Since early 2020, many countries in the Americas and Europe have mandated “stay at home” orders called a “lockdown” to minimize the spread of Covid-19. These lockdowns have no definitive end date and many small businesses, including hair salons, restaurants, and martial arts studios have been affected. Martial arts studios in particular have not fared well during the lockdowns because instruction traditionally requires that the teacher be with the students.
Many students have canceled their memberships, stopped paying for classes, and altogether have decided to stay home. There are many martial arts schools that were already struggling before coronavirus, and the outbreak has only exacerbated their financial situation. Schools with older teachers have been hit especially hard. Many of these schools do not have an online presence, or have a very minimal online footprint.
Many who teach the Afro-Brazilian art of Capoeira have decided to host classes on various online platforms, such as Zoom, Instagram, and Google Hangouts. This has been a great opportunity for teachers around the world to connect with students who are passionate and eager to learn. At the same time it has opened up opportunities to help support fellow teachers who have fallen on hard times.
One of the leaders in this effort, has been Instructor Sua, from Calgary, Canada. On May 9, 2020, Sua decided to host an event called a “zoom zoom zoom”. The name of the event was a play on words, representing lyrics from a traditional capoeira song, while also referring to the platform that the event would be hosted on. Sua created this event to help raise funds for teachers who struggled financially during the lockdown. Teachers close to Sua who were struggling financially were given the opportunity to teach workshops and received a portion of the money raised.
In an amazing showing of solidarity and support, the Capoeira community came out in droves for the event. People from all over the world attended the event. Teachers taught movement workshops, held discussions on different topics, and introduced some new ideas to the people attending. From the funds raised, hundreds of dollars were distributed to teachers who are on the brink of financial ruin. Many people who were in danger of losing their homes were given some semblance of stability and security. Sua made it very clear that the reason he decided to create this event was to bring the community together and to show what could be done when everybody gathered around a common cause.
Although the coronavirus has made life very difficult, it has also shown that we are much more resilient and connected than we think. People who never met before, who had never trained together at the same academy were brought together online for a common purpose. Zoom zoom zoom was one of the first Capoeira events held online, and it was a remarkable success. Since then, many more groups have decided to host online events. Some have done so to support their teachers financially, while others have done so to connect people from different parts of the globe.
The corona virus changed the Capoeira community. But it also showed the ability of people to overcome and come out stronger at the other end. If you would like to contact Sua about online classes, you can reach out to him on at email.
Chris Rodriguez, founder of Dende Arts, has been training Capoeria since 2007 and teaching since 2016. He tries to give back to the community by hosting free Capoeria classes, and sharing related information and his findings on his blog.