If you’re in Tokyo this week, make sure you get yourself a copy of the Metropolis Magazine, Japan’s No.1 English Magazine. Because when you turn to page five you’ll see Bantus Capoeira Japão’s very own instructor, Caçapa. The interview in the weekly feature “faces & places” q&a section was conducted via email with Connor Shepherd and the magazine’s editor. Of course due to space contraints the interview had to be cut somewhat but the full interview can be seen at the bottom of this post.
Australian Marcello Pietrantonio knows a thing or two about the Brazilian martial art called Capoeira. Pietrantonio, who goes by the fighting name Caçapa, trained under the legendary Mestre Pintor and runs the Japanese branch of Pintor’s school, Bantus Capoeira.
What is Capoeira?
Some say martial art, some say dance, but it’s much more. Capoeira is a Brazilian artform that combines dance, fight, sport, music, game, theatre and ritual into one. It dates back around 500 years when the Portuguese first brought African slaves to Brazil. Today it is a way to keep fit, have fun, and express yourself. Check it out for yourself at our next show http://bembrasil.jp on Sunday November 12th or a class in Kichijoji.
How did you get into Capoeira?
I first saw it on Sesame Street and was mesmerized. One day I came across a flyer for it, and emailed the instructor. I couldn’t walk after my first class; my whole body ached. But the music, fun, exercise and friendly people kept me coming back for more.
How do you stay dedicated?
I approach it as a holistic art form. Aristotle must have been thinking about Capoeira when he said, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” The dance, the fight, the game, the music and the ritual all add up to create something that defies definition.
Which part is the most fun?
As an instructor, seeing the huge smile on a student’s face when they finally get that movement they’ve been working so hard on. I also love traveling and meeting new people and Capoeira is a great vehicle for that.
What brought you to Japan?
My beautiful Japanese girlfriend. We met in Australia at a Capoeira class!
What do you think of Japanese Capoeira?
People in Tokyo have so many Capoeira groups and styles to choose from. Capoeira is a little bit different all over the world, but wherever you go you’ll find beautiful people playing this beautiful game. Grupo Bantus Capoeira has branches in nine countries, and every year we visit one for a special Capoeira ceremony called a Batizado. In August we went to Brazil.
Any advice for aspiring Capoeiristas?
If you’ve done any martial arts, dance, sport, music, or theater before, you should be able to dive into Capoeira headfirst. For tone-deaf wall flowers with two left feet, our Capoeira Basics class on Saturday is your chance to find your inner Brazilian. Like anything worth mastering, Capoeira is difficult at first. But don’t give up, set goals, keep inspired, bring a friend and, most of all, have fun! Totally immerse yourself in the culture, and don’t forget to smile.