Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Books About Capoeira one should read...
This past week, Beautiful Asiatic Earth learned that I used to teach Capoeira. She excitedly asked me to teach the babies at the Earth Appreciation Day this Sunday, June 24th, 2007 (The flyer will be posted up soon). It has been over a year since I last taught a class. I miss it so much. This past father's day I ginga'ed on the beach with my babies. It brought back so many memories. I did so many sequencias that soon I was just moving spontaneously without thinking (a blog entry for a nother day, right?). When I do lectures on martial arts, people often ask for literature on Capoeira. So here is a nice list for the summer. Again, I will only hit you with four but lately there have been a slew of books on Capoeira.
1.The Little Capoeira Book by Nestor Capoeira – This is considered the primer for Capoeira. It is a short read and you can carry it almost everywhere. Almost every capoeirista has read this. In 2003, Nestor Capoeira even updated it. Like most of his books, it was translated from Portuguese. He does a brief history of capoeira and then gets into the music and the moves. He even has pictures. I still reference the book. It makes a great gift for any historian or martial artist.
2.Capoeira, A Brazilian Art Form: History, Philosophy and Practice by Bira Almeida (Mestre Acordeon) – Acordeon was a student of Mestre Bimba, the capoeirista who was instrumental in the legalization of Capoeira. He is considered the first person to adapt Capoeira into a classroom setting. He was at the beginning of when Capoeira moved into it's academic period. So Acordeon has inherited a grand legacy. The book has several photos of Mestres who are long dead. The book is a short read. What makes it stand out is the fact that Acordeon focuses on his spiritual journey through Capoeira. Acordeon along with Mestre Jelon Veira, was one of the first mestres to bring Capoeira to the United States.
3.Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro Brazilian Art by Greg Downey – Downey is not the first non Brazilian to write about Capoeira. This too is a short read. It is an academic tome yet it is not as heavy as say J Lowell Lewis' book. I highlight this book because it focuses on Angola where as other books will focus on just the regional aspect of Capoeira. Downey studies under Mestre No. He meets other mestres and discusses their philosophy on Capoeira.
4.Spiritual Dimensions of the Martial Arts by Michael Maliszewski – Okay this is not a capoeira book BUT there is a chapter on the spirituality found in Capoeira. This is a book to have for any student of religion. They cover Indian martial arts to Muy Thai and Capoeira. I have given this book away on several occasions to all kinds of folks and they enjoyed it.
Again, these are all short reads and provide much information on Capoeira. Enjoy your summer!