Masumeh Does The Dance Of DeathBy SAMPURN
Monday, June 14, 2010
June 14, 2010 (Sampurn Wire): For hundreds of years, visitors to Brazil have witnessed the graceful and violent beauty of capoeira. Now the 500-year-old dance-infused
fighting style from Bahia–Brazil’s Afrocentric heartland–has become a fitness trend around the world.
Originally developed by slaves, ‘capoeira’ has a unique fluidity that makes it seem more like dance. That is intentional: Knowing their masters would never tolerate self-defense, the slaves camouflaged their movements as innocuous horseplay.
"Capoeira is beautiful and deadly," says Masumeh, "It’s an effective self-protection because you learn to read others, as well as develop killer ways to kick them." Like jazz, this martial art thrives on improvisation too
Capoeira is performed in a roda, a circle formed by fellow capoeiristas, one of whom plays an instrument called the berimbau, which dictates the tempo. When it’s played slowly, capoeira resembles the tai chi. When set at a quick pace, the movements explode in spectacular flying and upside-down kicks, handstands, cartwheels, rolls, and ankle
sweeps that would leave Akshay Kumar flummoxed.As an exercise, capoeira will push your cardio to the max while stressing balance, flexibility, and strength. A typical class is one to two hours long, and you hardly ever stop moving during that time.
Almost every muscle of the body is used with a maximum flexibility, focusing mainly on your core. "It’s dangerous, sensual, and sexy," says Masumeh, "in a way a strip-mall karate can never be."