For the past two years Sam has been learning Capoeira at his preschool. Brazilian martial arts disguised as dance that was created by African slaves in the 16th century. (For more on Capoeira go here) Each sexta-feira (Friday) his instructor, Mestre Chris, "Tio Chris" or "Uncle Chris" to the kids, comes to teach the kids, who all gather around to stretch and practice their "moves" within tiny, brightly painted circles in the floor. Until last week, we had only managed to beg Sam to show us his stuff, but had never actually seen him do it live, just a crab walk here and there.
Then last week Tio Chris was having a Batizado or baptism for the students. The parents were not invited, but I invited myself and was welcomed by the teachers with a ring-side seat. With only a few months left here in Brazil, I wanted to be sure I went and saw him in his Groupo.
He was insanely embarrassed as you can see in the image below. He covered his eyes and acted like a goof ball as I snapped away photos of what is typically a pretty non-spectator practice at school.
Sam along with the rest of his class, was earning a new cord (Think belt, Daniel-Son.) Until now he didn't have one at all. He earned the corda crua com ponta amarla or "Raw Cord with yellow tips" for reaching Aprendiz or apprentice. This cord signifies that rather than being seen as inexperienced, he is seen as being full of potential for growth.
*On a side note if I haven't mentioned it recently: God I love this place!? Brazil is raw and full of potential for growth and with that state of mind, it and its people are beautiful. Just freaking beautiful.
Now back to the ceremony. Sam's class on the far left in this photo, just five kids, are watched and cheered on by the other younger classes.
The table piled with cords, goodie bags and custom water bottles from Mestre Chris. Laid in front is the Berimbau, the single string, percussion instrument that they play and then there is a little chant, that I couldn't get enough of if I tried...especially not with the voices of all these little kids.
A horrible, but fun video for those of you with the patience of a grandmother or mother to watch Sam show off his moves. I was absolutely moved at the discipline my silly little Sam displayed. He was all business as you can see. After the initial warm-up the students went man-to-man, but the afore-mentioned silly boy upon returning to his assigned circle after receiving his cord, did a little mule kick and his wee little arms collapsed on him. Chin meet floor. I was glad I was there. I was able to sneak him out early to the embassy med unit where they patched him up, thankfully without stitches.
Just last night I found and communicated with a capoeira groupo in Northern Virginia and will be enrolling Sam to continue his study when we land in February.
We will always have Brazil.