Last night (August 15) Capoeira Mandinga participated in the monthly Piedmont Ave. Stroll (http://www.piedmontavestroll.org/blog.html) by playing capoeira outside for almost 90 minutes. Yesterday was also Mestre Marcelo's birthday and in true capoeira tradition he declared his intention to play with everyone in the roda. Considering that there were probably over thirty people present, that would be no easy task.
I was standing outside of the roda, catching my breath after finishing a game, when a passerby approached me and asked if I did that "dance" too. When I said yes, he told me that I should stop because I was too old and would hurt myself. I had to laugh. What the stranger didn't know is that when I first started training capoeira over 25 years ago, my goal was merely to train until I got injured, then quit and move on to something else.
Well, I've had quite a few injuries over the years but nothing that made me want to leave the game for good. I have had blisters on my feet, sore muscles, a busted lip, a dislocated toe, back pain, rotator cuff injuries, knee pain and other things that I've forgotten. Maybe it's love or maybe I'm just too stupid to listen to reason.
The only good thing about injuries is that they give you the opportunity to learn how to take better care of yourself. It took a while but I learned a few things that helped keep me going. For instance: stretching after class is a really good practice, icing joints and injuries helps with healing and wearing a knee, ankle, etc. brace can remind you to be careful how you use a body part that is in pain. One of the most important things that you can do for injuries is to know when to seek the help of a professional (doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor) and to be patient when you are told that it will be months before you are fully recovered.
The secret to longevity in any sport or activity isn't really a secret at all. Whether it's running, biking, rock climbing, golf or rugby, pick something that you love doing with a family of like-minded individuals who will support and encourage you. I'm grateful that my capoeira community fulfills that roll for me. Axé.