#360fit: Combine martial arts and music with Capoeira

Jay Asser 23/06/2016
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Ferociously fun: Capoeira teaches self-defence but with a dose of dance too.

Brazil is known for popularising jiu-jitsu, but it’s another martial art which has deep connections to the nation’s roots. Capoeira doesn’t have the physicality and hard-hitting aspect of jiu-jitsu, but the practice combines elements of martial arts, dance, acrobatics and music to spread the cultural heritage of the South American country.

“Capoeira is an art form,” says Fernando Dias de Luz, an instructor at CDO Capoeira Center.

To call Dias de Luz a believer in capoeira would be an understatement. The 36-year-old Brazilian has 23 years of experience in capoeira, teaching in more than 15 countries across the world, and has been spreading the practice in the UAE for four years.

“I always say, capoeira is for everyone, but not everyone is for capoeira. All people can come and do it, but they should be open to learning different things,” he said. “It’s the only martial art that involves music and acrobatics. So people should be open to learning a different culture as well. It’s not just another sport, it’s more than a sport. Capoeira helps you with different areas in your life.”

The physical benefits are obvious, even if they don’t stand out immediately like other forms of exercise. You’ll naturally increase strength, flexibility and endurance as you move your body, while also building coordination.

Information:

  • What: Capoeira classes with Fernando Dias de Luz
  • Where: CDO Capoeira Center, studio 1307, Grosvenor Business Tower, Tecom Dubai
  • When: Classes every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday with kids at 16:30 and adults at 20:30, while family day is every Saturday at 11:00
  • Contact: Visit www.capoeira.ae for more information

But the advantages of capoeira don’t stop there. Along with developing social skills through the group classes, maybe most importantly, you’ll learn more about Brazilian culture.

Capoeira’s origins date back to the 16th century, when Portuguese colonists enslaved Africans, who created the practice as a method of self defence.

The slavers of course wouldn’t have allowed them to develop capoeira – which refers to the open areas in the jungle where it would be practiced – if they knew its purpose, but the slaves disguised it as dance, which is how you end up with a non-contact martial art.

“Until now, even in 2016, when people see capoeira they think it’s dance, but it’s actually martial arts. You see fighters today who use elements from capoeira,” said Dias de Luz. “It was created more for self defence than attack. When we practice, we try not to hit each other, but we have elements of fighting, so sometimes you have contact. But we’re a family and we don’t want to hit each other.”

Dias de Luz’s classes always start by building good energy with warm-ups consisting of gymnastics like cartwheels and hand-stands, along with stretching with yoga.

Students also simulate the movements with animals before getting into the attack and self defence movements at the core of capoeira. The classes then conclude with ‘games’, in which students form a circle with two people standing in the middle and performing a sort of dance of kicks with each other.

“It’s like a conversation with your body. When you kick, it’s like asking a question. When the other person does the same, they’re answering back,” said Dias de Luz. “This happens inside of the circle, with instruments on one side and people standing around, clapping and singing. When they clap and sing, they make energy for the two people playing inside. It’s a complete atmosphere.

“It never gets boring with capoeira. All classes are different. It’s not like you stay in the gym and do exercises every day.”

Integral to the game is the live music being played. The berimbau, which is the master instrument of capoeira, dictates the rhythm, tempo and pace. When the berimbau plays slow, the people inside the circle also play slow. When it plays fast, the people inside play fast.

The music tells the students what kind of game to play and the situation. That’s part of what makes capoeira so appealing to children as well.

“Most of the kids don’t like too much fitness, so capoeira is fun,” Dias de Luz said. “We change the names of movements and have a lot of games, so they don’t realise they’re doing fitness.”

If you’re looking to challenge yourself and really progress in capoeira, the practice has belts, or cordas, to earn, similar to karate. There are 13 belts to attain and Dias de Luz is on the sixth with his blue corda.

Students can earn the belts for themselves by consistently going to classes to learn enough to pass an exam in which you have to name the kicks and self defence movements in the eight sequences.

You also need to know about capoeira history, the names of the masters and how the practice was created. Graduation ceremonies are held by CDO Capoeira Center twice a year, once in March and once in November.

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‪#‎360fit‬: Denise shares her Ramadan and general health tips

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During the long summer days of Ramadan when temperatures are in excess of 40 degrees Celsius, it may be required to fast for up to sixteen hours or more daily.

To ensure continued good health during the holy month, Denise of Motion Ladies Fitness Center offers her top Ramadan and general health tip to keep you feeling sharp mentally and physically.

Motion Ladies Fitness Center is one of the studios you can experience with a GuavaPass membership. GuavaPass is Dubai’s first and largest fitness community of its kind, offering an unlimited membership to group fitness classes at over 60 top studios across the city. Take advantage of their GuavaPass Ramadan Promotion with 25% off your first month.

If you’d like to get involved with any of Denise of Motion Ladies Fitness Center’s classes visit their website: www.motionfitnesscenter.com












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‪#‎360fit‬: Maria shares her Ramadan & health tips

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During the long summer days of Ramadan when temperatures are in excess of 40 degrees Celsius, it may be required to fast for up to sixteen hours or more daily.

To ensure continued good health during the holy month, Maria of Crystal Dance Center offers her top Ramadan and general health tip to keep you feeling sharp mentally and physically.

Crystal Dance Center is one of the studios you can experience with a GuavaPass membership. GuavaPass is Dubai’s first and largest fitness community of its kind, offering an unlimited membership to group fitness classes at over 60 top studios across the city. Take advantage of their GuavaPass Ramadan Promotion with 25% off your first month.

If you’d like to get involved with any of Maria or Crystal Dance Center’s classes visit their website: www.crystaldancecenter.com












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