Capoeira FeverBrazil, Fitness & Workouts, Lost Girls RTW Adventure — By Holly C on September 18, 2006 at 5:07 pm
Brazilians are fitness fanatics. Besides typical activities such as jogging and biking, you’ll find beach-goers playing soccer, volleyball or foot-volley (where you only touch the ball with your feet or your head). To break out of a workout rut, the ladies and I signed up for some capoeira classes at a studio in Salvador, the capital of Bahia state and the Afro-Brazilian center of the country. Capoeira, a combo of martial arts and dancing, began back in the 1500s when slaves disguised tribal fighting with music so they wouldn’t be punished by white landowners.
Classes kick off with drum beating, chanting and clapping. Pros, or masters, as they’re called, gracefully cart wheel, duck and kick around their opponents at a dizzying pace. When I attempted it myself at the studio, I shyly entered the middle of a circle of students. I tried to fall into a rhythm with my instructor, but ended up just trying to avoid getting nailed.
I became so engrossed in anticipating his next move and swaying to the music that I barely noticed my ragged breathing and sweat-soaked shirt. But it was impossible not to notice my aching calves and inner thighs the following morning. Who needs a treadmill? Any sport that feels more like playtime than exercise will keep me coming back.
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