This post is overdue. I have a year and a half of Capoeira under my belt (cord, in this case) and don’t see an end anytime soon. I love it. For many reasons.
In November we had a “baptism and cord change” ceremony. Now there is nothing religious about Capoeira unless you bring your own beliefs with you. Capoeira is open to all and everyone has their own practice; everyone has the potential to create their own style of Capoeira. The word baptism in this context is closely related to “initiation.” Mestre Chocolate hadn’t presided over a ceremony in over a year so there were a whole mess of us being initiated.
In order to be initiated we had to know certain basic terminology and movements and then during a big roda (the circle of people playing Capoeira) we had to play with a “graduated” member of the school who would take us down. The tripping was gentle and kind-spirited, more symbolic than anything. And after that, viola, we were baptized.
Later in the ceremony there was the changing of the cord where everyone who was worthy of a new level earned a new color. Here is a link to the cord progression that we follow (it varies depending on the school or style). Unbaptized members wear double white, whereas newly initiated members wear white/yellow. However, I felt honored to have Mestre pass me straight to double yellow — mainly for my efforts in managing the ECA branch of the group.
In addition to the baptism and changing of the cord, the audience was also treated to several dance performances of both Brasilian and Venezuelan heritage. One thing I didn’t know when I started was that Capoeria is a whole culture beyond the fighting. There are at least four styles of dance that one must learn; there are a slew of instruments and tons of songs to master; and then there is the rich history and lineage to understand.
This first year and a half have been most excellent and it will take me much longer to learn all that so I’m hoping the next place we live is home to a group similar to this one.