Think about what Vincent Cassel and Adriana Lima have in common besides their near-perfect bodies and EU citizenship. Don’t dig too deeply, the answer is – capoeira- the Brazilian martial art which they practice to keep in shape and keep conquering hearts of millions.
When I took my first steps in capoeira, I didn’t even know (and care) what celebrities have passion for it. I just wanted to grow stronger, more flexible and most of all, compensate my sedentary lifestyle with an intensive physical exercise. After a few weeks of training, however, I figured out this fascinating piece of Brazilian culture has many other benefits.
- It doesn’t require any previous training
Once I started recommending my new pursuit to my friends, the most popular answer was: “It’s not for us. You’re already well-trained, and we are far from sporty”. It’s a misconception. Even if you’re a geeky type and the only exercise in your life was the one with Rubik’s Cube, you can do “a bridge” and handstand in a few months. All you need is the desire to get yourself off the “computer zone” (which is even worse than a “comfort zone”) and exercise regularly.
- It helps you overcome your fears
Handstand has always been one of the greatest fears in my life. Honestly, I joined the class to prove myself that “I can hold everything in my hands, even my own weight”J My first attempts were horrifying. I was choking out of fear. But as my hands gained strength (after a myriad of failure, of course), I suddenly found myself standing on them by the wall. I’m proud of this victory over the paralyzing fear. But that’s only the beginning. Capoeira has many other challenging tricks to throw your way.
- It’s social and positive
Despite being a non-contact martial art, capoeira implies attacks, defenses and …failures to stop the kicks. Rarely is it dangerous; mostly it is funny. In fact, you often laugh at your and others’ failures (light-heartedly, no offense) which makes the whole class a very positive experience. Besides, jogo– the “game” of capoeira accompanied with songs and national music- is a tricky way to reveal people’s overt and covert traits. You should try to beat them with your flexibility and strategy rather than strength (though honestly, my fellow capoeiristas claim I often shift to an aggressive-mode during the jogo. Not a thing to be proud of:)).
- 1 hour of capoeira=500calories
If you’re anything like me you will find an hour at gym boring. Spinning, running and pushing up for an hour is not for me. I like variety of action, communication, dances and music. In this sense, capoeira is a perfect solution. But there is another irrefutable benefit. It’s proven that 1 hour of capoeira burns 500 calories. It equals to 1.5 hours of spin class, but instead, you won’t have a sore butt at the end of the class.
So, now it’s perhaps clear for you why the above-mentioned celebrities are capoeiristas. If you’re still skeptical about it, just re-watch Vincent Cassel’s capoeira episode at Ocean’s 12, and you are sure to feel like trying capoeira at least once.