Professor Leão Preto
Getting In-tune with Capoeira
The Last Stand is a documentary on Netflix about The Chicago Bulls. It tells the story of the 90s team that won six NBA championships with the legendary Michael Jordan. In the series, memorable teammates, including Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, help Jordan to share parts of the Bulls' history never before disclosed to the public.
I was a huge Bulls’ fan growing up in Chicago. When the Bulls won their first championship, I remember screaming with excitement while running up and down the block of my Southside childhood home. I had Bulls’ posters on my bedroom walls, several of the players’ basketball cards, and watched almost every game.
Michael Jordan had an almost God-like status in my life. I used to tell my friends that he was my uncle! My genetics didn't bless me with the height to dunk, but I attempted every other move I saw him perform to perfection during his years with the Bulls.
In the documentary, you learn about the other side of the team that never made it to television.
Throughout several scenes of the Netflix series, Jordan talks about his early years with the Bulls. Before the championship years, he discussed how the team’s reputation preceded their arrival in every town. The Bulls were not known for their talents on the court. They were the team responsible for throwing wild parties that included drugs, sex with multiple women, and whatever else money and celebrity status purchased in the 80s.
Allow me to try and retell you one of the stories Jordan shared in an episode.
One year while traveling on the road, Jordan decided to visit a teammate’s hotel room after hours. When his teammate opened the door, he found a private party with women, several players snorting lines of cocaine, others smoking weed, some drinking alcohol, and the rest engaged in behaviors that did not align with the common perception of a professional athlete. Although invited to stay, Jordan turned around and left.
Jordan's self-discipline told him that joining the party would not give him the results he wanted on the court. It was hard for him to resist joining his teammates, but necessary due to his commitment to the game and his standards.
After watching the party scene with my wife, she turned to me and said, “He was a machine. You are like him.” I looked at her, confused about the comparison between me and Jordan. She explained that Jordan’s discipline to leave the party and practice basketball for hours is similar to my work ethic and dedication to capoeira.
For fourteen years, I have prioritized making time to train capoeira. I have spent hours drilling kicks, improving acrobatic movements, and developing my music skills outside of class. Like Jordan, I have made decisions to leave parties in exchange for rest and more time to train.
Despite my many social media posts, I don’t practice capoeira to gain the approval of others. It is not my life’s goal to achieve legendary status in capoeira circles or rodas, similar to Michael Jordan’s name on the basketball court. I train capoeira out of love, respect for its unique history, and the potential to impact lives.
Every day, we need to make time for activities aligned with learning and growing into the best version of ourselves. Ask yourself, what are you doing today to improve as a human being? Today, among multiple personal and professional responsibilities, I will train capoeira.
For years, I have followed a strict workout schedule. In 2019, I took notes on everything that I did in preparation for my graduation to the Professor title in capoeira. At the start of every month, I organized a training guide with exercises to strengthen my body, mind, and spirit.
Due to COVID-19 and the sheltering in place practices, I decided to share my home training guide and create the Capoeira In-tune program. This initiative is intended for intermediate to advanced capoeiristas with six months or more of training experience. Participants in multiple countries will receive a structured approach to improving their skills in capoeira. I also intend to lead talks and discussions on the mind, body, and spirit disciplines that can help capoeiristas identify and follow their life's purpose.
Learn more about the many benefits of the program by clicking this link.
The Capoeira In-tune program begins on June 1, 2020. If you're interested in learning more about the transformational Capoeira In-tune program, subscribe to this email list and receive a free sample of my training guide. Together we can use every day to work towards success and make more than one last stand with capoeira as an anchor to improve ourselves and communities.