My Capoeira Journey
Known as ‘Contra-Mestre Simpson’ in the ‘roda’ (capoeira circle) I live with, through and for this beautiful martial art/dance/culture. It became a philosophy of life and I love to explore its capacity of setting myself free in every way. I am driven to motivate and inspire others to apply capoeira for their own emancipation of physical and mental slavery. and have myself experienced its life-transforming potential.
My capoeira journey began 1999 when I met Mestre Paulo ‘Sorriso’ Mendes whose pupil I remain until today
I became part of ‘Grupo Cativeiro Capoeira’, an international capoeira group with the motto ‘Be nobody’s slave’, co-founded and headed by Mestre Miguel Machado in 1978 in Brazil
While travelling through Germany, Europe and Brazil I participated in numerous workshops and events, gaining valuable experience with various masters and groups.
In 2004 I travelled to the Caribbean and founded ‘Grupo Cativeiro Capoeira Jamaica’, which remains the only established capoeira group on the island until today
Capoeira projects with inner-city youths and children/adults with disabilities ensued all over Jamaica
Due to collaborations with local and international organizations I was able to facilitate the assignment of several Brazilian capoeira instructors to Jamaica, some of whom remained on the island for several years, supporting the establishment of our art.
2007, I co-founded the Jamaican-based charitable organization ‘Capoeira Alafia’ (CA). It’s main focus has been to promote peace and non-violence through capoeira as well as harmonious living together with the environment through permaculture and recycling projects. As managing director, I have been leading CA’s ‘Capoeira for Peace’ program as well as its environmental and entrepreneurial initiatives.
In 2009 I was rewarded the rank ‘Contra-Mestre’.
As president and co-founder of the Jamaican Capoeira Federation (JACF) I worked towards establishing capoeira as a sports modality, organized the first Jamaican capoeira championship and registered the organization with the International Capoeira Federation (FICA)
Since 2013 I have been allowed to offer capoeira courses as part of the official curriculum of the Edna Manley College for Visual and Performing Arts; as part-time lecturer I have been rated ‘master-teacher’ and received outstanding scores during staff/peer evaluations
In order to improve funding for projects in Jamaica I inspired the establishment of the German-based charitable organization ‘Förderverein Capoeira Alafia e.V.’ which became a major supporter of CA’s work
For several years I hosted Safety & Security briefings and Self-Defense workshops for international volunteers and returnees
I have been invited to teach capoeira workshops in the United States, Canada and Germany on many occasions
As a guest lecturer I was invited to report on my work in Jamaica at German universities, schools and during local capoeira encounters.
Along with representatives of other Jamaican-based organizations I was invited to Brazil by Fight for Peace in 2014. Subsequently Capoeira Alafia became part of the Global Alumni Programme which recently transitioned into the global Fight for Peace Alliance
CA became partner organization of the Safer Communities Programme Jamaica (SCPJ) and I continued to address youth violence by engaging as a capoeira coach at community centres at six target communities, at a juvenile detention centre and also at a maximum-security prison facility
As part of the SCPJ, I also co-hosted sports for development workshops for staff members of the Department of Correctional Services.
Alongside a behavioural psychologist I designed and conducted Psychological First Aid workshops for youth care workers, parents, schoolteachers and staff members of local aid organizations and businesses.