E.I.S. alumna introduces capoeira to fellow students at her university in Bremen, Germany

Andrea Melissa El Hajj (E.I.S. Alumna)

When I first came to Jacobs University, I never thought I would be brave enough to start my own capoeira club. The main reason was due to my shyness and the fact that I let that conquer me. However, one day, when I mentioned capoeira to one of my friends, they exploded with curiosity and wanted to immediately know more about it. This made me realise that capoeira could be something that many people would be interested in learning, even by just hearing its name. So I sat by the window one day and asked myself, “What is stopping me from doing it?” I’ve been doing it for 11 years of my life now, I have my ‘instructor’s cord’ and I made a promise to my Mestre that I would take capoeira with me wherever I go and make him proud.

Capoeira to me is a sense of liberation in a world overrun by capitalistic ideals and systems (not saying it's a bad thing). It is a framework in which I can adequately defend myself. Within it I can use any martial art technique and not be restricted to a "system." Through it I see an understanding of the rhythm of the Universe. It challenges me to push myself past my comfort level. Capoeira, personally, helps me relax after a stressful workload. Not only that, but it will help you exercise and stay healthy when all you are doing is dancing to music, but at the same time, learning a martial art.    

So late one night, I sat there and decided to write an email to the whole university, to see how many people were actually interested in joining capoeira. Surprisingly, I got lots of responses. And there I was a week later on a zoom meeting with about 20 students, intrigued and curious about this mysterious word known as Capoeira. After that I got permission from the university to open the club and there I was, standing in an empty spaced-out white room with actual students and me right there, as their instructor. It was mind-blowing and hard to believe that I was actually doing it.

It’s been over a month now and what I can say is I don’t regret starting this and never will. The students are hard-working, and they are so dedicated to it and I am loving it. I realized that I don’t need to have a batch of students to prove that I am an instructor or for it to ‘feed my ego and show off to people that I teach capoeira.’ Having three students that come to every class, even before I arrive, and are willing to practise and learn further than their capacities, now that is teaching a true capoeira group, because you know they will stay and who knows, maybe in the future they will be teaching capoeira to other people too.

To conclude, I am very thankful to my Mestre Fassassi, who pushed me every single day, telling me that I can do it. I am also thankful to my mum, who kept on motivating me to continue this activity, when there were days that I felt like giving up. Today I am here, across the ocean, making them proud, and that is the biggest joy it could ever bring me.

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