bomba, grew up in Bahia and taught capoeira for many years in Brazil, until moving to DC a few years ago.

Before class starts, many of the students arrive early to start stretching. We will do stretches during and after the class as well, so if it is your preference to stretch beforehand to get loosened up first then plan on arriving a few minutes early.

Usually, we start the class with a light jog. Then, we warm up our arms and legs with different movements across the floor: crab walk, bear walk, hopping, high knees, and so on. If we are doing a class in a smaller space, we will do jumping jacks and different kinds of jumps to get warmed up. When the weather permits, we will go on a short run outdoors, generally up to 10 minutes of running time.

It is crucial to get warmed up properly because when you’re practicing capoeira, you are using muscles you probably haven’t used in a while, if ever. You will be working your legs, arms, and core throughout the remainder of the class so a good warmup will prepare your muscles for performing drills and practicing your technique later in the class. Plus, the warmup will improve your cardio, get your heart rate up, and help prevent soreness after class.

After our hearts have started pounding and our bodies are warm, we will do some leg stretches to work on flexibility. These stretches are based on many of the basic defensive movements of capoeira such as esquiva lateral and cocorinha.

Then, we’ll start with some basic moves of capoeira: au (cartwheel) and role (roll). Most beginning students haven’t done a cartwheel since they were a kid. So we practice them to build strength and balance and to perfect our technique since the au is a basic building  block of capoeira.

If you’re just starting out, the important thing to remember is to get used to the movement and work on your technique. As you continue practicing capoeira, your au will get better and better.

If you’re having trouble with your au, this video has some good tips:

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Comments
  1. […] from What is a typical capoeira class like? Part 1 Capoeira, South Bank by Dale […]

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