Yeah! It's one of those awesome (in the real sense of the word, not the diluted popular) phenomena that seems so simple--and is--and then turns out to be more complex than you'd dreamed.
I don't know if I'd say the music is like jazz--although that's an interesting thought; hopefully I'll think about it some more. I'd have to reread the Nestor Capoeira book, cuz I don't remember what he says about that. But it does guide the game. It kinda calls in the spirits, I think it's safe to say. Plus, the different rhythms (toques) direct the energy in the roda. Certain toques make you play slow, low, and tigerlike, and some make you play high, flying, and, oh, I don't know, songbird-like?
Playing the berimbau has become one of my favorite things.
That's fascinating stuff. I wasn't aware of the musical connection either... if I read that right, the game can play out aurally as improvised music, like jazz? There's a lot of complexity to Capoeira that I wouldn't have expected from my (lightweight) background in the Asian martial arts.
This guy explains it a lot better than I ever could. I've heard it compared to chess, in that you can execute moves to try and "set up" the person you're playing with, to get them in a vulnerable position. None of the Mestre's I've talked to, or batizados I've been to, have had anything like scorekeeping, time limits, or any claptrap of that sort. But believe me, you know when you've been taken down. Part of the challenge is to be good natured about that. It's simultaneously cooperative and competitive--kinda like some of the wordplay that goes on around here!
That's cool! Didn't know all that about Capoeira. How is it a game? I've taken a little Aikido and loved it. (When I get some money) I'm going to continue my training in that... but I've always found Capoeira fun to watch, if a little intimidating.
In my twenties, I wanted to take Yoga at the YMCA, but the class was full, so on a whim I took karate instead. That lasted a few years, and served to get me over my fear of martial arts.
*whirring flash forward effect*
Then, barely in my thirties, after a long spell of not enough physical activity or community, I looked to see what the YMCA was offering, and saw the description for Capoeira. Mispronouncing it horrendously, I read that it was a dance, a fight, and a game, set to its own traditional music. "That sounds gay enough," says I to myself, and I went down to check it out.
It proved addictive. It's curvy and improvisational, where some other martial arts are angular and rigid. It has a vast, expanding history, and draws together lots of vibrant, diverse people from all over.
But seriously, Capoeira doesn't have to be painful. Depends on the tenor of the game you're playing, whom you're playing with, etc. The roda varies as much as conversations do; it can be a game, a tease, an interview, a challenge, a joke, a fight....