Once, the brave Elsie Lessa told in the newspapers the story of a great figure from the old Rio de Janeiro bohemia, "a son of the night, of the stars, of the winds, and of the storms," as the Brazilian writer who died in 2000 poetically chronicled.
His name was Amado Amaro, and one day he entered the bar with newspapers under his arm, his features calm, and his mouth with a trickle of blood, "his lips chapped" after some quarrel. What is it, Amaro, his friends asked.
"Why, a punch! What else could it be?" and ordered his beer.
Amaro didn't mind getting beaten; he went further, he admired the art of the beating, even when he was on the wrong end of the punch.
Once, according to Elsie, Amado Amaro took a cab and started a tiff with the driver. The reason was silly, not the fare but a small tip. The driver received the change and thought it was too little, and responded with some name-calling. The trip ended in an argument, and one of them slapped the other.
But as well as being a taxi driver, this was a capoeira practitioner, a master of the "stingray tail." And he used this trip-up technique to throw Amado Amaro to the ground, where he fell. Elsie then recounts:
"Amaro stood up, amazed, in one of the great moments of joy of his life:
"'Are you a capoeira man? What a beauty! I always wanted to meet one. Can I have another one of those?'"
People gathered to see the happy, beaten-up man. He even gave a card with phone number and address to his new idol, the tough driver and capoeirista, and said goodbye: "Come by sometime; we'll have a drink together..."
Amado Amaro would certainly appreciate the grace of jiujitsu, whose beauty comes from its efficiency and gentleness in avoiding aggressions and blows like the stingray tail itself. Maybe Amado wouldn't agree to learn, or maybe he would. After all, he was half poet, half madman, "a man more of the night than of the day," "more of wine than of bread."
But for those who do not enjoy fighting on cab rides, nor are thrilled when they fall flat on the ground after an argument, the following Rickson Gracie technique can be valuable.
Check out this excerpt from yet another class teeming with detail, and stay out of trouble out there!