DiscoverFitnessNG | Weekend Capoeira with Panda - Class in Lagos, Nigeria
I took a weekend Capoeira class in Lagos, Nigeria with Panda himself. It was an amazing Capoeira experience.
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Weekend Capoeira with Panda

Brazil; the land of sunny beaches awash with Samba boys and bikini babes. The country was on almost every globetrotter’s bucket list (until Zika came to ruin the party).  If you are unable to visit for any reason (Dollar ti won and Naira ti float, perhaps) Island Capoeira brings slice of Brazil right to your doorstep!


Island Capoeira comes your way courtesy of instructor Yemi Fatona (or Capoeira Panda, as he likes to be called), and his teacher; Professor Chibuzo “Slim” Ikonta. The weekend classes take place at Club Shrinkers off Muri Okunola in VI, so you can step in at 10 a.m. on a Saturday and get yourself a healthy dose of the Brazilian martial art.

The art of Capoeira combines elements of dance and acrobatics. There are spinning kicks, flips, twists and turns all over the place. The intricacy of the discipline means that your body will be going through quite a lot, so Panda will start trainees off with a lengthy warmup and stretching session to make sure your body is ready for action and less prone to injury.




Capoeira Class in Lagos, Nigeria with Panda


Panda Does a Backflip – Capoera in Lagos

Panda favors animal movements for his warmups, so be prepared to do the bear crawl, duck walk and frog hops, amongst others. These movements really loosen up the body, and prepare it for the various capoeira drills to come. If your legs aren’t strong, all I can say is “hu hu hu!”, because you’re in for a world of hurt. The duck and horse walks are particularly rough on the quads, so you’ll feel a major burn during those. (I get my revenge by ordering the crispy duck whenever I eat out at a Chinese place.)

Once you’re done warming up, Panda and Slim will move you along to the foundation of Capoeira – The ginga. All Capoeira moves revolve around the ginga, which is basically a (somewhat) rhythmic back and forth movement from which all techniques can originate. The ginga keeps the Capoerista in constant motion from which he or she can either attack or evade, so it’s an essential movement to master.

To ginga, enter a low squat, extend one leg backwards, take the back foot to its original position, then do the



same for the other leg. It’s basically just stepping back and forth. Simple, right? It’s not. If you’re not accustomed to the movement, Staying in the constant state of semi-squat will start taking its toll after the first 20 or so steps. You’ll also start to feel a little strain in your back if you haven’t been keeping it straight, so keep that core tight while you move.

Once you’re comfortable in your Ginga, Panda and Slim will take you through various drills, incorporating movements based on the experience level of the class. If you’re a beginner, you’ll have simpler drills, running through the basic kicks, evasive movements and flips of capoeira. As you advance, you’ll be taught more complicated moves, as well as how to string them into long, continuous flows which can be as deadly as they are beautiful to behold. You’ll also get to do partner drills and eventually try out your skills on each other in a friendly bit of jogo (“play”).

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Capoeira isn’t a simple art to master, but it is extremely versatile. It can be used as a form of conditioning to improve strength, speed and bodily coordination, or just to make you dance better! A lot of Panda’s warmups also help open up the body, so if it’s flexibility you’re looking for, this is a good place to develop it. Capoeira’s movements might take a while to get used to, but stick with the program and before you know it, you’ll be moving like these guys!





In Summary

Island Capoeira

Location: Club Shrinkers, No. 3, Abiola Segun Ajayi Street, off Muri Okunola

Times: 10 a.m. on Saturdays

Price: N2,000 per session


Workout intensity: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆



Discover Fitness is a Nigerian fitness blog about nutrition, sport, workouts, fitness classes in Lagos and general fitness.

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