Black Capoeirista, White Trash?
Well, the batizado was everything I expected it to be, and more. I played against beginners, mestre’s, kick boxers and ballerina’s. Though the whole event was one turbulent climax of events, a few stood out:
- I took a Meia Lua de Compasso (spinning heel kick) to the face. I don’t really know how it happened, it was near the end of day 1 and I was exhausted, I guess I was just not paying attention. Rule number one: look at your opponent at all times, since the list of counter-attacks is endless. It’s a newbie mistake to make, even I should know better. Luckily for me though, I have a slight advantage: I learned how to take a punch before. Might sound stupid, but it’s something they don’t teach in capoeira class. I stayed standing and we continued, but I did have to wash the taste from my mouth afterwards.
- The Kick boxer! I just stepped into a random roda, taking it up against a white belt: should be a breeze. Little did I know, I would be doing little more than deflecting, not even dodging, one kick after the other. In short, he just stood there and tried to kick the shit out of me without even bothering with rhythm. Not even close to good enough to deal with this, I had to switch to a different stance, resulting in a boxing match or some such.
- The square twins. Why square? Because they were at least as broad as they were tall. I’m not sure if they were related at all, but to me, they were one and the same person: They looked very much alike, even wore the same black shirts, and both had the habit of turning any roda into a punch-out. Quite literally, even: someone got a fist in the face, having to leave with a bleeding nose, and my formado had to step in and split them up when they had to fight each other. They will ram you into the row of people behind you, plant a knee in your face, and play with the actual intent of hitting you out cold. I don’t care if they were black belts – to me, it was a disgrace. Punching and kicking without any show of respect towards your opponent.
- The Red Belt. There was only one man present there with a red belt, which puts him in the ‘mestre’ rank. He stood out somewhat because of this, and an otherwise very quiet demeanor. We were told in advance to watch out when playing against a high ranking capoeirista, they make it a game among themselves to tackle you. I took someone from my group aside earlier and we exchanged tackles, dropping into negativa stance each time and rolling away quickly and unharmed. Nothing could have prepared me for his move, though. The speed and efficiency, trapping my leg in the air and kicking the other right under the back of the knee. I just lost all form of balance and landed flat on my back, uttering a little couch as I heard the whole roda around me go "Owww got his ass served on a platter right there." Completely confused, I just crawled to my feet instead of saving some face by doing a nice roll or flip. All this is filmed by the way, I’ll post it as soon as I get a hold on it.
Now then! Instead of getting my white belt as is common on a first batizado, I got white-yellow. I am very aware that it’s a newbie belt and it means very little, but I am damn proud of it. I see it as a beginning, and it shows an outsider that I know what I’m doing, without claiming to be something I’m not.
By the way, for those who care to check it out!
Lousy quality but sort-of artsy pictures: http://picasaweb.google.be/maartendepue/Batizado2008Brussel
More to come!
Having spent an entire weekend as "Punk, le capoeirista noir" (I tend to wear black at trainings instead of the usual white) I noticed my behavior was somewhat different than usual. Nothing to worry about or even be surprised with, but it did make me think. I can’t tell for sure of course but I get the feeling that people’s habit of describing one another with a few words can never be fully correct. Every person has so many masks, and in time will adopt a persona he "plays" as one that he "is". So who am I playing, and who Am I?
Enter Maarten, a most often poorly shaven twenty-something boy with a khaki cap. Poor taste of clothing, and quite (over?)opinionated. Somewhat of a cynic, though usually it merely serves to put things into context. Fragile ego, inflated as easily as it is shattered. Brother, son, lover and friend, no enemies to speak of. Would do everything for his friends but far too little for his girlfriend – tends to take her for granted, dumb ass.
Turtle – Roadie. Rather big mouth, but easily put in place. Is called ‘Turtle’ only by travelling crews who seem him wear his helmet, which are very few. Other names are Maarten, Martin and ‘you there’. Loves his job despite any complaints he may spout. Loves all who speak English and a minimum of responsibility and thought-provoking work. Hates repetitive chores and stupid co-workers. Main difference with Maarten persona are his (even) less polite manners. Belching, cussing and sexist jokes (behind their backs obviously) are quite common. Good team worker though.
Punk – Same face as Maarten but different in character. Named after the mohawk he lost on Halloween 2007. Quite energetic, will prefer rhythm and speed over accuracy and grace though a balance is being sought. Tends not to care much about protocol, will challenge a monitor as quickly as a newcomer, though of course he is not stupid. Still, often gets in over his head because of this. Nevertheless, bears a great respect towards high ranks and will remain quite humble with them, despite his tendency to challenge their superiority.
Vermin – Faceless internet persona, the most cynical bastard of all. Friendly towards friends, suspicious towards all others. Will cast aside acquaintances to focus his energy on closer friends, which often clashes with real life situations. Basically, Vermin is there as an axis between all other persona’s, logging their highlights on the net while making a fool of them with childish jokes and sarcastic remarks when ever possible. Not necessarily a bad character however, mainly serves as an earlier mentioned method of putting things "into context" and relativating them, confronting the others with the unimportance of their accomplishments, perhaps to plainly keep their, also mentioned, ego’s in check.
James – Pure version of Maarten, quite the opposite of Vermin though also a non-existing being. Has changed names repeatedly in the past, depending on his environment as he is taken from one fictive location to the next. Cares, loves, has more patience than all others combined. Is, for safety reasons, rather hard to trace back towards the others, unless you go from them to him.
So who are you? One of these, which will undoubtedly seem familiar here and there, or some common being behind all these masks? I can tell only for myself and it’s kind of awkward to go and ask this to someone else. But undeniably, everyone is a different person among certain friends, when they are alone, or when they are on the internet. Would you give your parents your myspace password? Would you want your girl/boyfriend to know what you say to certain people? The differences start off quite simple, but they go very deep. What is your core? What is you?