MESTRE THEMBA… THE PIONEER

Hello my friends,

I introduce you to a true Pioneer of Capoeira Angola in the United States, Mestre Themba Mashama, Baba Themba.

 

Mestre Themba Mashama is a master of Capoeira with over 40 years of experience. His Capoeira journey began with Regional/Contemporary Capoeira under MESTRE ACORDEON, and after training for a number of years, being part of a group that Mestre Acordeon took to brazil in 1983, and eventually earning the title of professor, Baba Themba became a student of MESTRE MORAES of Grupo Capoeira Angola Pelourinho.

And after he became a mestre under Moraes, he established the first Capoeira Angola academy in the U.S.A., in Oakland CA.

Now, I can talk about his upbringing in San Francisco, the influence of his parents and the presence of a strong father, and his continuing work as an activist in the Bay area, but I thought I’d let this recent podcast do that.

 

Click HERE to go to the podcast.

 
 

Now I can’t add much to what was said on the podcast. However, I can post a bit about my interactions with him.

The photo below was taken the weekend when I first met him.

 

That weekend, Jelani Lateef, the guy doing a back-bend (or “Ponte”) had arranged for his students at the time to meet Mestre Themba and his group, Capoeira Angola Preto Velho, for a Saturday of training.

We had planned to only train with Mestre Themba on that Saturday, then on Sunday, we were gonna go to a local Roda. However, while we were eating some food in Oakland’s Chinatown, Mestre offered to teach us another class on Sunday, which we eagerly accepted.

That trip, and subsequent trips to Oakland to train with Mestre Themba has been enlightening, in many ways.

 

The video above is a game between Mestre Themba’s son TJ, and Naomi Hanna at an open roda commemorating Mestre Pastinha, at the conclusion of a 3 day workshop Mestre Themba had taught in November, 2018.

Learning from him is amazing. He can see your strenghts & weaknesses, and tailor your training to bring out the best capoeirista in you.

When you’re training with him, you do learn a great amount of technical skill in capoeira angola as far as musical and movement training, But you don’t get just that. You also gain insight, an insight that can only come from a person who has had 4 decades of experience in learning, training, teaching, and LIVING Capoeira Angola.

And yes, at times the training is strenuous, but also quite rewarding.

 
 
 
 

He also has a great sense of humor, which you’ll see in this last video playlist I posted here.

In this playlist, Head Coach Ras of ATACXGYM CAPOEIRA went to Oakland to visit the good people of Capoeira Angola Preto Velho.

Now some of you out there may have issues with Head Coach Ras and what he does, but that has nothing to do with me, or this website.

I’m posting this here as an example of what can happen when different practitioners in the martial arts with very different philosophies about a certain system, can come together in a civilized way, and have a positive conversation and appreciation about what each person does, without prejudice, or negativity.

And also because in my opinion, there were many gems dropped by Mestre Themba, his student Treinel Mo, and Head coach Ras in these videos.

 
 

Nowadays, after many years of teaching and bringing up multiple generations of angoleiros, he has retired from regular teaching, but he still does workshops and gives presentations.

And, he has a small but dedicated group of teacher sharing Capoeira Angola all over the U.S.

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