• Vernon C. Lindsay, PhD

Your Goals and Capoeira Wisdom


I know that when many people see me training, they think I am crazy. Sure, some are impressed. However, I would argue that a significant number of people in Antigua don't know about Capoeira.

Are you reading this, and thinking I don't know what to make of Capoeira? Keep reading, and I will define it for you along with what it can teach you to reach your 2019 goals.

Antigua is a small country located in the Caribbean islands. It’s about fourteen miles from the south to the north end of the country. Much of the land is uninhabited and reserved for wildlife. There are karate schools in Antigua, but not one offers a class in Capoeira.

Capoeira in its simplest form is a martial art. Furthermore, it includes self-defense tactics, dance movements, percussion instruments, acrobatic maneuvers, sacred rituals, communal philosophies, and freedom songs. Capoeira derives from a history involving enslaved Africans from multiple countries involuntarily transported to Brazil.

For many of today’s practitioners, Capoeiristas, Capoeira is a way of life.

Capoeira is important to me. It is not just some physical thing that I train six out of the seven days of every week. I train Capoeira to honor my ancestors and to impact the lives of people in need. With the intentions to improve, learn, influence lives, and stay healthy the discipline I have today became strengthened by deciding to train Capoeira.

I began studying Capoeira in 2006 at a park located on Chicago’s Southside. Thirteen years later, I am still learning movements, music, and the Brazilian Portuguese language. Capoeira has enhanced my life on multiple levels.

Instead of sharing all the takeaways from thirteen years in Capoeira, I offer two lessons that you can apply in your pursuit of the goals you created at the start of this year.

1. Learn from your elders.

Similar to Karate, many Capoeira schools follow a belt system. The belts help distinguish between years of training and corresponding responsibilities. In my school, the United Capoeira Association, the highest title a person can earn is Mestre/Mestra (master teacher). There are various levels of Mestre; as a Capoeira student, you learn to respect these teachers and others who embody years of knowledge and experience. If you are interested in achieving your goals this year, find yourself an elder, a Mestre, a teacher, a mentor, a coach, or sage. Find someone who can teach you how to sustain new years’ resolutions beyond December 2019.

2. Discipline is fundamental to growth.

The progress that I have experienced in Capoeira movements, musical, and historical comprehension is related to my teachers and my self-discipline. It takes discipline to show up to class every week for intense training sessions. Self-discipline is fundamental to getting to the gym at 5 AM to train alone. Discipline is telling yourself no to the things you want because there is something you need. Through training in Capoeira, I can tell you that without discipline you will fail to achieve your goals. Make discipline your best friend, and one day you can experience the joy of marriage to your dreams.

Capoeira can serve as an incredible motivator to improve in multiple areas of your life. To further demonstrate the benefits, I have made some changes to my offerings related to Capoeira that you can see here! In the spring of this year, my second book that chronicles my work with Capoeira and Chicago youth will be released.

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