Capoeira Volto Ao Mundo recently had their first demonstration on campus to gain interest in their club organization. We asked Michael Lanier, current club organizer and student at SIUE, some questions about Capoeira.

For those that don’t know, can you explain to us what Capoeira is?
Capoeira is a Brazilian Martial art invented about 400 years ago by slaves. The early slaves were not allowed to fight, so it was disguised as a dance. Capoeira maintains this tradition today.

When was this club established at SIUE?
The Capoeira Volto Ao Mundo Club was started last year. Previously a different club Hybrid Movements had Capoeira, but the rigorous training required for Capoeira was not sufficient under the previous model of one hour a week with no guidance of a Mestre. The SIUE Capoeira Volto Ao Mundo Club is satellite school of Capoeira Volto Ao Mundo out of Sarasota Florida headed by Mestre Rony. He communicates regularly with us now so that we may have the greatest Capoeira possible. Springfield has an academy headed by Instructor Espigao who likewise is in contact with us.

Insert: Video on Capoeira in Brazil courtesy of YouTube.

When did you start participating in Capoeira?
I started participating Fall of 2010. I initially was apart of Hybrid Movements but liked Capoeira much more.

Why did you join the club organization at SIUE?
I officially joined last fall when the club was announced.

What is your favorite thing about participating in Club Sports at SIUE?
Without club sports I would have never had the chance to become involved in Capoeira, which has changed my life. Capoeira is hard to describe. It is challenging you to always be better, it’s always new in its approach, and it’s something I look forward to throughout the week.

How often do you practice? What is a typical practice like?
I practice twice a week for 2 hours each. Usually we start with stretching. After stretching classes vary greatly depending on the people there. Every class is tailored to the ability level of the students present. Sometimes we do a combination of movements or simply practicing kicks. Since slaves had manacled hands hand strikes are rare. Afterwards we may do gymnastic movements like cartwheels or hand springs. We nearly always drill kicks since they are so integral to the art. At the end we may play Capoeira in what is called a roda. A roda is hard to describe, the best way I can describe it is that it is like sparing, but with lots of music. Afterwards we may learn some new songs.

Capoeiristas in a roda. Image from Capoeira Wikipedia page.

Has your club ever participated in competition? What was that experience like?
Capoeira at its core is a game. In Brazil it is even referred to as “Jogo de Capoeira”- the game of Capoeira. There are no Capoeira competitions. We occasionally have rodas were other academies are invited. We recently had one in January on campus that attracted St. Louis groups and people as far away as Kentucky. Capoeira has tradition of huge events called Batizados. A Batizado (baptism in Portuguese) is a celebration in which new students are accepted into the academy. Capoeira has cords unlike the belts of the Eastern Arts. If a student is to get a new chord he receives it at a Batizado. The Batizado is a celebration of the achievement and the student usually plays (spars against) an experienced practitioner, usually a Mestre or Professor. Springfield has a Batizado every April that our club regularly attends. In addition some students have made their way to Florida for the Batizado in Florida.

What is a tradition your club has?
When I first took a Capoeira class from the academy in Springfield I was stunned to find that nearly every experienced member of the academy started Capoeira at SIUE. Despite the new club’s name, its lineage is long and storied. The most experienced student in Springfield started in 2005 in Springfield and brought it to SIUE. At the time martial arts club were not allowed so he sold it as a “break dancing club”. He taught Dave, the second most experienced student, who took over from 2008-2010. He taught the current instructor.

What is your favorite memory participating in Club Sports?
My favorite moment of participation in Club Sports was getting a Portuguese class offered on campus. This makes SIUE one of only 3 universities in the Midwest to offer the class and it was because on my involvement in club sports that it happened.

What is your club most looking forward to?
A student from Springfield recently transferred to SIUE so that he could help instruct classes. I am looking forward to how much out group can grow if we have students that are willing to uproot their lives for its sake.

What if someone is interested in joining Capoeira Volta ao Mundo? How can they find more information?
You can find all the information you would want here:
We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the group. Class times and locations can be found there as well.

We Club Hard,