Monday, September 11, 2006

Batizado in Brazil

Better late than never...

Just wanted to post a quick word about the Batizado (grading ceremony/celebration) for the group at the projecto in Brazil.

The 1st Batizado for the capoeira kids group (Criancas Raizes do Abaete - Abolicao Oxford) was an amzing event and one of the most vibrant displays of capoeira and community in general I've had the pleasure of being part of! There was a great turn out from kids, supportive family members, respected local teachers and mestres, and the usual mix of enthusiastic capoeiristas (all of us from the UK in this last catergory). It had tipped it down the night before the Batizado, but Negao and Prof Narcisso had made sure there was a gazebo type structure up in the outside area so there was no fear of 'rain stopping play'.

The event opened with the usual thanks to all involved and introductions of all the respected mestres and teachers who had given up their Sunday to attend. There was a lovely selection of old and young faces in the line up, and a fantastic display of capoeira prowess from the visiting mestres. Then the batizado began in earnest and we were entertained, amazed and delighted as the children from the projecto played their hearts out to show their skills and receive their cordas (capoeira belts). I was overwhelmed again by how good they are, how naturally they make the movements and how fearless some of them seemed in playing the mestres.

There were a small group of more advanced students who were mostly a little older (10-14) and showed real commitment to training, to the group and to capoeira, and these 5 or 6 boys played for their second level (green/yellow) belts. They are a determined bunch and for them this event was an opportunity for them each to shine - which they all did. There were some tears along the way as the intensity of the situation and the pressure they put on themselves to perform 110% was all a bit much, but the teachers at the projecto dealt with it all real grace and no child went away feeling they had done anything less than brilliantly!

I don't think I'll forget that batizado ever. It was such a privilege to be there and to be a part of that day and to enjoy seeing how far the group has come since the projecto started.

Others have taken better photos, but this one is just a little insight into that day: