Monday, February 07, 2005

Part 1: And the Sky is Brown. Part 2: Sunday's Roda.

Hamilton smells so stinking bad. It smells like rotten eggs and really ripe farts and -- I dunno -- off meat.

There's a smog advisory today. There's been a poor air advisory for the last two days. It's so gross to see a browny-grey-green cloud over all the buildings in the city. Yesterday I went to Toronto and as the skyline came into view, we could see that the CN Tower was partially obscured. Later, I counted up the floors of a 35-storey building, and it was only the first 10 floors that weren't hazy.

But it's Hamilton that smells so bad. Toronto just had that dirty, dusty, summer city smell, but Hamilton's smog is a cap on the already existing stink.

I went to Toronto to go see the Open Roda at the Capoeira school. It was really good this week. My friend Anna played in the Roda for the first time, and the higher students did a really cool Brazilian dance called the Maculele. It's really rhythmical and done with sticks. It's awesome and I want to learn it, but if my heart threatens to stop during Capoeira, then it would straightup explode in my chest for the Maculele.

At one point the Roda got really aggressive. There's this one cocky beginner who is not bad, but I think he is known to be a dick. He started playing with Careca, who has a brown belt and is my substitute instructor. I don't know what the cocky guy did, but all of a sudden, Careca shoved him and kicked him in the ribs. This was strange because there's rarely contact in Capoeira. Then, Careca grabbed his neck, held him to the floor and started punching him -- once in the head, but mostly in the chest. They broke up for a bit and did a "Walk around the World," when the two opponents circle the Roda to rest or calm down. They rolled back in to the Roda and instantly collided and fell out of the Roda -- like through the wall of people. The Roda just closed up, people kept singing and clapping, and Careca and the cocky guy kept fighting outside the circle.

Then, later, the cocky guy was playing again, and one of Careca's friends went in the Roda, it got aggressive again. Eventually, Careca's friend picked the cocky guy up over his head and slammed him into the floor. It made a terrible smack.

At the end, Mestre Bola lectured us about controlling emotions. He said, amongst all other things, Capoeira is a martial art, so the only rule is, there are no rules. He wasn't saying that the game shouldn't get that aggressive -- that's totally fine, but he reminded us to keep personal beefs outside the Roda, and if you are superior to someone you are playing, you have an opportunity to teach the other person something. This means if your opponent gives you the opportunity to pick them up, you don't have to slam them into the floor to prove the point that you can slam them into the floor.

I remember watching Mestre Bola's Mestre, Mestre Barrao, play with other students. He could see every weakness in the player's game and would take advantage by kicking, but he stopped short before making contact. He knew that he didn't have to kick the student to teach the student about their weaknesses.

Wow, this turned into a Capoeira narrative. Huh.

I have to go mark a crapload of weekly assignments, read and prepare for tonight's tutorial. Awesome.

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