Capoeira: The Three Levels of the Jogo

Capoeira: The Three Levels of the Jogo

When you study the art of capoeira, you are opening yourself up to a world of learning and growth. There are three levels to the Jogo, or game, in capoeira. The first level is becoming proficient at the physical aspect of capoeira – moving and executing techniques correctly. The second level is where you learn more about capoeira as a whole. You begin to study the philosophy and history behind the movements, and how they are all connected. The third level is where there is no distinction between you and capoeira – you are one with the game.

These levels often occur in a certain order though it is said that students can be working to achieve expertise in more than one level at the same time. That said, many students begin with the first level which is becoming proficient at the physical aspect of capoeira, of movement and form. When students first come to capoeira, they are usually just focused on the physicality of it to start. Learning the movements and getting a feel for how the game works and how to move gracefully within it. This is the first level of the Jogo and it’s important to become proficient at this stage before moving on.

The second level of the Jogo is where you learn more about capoeira in its entirety. Philosophy and history become woven into your practice. As you learn more about capoeira, you start to understand the history and philosophy behind it. This is the second level of the Jogo and it’s where you start to see capoeira as more than just a physical activity and you become more closely connected to its importance in the world as a whole.

At the third level, there is no distinction between you and capoeira, you are capoeira. It is a transcendence of the separateness between you and capoeira and you have achieved a physical and spiritual connection that denotes an expert capoeirista. This is a level that few students reach as it requires the highest level of commitment to the art form but those who have achieved it are skilled in rare ways and a wonder to watch in the roda.

Capoeira is invaluable in so many ways and should be part of everyone’s life. It improves one’s self-defense abilities. It teaches you to dodge attacks and defend yourself with the same moves that other attackers might use against you. Capoeira also builds confidence, particularly for those who don’t have a lot to begin with. It helps you to see your body and mind working together to accomplish something that, at first, may have seemed impossible.

Becoming proficient in one level of the Jogo leads to a deeper understanding and connection to the others. And as you grow in your practice, you begin to see how capoeira is so much more than just a physical activity. It is an art form that can change your life in immeasurable ways. If you have never tried it, you won’t regret it.

Capoeira is a complex and diverse sport that requires dedication, time, and patience to learn. We’ve discussed the three levels of capoeira practice: first becoming proficient at the physical aspect of it; then learning about its history and philosophy; finally achieving transcendence with your body and spirit. No matter what level you are currently at in your capoeira journey, keep going and don’t give up!

Capoeira is a beautiful and unique sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures. Consider starting or continuing your capoeira journey – the further you go, the more skills you will learn to use in both class and in life.

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