Capoeira Palmares Orlando - Minha Bahia 2015
On July 30, 2015, a few of us from Capoeira Palmares Orlando as well as Capoeira Guerreiros New Jersey went to Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Our close to two week stay allowed everyone to get first hand experiences with not only the roots of Capoeira, but the people, the land as well as the culture at its epicenter. This journey has left an indelible mark on our souls. Here is what what some of us had to say:
"Experiencing Bahia and the origin of capoeira, and seeing where my own roots grow from, was an invaluable experience. The history and culture is not something you can be told about and truly understand--you have to make the homage, live with the people, play their game, feel their axé. I played in the same paths where my mestre grew up, I walked down roads where slaves had been auctioned off, and saw places where capoeira struggled to survive and ultimately flourished. It was a huge challenge and adventure, and gave me a new respect and new outlook on my own game.
The featured song, Equestrian by U.S. Royalty, holds a lot of meaning for myself and the trip. The verse "I come down from the mountain" in particular evokes a sense of leaving behind our privilege, comfort, and (what we consider) wealth, to experience a more raw lifestyle, one that is much richer in more ways than our own." - Kirsten Faísca Haslett
"There are some many things I can say about my experience there, but I will refine it down to the most impactful for me.
Despite the language barriers, I feltl like everyone who I spent time with made a genuine attempt to connect. For me this was the most beautiful part of the whole experience. It is those connections, that I look forward to being able to keep going. Rodrigo, Mestre George's brother, is the man! Thank you for all of your generosity. You are a true friend. Next time, I will speak better Portuguese! Priscila, thank you for your time too. You were so fun to hang out with! Junio Rodrigues,you are so talented man! I hope you make it to the U.S. I got a lot of compliments on the haircut! Mitchell Ledoux Thank you for hanging out and your english is excellent keep it up! Mestre Lazaro, you have such a big heart and I have a lot of respect for you not only because you are my Mestre's Mestre, but because you are a true leader, a role model for so many, your work in your community and your warmth and generosity. You have such a positive effect on all of those around you. Lucia Carneiro, I can see why Capoeira Palmares, is who he is, where he gets his wisdom from, as well as his good looks tongue emoticon. You are so loving and kind, and are a blessing to all of those kids you work with. It truly is such a beautiful thing what you and Lazaro are doing!
The land of Bahia is beautiful as you can see from the pictures, but the people are even more so. Even with the struggle they face from day to day, they still keep an open heart. There is still an intangible richness of human connection that we don't often see here in the States.
Being able to stand in the midst of so much history, often gave me chills. The capoeira here wasn't just a pastime, it very much is a way of life. For a lot of those kids that we were honored to train with, capoeira is something they can excel in and channel their energy into. Learning control, discipline and how to transcend self imposed limitations. All things that will help them transcend and succeed despite the struggles they may face throughout their life.
I was reminded to simplify my life. To cherish my personal connections and to embrace all that capoeira can give to me while, giving as much as I can back to it. I look forward to going back to Bahia, to gain and give, to laugh and love, to have fun and make friends once again.
Thank you Mestre George, for giving me the opportunity to experience the axé and soul of Salvador, Bahia, your home and the home of our capoeira! Salve e Axé!!!