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16.05.2017 | Trainers | Sjuul Daamen is a real capoeira fanatic. He started at the age of 13 and he trained so hard he ranked 4th place in the world championship in Germany in 2014. Sjuul teaches Mobility, Movement, Crosstraining and capoeira at Het Gymlokaal.
What attracted you to capoeira in the first place?
I was 12 when I first heard about Capoeira. At that age I was into martial arts and dancing already. I started taking Capoeira classes in ‘Doornroosje’ in Nijmegen, which is also a nightclub. The first time I came there, I was the smallest one in the group. I was directly attracted by the explosive elements of Capoeira. All the kicking, and acrobatic tricks and the fact that they were doing this together.
Did you start practicing right after that?
No I had to wait a little bit more. The classes at Doornroosje were only for adults. After a while someone started teaching to youngsters and since then, I never stopped practicing.
What do you like most about capoeira?
I like the fact that it’s a combination between martial arts, fighting, dancing, music and the Brazilian culture. I’ve always felt a strong connection to the Brazilian culture due to a close family member who’s from Brazil. A lot of the aspects of the Brazilian culture you’ll find in capoeira as well.
Can you tell us a little about the capoeira community?
It’s a small, but worldwide community. We work in groups in different cities all over the world. All these groups are connected. We travel a lot with our own group. For instance, if my group ‘Grupo Capoeira Brasil’ goes to Budapest, Paris or New York, we play with the capoeira group from that city. Overall we have one goal and that’s to become a better capoeirista and to have fun with each other.
And without exaggeration, you became a better capoeirista and even ranked4th of the world in 2014. What did you do to make that happen?
It was the celebration of the 25th anniversary of our capoeira community and we had a big international event. Capoeiristas from all over the world came to the event. They organized a championship there and they almost wouldn’t let me participate, because my ranking was not good enough yet. Luckily they let me participate and they saw me as the underdog. But I showed everybody wrong and against all odds I got the 4th place. This was a big achievement for me. I put a lot of effort in to Capoeira and it was showing off.
How would you describe Capoeira?
First of all Capoeira is an intense workout. It’s very dynamic and you’re always moving. You have to dominate the circle with moves where you use your coordination, flexibility and strength. Also you’ll need to focus on the movements of your opponent, so you can respond to that. It’s a very interactive combination between dancing, fighting and music.
What are the rules in capoeira?
There are many rules, but the most important ones are:
1. You have to keep moving, that’s called the ginga
2. You can’t attack straight in to someone’s face
3. You have to interact with your opponent  
4. If you stand in the roda (the circle) you have to clap and you’ll have to sing, after a certain stage you also have to start playing the instruments
Despite these rules, the fun thing about capoeira is that you can play with people from all levels. So a complete beginner can play with a real experienced capoerista.
Recently you organized a Capoeira Beginners Clinic at Het Gymlokaal. How was it?
It was a great success! It was so nice to see that so many people showed up and went all the way. Sometimes people have a difficult time getting out of their comfort zone. But with this group it went quite easy! There wasn’t a barrier at all and they all moved freely. Also I was amazed by the level of movement. They were performing very well even though it was their first time. They were so focused to learn and nobody was too shy to try. I think the atmosphere of Het Gymlokaal helps a lot. It is a very relaxed and open atmosphere, which really helps when you’re trying out something new.
So we should do more capoeira in Het Gymlokaal?
Yes most definitely! It fits perfectly with all the other classes. Using the body as a whole and moving/playing together, fits perfectly with the holistic view of Het Gymlokaal. Also the community feeling at Het Gymlokaal is a perfect fit with capoeira.
The 20th of May we’ll have ‘second capoeira clinic, is it possible to join if you missed the last one?
Yes of course, come and join!
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