I started hooping in 2012 as a way to lose weight. The amazing thing about it is that the hoop has made me found a way to connect with my inner self and outer self, which is way beyond the physical benefit of having a regular cardio routine. The plastic circle we call the hoop is probably one of the most meditative tools I've encountered because it lets me lose the worries when I spin in it. At the same time, the hoop is also the best way for me to see that there is a way for me to connect my movement with my thoughts and feelings.
Last year, I started to learn capoeira hoping that I'd get more familiar with staying near the ground and keeping myself in motion. Blame Brecken Rivara's video "Floored" for this because she was floor hooping like crazy and I want to do that someday too. My friend Rica introduced me to one of her friends who happens to be a capoeirista. From that point on, I have been attending capoeira classes regularly and each session makes me feel happy that I am a capoeirista.
Last Thursday, we had a music class and we studied several songs including "Roda Maravilhosa." It means "Marvelous Wheel." The roda is the circle we form and we play capoeira together. Like the hoop, there is a circle involved in capoeira and every capoeirista takes part in this roda by singing songs, clapping and playing the game. We are taught that when we make the roda, we should keep close to each other as we stand to create a perfect circle, one that doesn't have big gaps between people, one that isn't a squarish shape. We are also taught that in the roda, we have a shared energy as we sing, clap and play. And the lyrics of the song "Roda Maravilhosa" is a perfect reminder for me the other night.
With hooping, my relationship with the hoop has been on an individual to individual level in the sense that I take the hoop as one entity to interact with. I move within it, or with it. It's mostly my energy interacting with the hoop. When I say energy, I mean the literal physical energy as well as the creative energy of my soul. Sometimes I might say that the hoop is leading my motion, and that's because there's a path that the hoop creates when it spins around, as well as when I break it and it naturally reverses its direction. Usually the interaction I have with the hoop would have music, to set the mood and the pace. Sometimes, I just practice with it even without music so it's just my will to move and the hoop's path that create new patterns. The physical object and the spinner interact directly in hooping.
In capoeira, the circle is not a physical object to have interaction with. Instead, the circle is composed of people. The interaction is not between a circular object and an individual. Parts of that circle interact with each other. Two people from the roda play a game while the rest cheer on by singing, clapping or playing instruments. Everyone in the roda gives something into the circle and it's reflected in the pace of the song, the movements of the players, and everything in the roda. It's not exactly the same play with the hoop that you could see the circle in a tangible manner. In capoeira, the circle is everyone, not a thing that is outside of you.
What I like in hooping and capoeira are the following things:
- There is a concept of flow or one's movements just being naturally stitched together, expressing one's self. It took me a long time to find flow in hooping and it seems like I am experiencing the same thing in capoeira. But I do think it will come sooner or later, I just have to keep practicing!
- Music. Music is an important aspect in both hooping and capoeira. Even though I do hoop without music, I have to admit that it has helped me learn new moves and combinations. The pace of the songs I've heard has inspired me in one way or another. In capoeira, music is important too. It sets the mood.
- Interaction. In hooping there's the interaction with the hoop. And there's also interaction with fellow hoopers. It's not like an interaction that is always face to face but that's ok.
So far I am discovering things where both have similarities. Here's hoping to find more as I go deeper in my practice.