Hi Friends and Family, I am partnering with Capoeira Arts Foundation and raising money for 2018 Capoeira Arts Foundation Roda-thon. I sincerely appreciate your support for this fundraiser and my goal. You can donate now and by hitting “Give Now” on the upper right.
You can give with any major credit card and it only takes 30 seconds. I appreciate it so very much.
What follows is why capoeira & the United Capoeira Association have captured my heart & soul...
WHAT IS THAT?
The year was 1996. Upon a friend's recommendation I bought a ticket to see Balé Folclórico da Bahia at the Sacramento Community Convention Center. Amongst the many songs, dances and rich expressions of Brazilian culture, there was a segment in the second act of the show that caught my attention. The performers entered the stage with flips, cartwheels and flashy kicks. Then they began to throw these flashy kicks and acrobatic movements at each other! There were also musicians who played what looked like simple hunting bows with gourds attached to them. The program said that what they were doing was called "capoeira". This performance left an indelible mark on me, even though it would be several years until capoeira would come to visit me again.
In 2000, my wife came back from her Afro-Caribbean dance class, telling me that she had taken a special workshop from a guest capoeira instructor who had just moved to Sacramento. She said that he was teaching another workshop at the Step 1 Dance Studio on the weekend, which we attended. The teacher, nicknamed "Galego", would end up being my capoeira teacher to this day. He was a student of Mestre ("master") Acordeon, who was the teacher of the United Capoeira Association (UCA) Berkeley academy. I began to train with Galego for a couple of months, but, due to other commitments and priorities, I stopped training. But that was only the beginning...
THE COMEBACK KID
My capoeira journey began in earnest in February of 2004 when I returned to Mestre Galego's class. Later that year I played Mestra Suelly and received my first capoeira cordão. During the 14 years that I have trained since then, I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people within the international capoeira community, travel to other capoeira events and schools throughout the US, and have been to Brazil twice (2009 and 2013) to do the same.
In 2012 I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii with my family. It is here that I continue to train and teach capoeira within this incredibly diverse island community.
THE "MECCA" OF CAPOEIRA
I attended my first UCA Berkeley academy batizado ("baptism" and cord-promotion ceremony) in 2005. To put it lightly I was blown away! There were literally hundreds of capoeira practitioners, from beginners to seasoned masters, in attendance. The capoeira games, music and camaraderie were at an amazingly high level that I had yet to see. To me it was capoeira at it's best. At this event I had the opportunity to take invaluable capoeira workshops from guest capoeira masters. Each year, UCA Berkeley continues to deliver this not-to-be-missed event, with guests that come from around the world to attend.
After the batizado, I continued to visit the UCA Berkeley school throughout the years to train with it's venerated teachers, which included Mestre Acordeon, Mestre Rã and Mestra Suelly. From time to time a surprise guest teacher would come by to visit the academy and teach a special workshop. When I travelled to Brazil, I had the chance to visit Projeto Kirimurê, the Capoeira Arts Foundation's (UCA's umbrella non-profit organization) at-risk youth program located in the fishing village of Itapua, which provides it's local youth with life skills, academic tutoring, self-esteem building and cultural arts, such as capoeira, samba, and fine arts. Because it has opened it's doors to so many within the cultural arts community, UCA Berkeley has become a hub and beacon of capoeira throughout the planet earth.
Therefore, I am proud to have this opportunity to help raise funds for this academy and organization that does so much great work in the community to enrich the lives of so many within the US, Brazil, and parts far and wide! It is because of the training and support I have received from the UCA teachers and family, that I have the esteemed opportunity to carry on the many traditions of capoeira, and the poignant lessons of my teachers.
Thank you for reading about my journey, and joining me in this fundraising effort. I look forward to your support!
Muito axé pra você!
Mario Hill (aka Instrutor Castanho)
Capoeira Água De Beber
United Capoeira Association - Hawaii