Six months ago my Capoeira was plateauing. What does that mean? It means blood, tears and sweat without any discernible improvement in skill or knowledge. You keep training, you keep playing in the Roda and you keep making the same mistakes, the same foolish seeming moves and you hear the same instructions from your teacher (Arms up Pirata!!!), over and over again. This is not like computer programming or Basketball, where any skill that you acquire will translate to improved performance pretty much immediately. It may be part of the reason why Capoeira drops 99.99% of all people who start. That, and the Cirque du Soleil moves, the music and the weird sexy language that you pretty much have to learn to function in this world. Moving beyond a plateau gives you an incredible sense of accomplishment. As with all things life, the longer, harder and flatter the plateau is, the more rewarding it will be to surmount it. However, if you are not used to this, or willing to put up with it, your clock is already ticking at your first Batizado.
Around this time I found out that the letter that Bebum had written Mestre Acordeon was well received and that he was definitely joining the trip to Brazil. It sounded amazing, a little bit like your distant cousin winning the lottery. Just distant enough for you not to get a single penny of the winnings. There is another Capoeirista in Utah, Beleza, who is very important to my Capoeira because he is the one who introduced me to it. I took my first intro class with Volta Miuda because I was work-visiting Salt Lake City, staying with Beleza instead of the local Courtyard Marriott (Oh, I hope you didn't think that Microsofties stay at the real Marriott, did you?). From this intro session I took with me blisters on both my feet because I jinga'd for an hour on carpet in the corner of Mestre Jamaica's old studio - and a vague sense of being cheated out of something for the past 20 years of my life.
The first thing I did back in Seattle was go online and look for Capoeira in Seattle, found Grupo Candeias and started training that week. A couple of months later I thought I should call Beleza and ask him to check with Mestre Jamaica to suggest a group I should train with. He told me I should definitely train with Professor Fenix. Capoeira is like that. I met Beleza in Maui on the back-end of my around the world trip in 2008, bumming around the island in a Ford Van with my Kite-surfing brother, while he was on a 420 sabbatical from University. The many little coinkidinks that life threw my way to get me into Capoeira are slightly startling. But wait till you hear the road to join Mestre Accordeon's B2B journey laid open to me in rather celestine ways. I swear none of this is based on superior selective recognition ability.
This is where it starts. Beleza knew my traveling soul and when we randomly chatted about B2B he suggested that I write a letter to Mestre, just like Bebum. I thought he was out of his mind, since I had no intention at all to embarrass myself or Professor Fenix with that sort of over-confident and silly action. He may have agreed since he didn't raise the topic again.
The next time I would see Bebum and Beleza would be at Mestre Jamaika's Formatura in Los Angeles at Mestre Amen's event. All of Volta Miuda came to LA in Bebum's travelling capoeira circus RV. I also met Mestre Acordeon for the first time there. I took this picture there. Yes, it was a big event, lots of Mestres. I thought it was huge. Until I went to a UCA event.