Welcome to the website for Oficina da Capoeira, Chichester.

Currently the group is on a brief hiatus whilst the instructor takes a break to settle in with his new born second daughter.

Classes will return, watch this space!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Looking back and looking forward...

Well, it's five years ago to the day that I was on BBC Radio 2 Drive Time with Simon Mayo talking about capoeira:

In just under a month Oficina da Capoeira, Chichester is celebrating it's first anniversary, and in August we have Chichester's First International Capoeira Festival! It's great to look back and see how far I've come, and exciting to look forward and see how far there is still to go.

It would be wonderful to have you all here to celebrate our group's first anniversary, and to join in with a huge weekend of capoeira in August!

Tomorrow (30th April) is the last day of the April Earlybird discounts for the Festival, but don't worry, next month there are early bird discounts too. From June the tickets will be full price. Tickets are available online, or in class.

If you have any questions, please get in touch!

Oficina da Capoeira's first class in Chichester!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Weekly update 24th April

Firstly, "Hello" to new visitors who met us at the Princesses and Superheroes Family Fun Day!

For regular visitors, a slight change of format for the "Weekly roda" post - there will still be a roda video each week, but this post has evolved into a chance to update on events and what's on the horizon, so it seemed to make more sense to have this titled as a weekly update.

Firstly, it's the final week to take advantage of the April earlybird discounts for the First International Capoeira Festival, Chichester. You can buy tickets through the festival website, or in class.

In addition, for those who would like to attend any combination of the Bristol, Cheltenham and Chichester Oficina da Capoeira festivals this year, we have multi-event tickets available, which also offer a superb saving!

Mestrando Primo will be placing an order for abada (capoeira trousers) very soon, so if you would like a pair, please let me know your size - small, medium or large for adults; or for kids sizes, your age. Abada are £35 for adults, and £30 for children.

This week's roda comes from the annual Ginga Juventude event - enjoy!

Just to finish off, here are some superheroes being put through their paces yesterday at the aforementioned Princesses and Superheroes Family Fun Day:

and a group shot at the end of the day:
Graduado Kung Fu and Saiya-jin with an assortment of Superheroes and Princesses.
See you all in class on Monday and Thursday!

Monday, 18 April 2016

My journey to capoeira

A while back (in fact, 8 months to the day!) I saw a post from BJJ Girl on Facebook linking to her blog post "My Journey To Brazilian Jiu Jitsu". The Facebook post finished with BJJ Girl asking: ""Why did you start?" This doesnt have to be Jiu Jitsu specific, you can tell me why you made a healthy life change. Can't wait to hear from you guys" I started this blog post back in August, but now that the bios of the Chichester Capoeira Festival guest teachers are up, it prompted me to get it finished, so here is why I started:

Well, my journey to capoeira begins with Chinese Martial Arts. Martial Arts had always been an interest. Possibly because of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (who weren't Ninja turtles back then, because that was Too Violent for my generation, or so it was then thought). Maybe it was just the fascination with the athleticism and movement. Maybe because they just look awesome!

Naturally, an interest in the martial arts led to an interest in actually taking up a martial art, and with a teenage idolisation of Bruce Lee, what better place to start than the Chinese Martial Arts? I think I was 16 when I first took up a martial art - tai chi with the school Wutan UK - I did this with some school friends, Theo and Declan, and I'll be forever grateful to Declan for the lifts he gave me there. However Wutan offered more than tai chi, and I started doing their kung fu and kickboxing too, and eventually the invite only full contact kung fu classes. I carried on training with them at university.

I loved it all - the fitness, the forms, the weapons, the philosophy, the history. I couldn't imagine anything better. I feel very fortunate for the instructors I have had. Martin who opened the door to my martial arts career with Tai Chi; Mike Tannner for the kung fu and full contact kung fu; the late great Mike McCarthy who taught me tai chi and kung fu whilst at uni; Gary Shadlock who took over the kung fu from Mike Tanner in Salisbury; the many students too, who are also teachers in their own way - however, I fear that by listing them, I will certainly forget some, so hopefully you know who you are; and of course Mister They who headed the school.

After university, I worked in Salisbury for a bit and kept up my training, but I left and moved to Gloucestershire to work in the charity sector, and Wutan did not have any classes nearby. I looked into the kung fu schools in the area, but it didn't feel quite right - I'd just entered the senior grades with Wutan, and to start at the beginning felt demoralising. Other Asian martial arts on offer like karate also seemed a little too similar to where I had come from. If I couldn't train with Wutan, I wanted a very different path to walk on in my martial arts journey.

I got into running to keep fit, but I really missed the martial arts. I'd read a lot about other martial arts too, and so knew of the variety that were out there. I'd seen a demonstration of capoeira at a charity event in Cambridge, and was sure I'd seen it on Blue Peter, but a search of the BFI Archives only finds a record from 1977, before I was born. I was drawn to capoeira, as it seemed completely different from everything else, and that was what I was wanting

I googled "capoeira cheltenham" and found the group.

And I fell in love with capoeira more than the Chinese Martial Arts!

Whilst I really enjoyed the Chinese Martial Arts, and still do, the bits I liked the most are all in capoeira - the physical training; a rich cultural history; a philosophical side. I think there's a martial art out there for everybody - it all depends on what you want from your martial art. On top of that, whilst you can be aggressive, it is very different. When sparring in kung fu, your aim is to hit the other person, and in full contact kung fu, to hit them hard! I'm quite a gentle soul, and aggression in capoeira is very different -  the playfulness of the roda, and the mischievous trickery that is concealed by that playfulness are a lot of fun. Capoeira isn't about striking a person and causing them harm, it's about showing them that you could have done that.

But for me, the best part is when you're in the roda, playing capoeira, especially those moments where you just click with the other player, everything else gets forgotten, and you are just there, with a capoeirista and the rhythm of the music. You're not thinking, you're just playing, reacting, the game is just flowing. It's almost like mindfullness meditation - you are after all fully in the moment and without thought - and it's only really after the game has finished that you really appreciate what was going on. It's exhilarating!

So that's my journey into capoeira. How about yours (or into another martial art)? Feel free comment below!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Bonus roda! Happy Birthday Contra Mestre Cobra!

Today Contra Mestre Cobra's birthday, and here is his birthday roda:

It gives me great pleasure to say "Feliz Aniversário Contra Mestre!"

For those new to the group, Contra Mestre Cobra comes from another capoeira school, Capoeira Nago, and he has helped support Oficina da Capoeira in the UK, both in Cheltenham and here in Chichester.

Weekly roda 17th April

This week is another street roda, but unlike last week's in Cheltenham, where Oficina da Capoeira started in the UK, this is from Belo Horizonte, the city where Oficina da Capoeira itself started - fittingly, Mestre Ray (in the black and yellow trousers) is in this roda:

Don't forget that this Saturday, 23rd April, is the Princesses and Superheroes Family Fun Day to help the charity Over The Wall, at the University of Chichester rugby field:

The event is from 11:00 - 17:00, and we will have a stand there and offer some free workshops throughout the day - whatever time you can give up would be gratefully appreciated!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Weekly roda 10th April

Our festival in August will have a street roda on the Saturday. Here's a street roda in Cheltenham in 2010:

There's even a brief glimpse of myself at the very beginning - I was less than two years into my capoeira journey then.

A reminder that in two weeks time, it's the Princesses and Superheroes Family Fun Day, where there we will be providing capoeira workshops and fun all day!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Oficina UK Festivals 2016

The 1st International Capoeira Festival in Chichester (5th - 7th August) is not the only festival this year from Oficina da Capoeira UK!

There are also events in Bristol and Cheltenham: Workshop and 1st Batizado in Bristol on 25th June and the 9th International Capoeira Festival in Cheltenham from the 8th - 10th July.
June, July and August are going to be amazing, and we don't want you to miss out, so we are selling multi-event tickets. These tickets are available in class (in Bristol, Cheltenham, Chichester and Worcester) and the prices are:

Oficina UK Three Event Ticket - £100. 
This is a ticket for a week of capoeira! This ticket is for the entirety of all three events: 25th June in Bristol; 8th - 10th July in Cheltenham, and 5th - 7th August in Chichester.

Oficina UK Cheltenham and Chichester - £90. 
A bargain price for two full weekends of capoeira. The entirety of 8th - 10th July in Cheltenham, and 5th - 7th August in Chichester.

Oficina UK Bristol and Chichester or Cheltenham - £80. 
This is a ticket for Bristol on 25th June, and either Chichester or Cheltenham in their entirety

Tickets involving Chichester can also be bought through the Chichester Capoeira Festival website.

If you have any questions, please ask!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Weekly roda 3rd April

Here's a nice long roda to enjoy!

A reminder that classes are all on as usual over the Easter school holidays, with guest teacher India whilst Kung Fu is on holiday in Devon. Muito obrigado India!

Buy your capoeira festival tickets this month to take advantage of the April Earlybird discounts! Check out the event website for full information, and to buy your tickets!