Looking Out To Sea

Mestre Marrom workshop in London

Mestre Marrom was in north London doing a capoeira workshop at the weekend (20–22 September 2013). Various people from Mao No Chao went down from Scotland. I took the sleeper bus down on the Friday night with a handful of others and we arrived in London at 7am. Luckily we had planned for this and made enquiries of the best greasy spoon to get breakfast near to the workshop venue. Somewhere called Crystal Cafe in Homerton, I think.

I’d never met Marrom so this was a first. There were a lot of people from many London groups and further afield too. The hall was slightly too small for the number of people. When we were working in lines it was easy for the people at the edges of the rooms to run out of space when travelling sideways or backwards. It also made seeing across the crowd of people difficult.

We did some bits of pair work, and some sequences down the hall singly and in pairs. Then a double roda with a single bateria and at the end of each day a full roda. A number of local mestres came in for this — it was good to see them play — Fantasma, Axe, Joaozinho, Polaco and probably others who I forget. It was great to see all the different styles of play. (There are some videos appearing on YouTube being posted on the Urban Ritual channel.)

Overall I felt totally out of place being there. The level of skill was so far out of reach for me that I was just getting in the way. I basically spent the whole weekend uncomfortable and anxious without really taking anything in.

Marrom’s capoeira is very direct and grounded. It doesn’t give much away. Apart from ground — I often thought he escaped a long way out of an attack, often to re-enter very quickly with a hard attack. But quick chapas were something of a theme, both of his style and the weekend.