This evening, we had a farewell roda for our sister, Monitora Beijinho. She is moving to Miami next week for school, but it’s not all bad news. She will be starting a Volta Ao Mundo group there in Miami!!! Everyone played and sang their hearts out and it even made Beijinho tear up just a little bit. We are going to miss you girl. You better come up and visit often and we’ll do the same!
Afterward, Mestre asked me to stay a little bit and help him with the class. He teaches classes over Skype Video to a few of our other locations and this usually means he wants me to stay to help demonstrate the movements. Okay, I’m dead tired after roda, but ok. What it ended up being was me teaching a class on my own to some really cool Polish people that are on vacation for a month and wanted a good workout while they are here… while Mestre and Professora did the video class.
I was not mentally prepared to teach class, let alone physically prepared after roda… but I reached deep inside for some extra energy because I never want to disappoint Mestre. I had them work on ginga, au, bencao, queixada, and some negativa/role drills. I just winged it, but afterward they said it was the best workout they ever had and will be back tomorrow. Yeah buddy!
Oh, and in between… the toddlers, Noah, Alicia and my son Geo made their own roda and were busting out some crazy bananeiras, piao de mao, amazonas and other new moves. It’s a shame I didn’t bring my camera to record, but everyone there enjoyed it! And I’m talking TODDLERS! As in 2-3 years old! We really have some amazing prodigies, spending every day there and literally growing up in the academy… in the Capoeira lifestyle.
So earlier today, 3 flies got into the house and Geo was watching them buzz around the window. I couldn’t open the window to let them out because it’s screened in. So I cuff my hands around the first one on the window, brought it out to the door, let it go and repeated with the second one. As I was walking back, Geo says “nnn I get it?”. I said, “Sure, go ahead.” thinking he was going to wear himself out before I ended up doing it. This dude watches the fly buzz around on the window for a few seconds, and just when the fly goes to fly off, Geo catches it in mid-flight in his hand and doesn’t even harm it. I walked him over to the door and let him let it go himself.
After we washed our hands, there were a million high fives!
The official promo for the new(er) GoPro Hero2 portable camera. I was supposed to post this when it first came out, but got caught up and forgot. Oops. I shot my underwater fight scene for A Spaniard’s Tale with one of these. I rep for them so they send me free swag gear and I do freelance photography/videography for Red Bull events too, so this video gives you an idea of what my life is like outside of being on set, filming a movie.
My name is Anesti Vega. I am known in the rodas as Gênio. Let me say that I can only speak on my observations and perceptions of Capoeira as they may or may not be what Capoeira is to anyone else.
I see Capoeira groups like gangs. There is usually a leader that is respected and paid loyalty to, whether earned or demanded. There is almost an immediate closeness with most members of the group, sometimes being stronger bonds than a real family. You don’t join and automatically become a member, you pay your dues for some time and are ‘initiated’, usually by getting kicked, taken down and dropped a few times in the presence of the rest of the group… although that process has gotten much friendlier these days here in America. The biggest similarity to me is the dynamic nature of the groups themselves. There are alliances and rivalries on many levels throughout. Alliances are everything from really working together and supporting eachothers events every chance they get, all the way to the feeling of “yeah, those guys are cool I guess”. Rivalries can get as ugly as batizados and events ending in all out brawls and worse, if two groups of an existing and simmering rivalry came to fully represent. These rivalries can be a good thing sometimes though because it helps put some people in check and create challenges that, when overcome, can help everyone involved become stronger physically, intellectually and emotionally.
There are three groups that are represented here in Sarasota. Volta Ao Mundo, Luanda and Maculelê. It’s not much of a real battle for territory around here, but if it were… Volta Ao Mundo would be winning by a long shot. It’s mostly because Mestre Rony of VAM was the first one to bring Capoeira here and is still the only mestre in town, coupled with a great reputation for quality and professionalism. The leaders of the other two groups here are original members of Volta Ao Mundo. Now although I won’t comment on the nature of why these other people left to join other groups, I find it very interesting to see how they have evolved into two entirely different relationships.
Our relationship with Luanda is great. They always come to our events and vice versa and there’s a lot of love there. And it’s not just locally. Personally, from Sarasota to Gainesville to St. Louis to New York at the heart of the Luanda group, I have met wonderful and genuine people all around and I think it’s the leadership of Mestre Jelon as the cause.
Then we have Maculelê. What can I say? Do I hate them? No. I would just like to smash a few specific members of their Tampa group in the face for the conniving disrespect and two faced bullshit that was exhibited to me while I was originally a member there and that has also surfaced even recently. I left that academy that was a 5 minute walk from my house to drive 80 minutes to the VAM Academy for over 6 months before I actually moved here. I actually have much love for one of the Miami groups, Professor Cavalo and Venus, who showed tremendous hospitality to me and my family, only knowing me all of 5 minutes at a batizado, the first one I ever went to.
Do I have beef with the local Maculelê groups? Not really. But here’s the thing. Mestre Rony and Professora Cereja have become my best friends and something like parent figures to me. My son absolutely adores them and we have never felt more welcomed and accepted than when I walk through the doors of the Volta Ao Mundo academy or even their personal home. With that said, when some of these people broke off to join Maculelê and start their own group here, there was a lot heated controversy about the nature of it and how it all went down. Many terrible things were said and done during this time that still seems to be a fresh sore spot even today. That drama aside, I don’t really make it a point to be friends with, or even associate with people who have hurt my family. It happened before my time and I had nothing to do with it, but I am part of the VAM family now and it’s these kinds of unspoken rules of loyalty that affect how I approach the situation. It’s the nature of the beast, so to say.
Logic solves all problems. But when feelings and emotions are involved, logic is thrown through the blender and out the window. So the only thing that cures those kinds of problems is time. Maybe one day when the smoke clears, we can all shake hands again and just play Capoeira.
In a perfect world, we would all be friends. We would go to eachother’s events and batizados all in the name of our love for Capoeira. But we don’t. So I think the most important thing to have is loyalty. Loyalty to yourself and your beliefs and to your group, that should be a reflection of your beliefs.
My name is Gênio. Rony Costa is my mestre and has earned my respect and loyalty. I am Capoeira Volta Ao Mundo.