It is early morning, and I am under the pine trees of the Costa Blanca in Spain in December. The dew is heavy on the trees and they are dripping with the beads of water. It is cool enough to see my breath, but warm enough that I only need a jacket. It is morning, and no one else is about. I am alone in a piney park, under a tree surrounded by a circular stone walk.
In the quiet I begin to move. I step back, side and back again. It’s the feint-and-move rhythm of capoeira. My chest is elastized to my pelvis, and my shoulders pinned back, whilst my arms sway against the rhythm of the step, ready to block, ready to catch. I dip, diving my head and torso downwards, and whirling through the space, releasing my back foot to arc through the air and become a kick. Like a propeller my leg wheels high, my upper body the counterbalance. I catch myself and resume the cadence of step-feint-step. My hands dive again, and I am upside down, my pelvis rocks into the air, and my legs scissor over in a messy cartwheel. The rhythm resumes.
In an experimental form, I mix in elements from tae kwan do, resulting in something of a drunken master approach, or a ballroom dancer out for blood. My tae kwan do master would cringe to see the predictable capoeira rhythm interrupting the poomse. But it’s fun. Capoeira, it seems, is conditioned for one-on-one, whereas tae kwan do includes the eventuality of defending yourself against a group.
Morning brightens, and sleepy dog-walkers interrupt the solitude of my experimentation and exercise. I try some improvisational sparring against imaginary foes, and then collect my jacket, discarded by the tree. I’m sweating now. I can no longer see my breath as the day begins to warm. It is time to go back.