Meet Alex – Contra Mestre Timbalada


Let us present you a great capoeira teacher and a friend of ours – Contra Mestra Timbalada from Grupo Senzala Geneva, Switzerland. His real name is Alex and he was born in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He comes from a big family and has 3 brothers and 1 sister. Alex start playing capoeira when he is 12 years old and since then apoeira turns to be his greatest passion.

Here, you can find the interview with Contra Mestre Timbalada in Portuguese.Timbalada1 Why did you choose capoeira? Why not any other martial art, for example Jiu Jitsu?

CM Timbalada: I chose capoeira because I didn’t have so much other choices, and either, I didn’t have enough money to practice another sport. What is capoeira for you?

CM Timbalada: Capoeira is my philosophy of life. Who gave you your capoeira name? What does it mean?

CM Timbalada: It was Ritinha, one of the first students of my master Garrincha, who gave me my name in Capoeira. Timbalada is the name of a famous Brazilian group of music, with a lot of percussions, created by the singer Carlinhos Brow (from Salvador/Bahia). Is capoeira in Brazil different from capoeira in Europe? Why is that?

CM Timbalada: Capoeira in Brazil, is part of our culture whereas here, Capoeira is a imported culture. Do you go back to Brazil from time to time? Do you play capoeira there?

CM Timbalada: I come back to Brazil once a year. It is a great pleasure for me to see my friend and play Capoeira with them. You’ve been playing capoeira for a long time? How will it be after years?

CM Timbalada: I started learning Capoeira when I was 12 years old, and I feel that I am physically in a good phase of my life as a Capoeirist. For sure, it will not last forever, and when I will be 80 years old, I will not be able to do all the things I am able to do right now. You train not only adults but kids as well. Do kids learn capoeira easily? Are they afraid of the moves?

CM Timbalada: I teach adults, but also teenagers and children from 5 years old. Children learn the moves very easily, because they learn playing… They are not afraid of being injured doing the Timbalada3moves. What is the lowest age of a kid you have thought capoeira?

CM Timbalada: In Grupo Senzala Geneve, children can start Capoeira from 5 years old. Do you have a favorite capoeira student – adult or kid?

CM Timbalada: I am considering all my students as equals, I don’t prefer one to the other. You go to a lot of workshops and batizados? Tell us an interesting story from an event you have attended?

CM Timbalada: One day, Master Paulão from the group ACL, Associação Capoeira Lausanne, here in Switzerland, called me at 9 a.m and asked me if I could help him, because he was organizing a workshop with Master Ramos, who is from the Grupo Senzala, as I am. As Master Ramos was late and couldn’t manage to arrive on time, Master Paulão needed someone to stand in for Master Ramos all the day long. Master Paulão proposed me to come give some classes. Thankful, I accepted, and when I put the telephone down, I spent all the daylong feeling nervous with my legs shaking, also because I had never met with Master Paulão’s students and I was a bit apprehensive… I am not Master Ramos. From the moment I arrived there, everything happened very well with the students who were enthusiastic. To stand in for Master Ramos is not an easy thing! What are you future plans? Any big workshop or batizado? Tell us more about it.

CM Timbalada: My objectives for the future are to consolidate my work here, and manage my students to be aware of how to get a good practice of Capoeira.
All the events that I organize are very important to me and to my students, this is why I am always organizing 2 events a year; the Festival International Capoeira Sennzala Geneve, that always happens in May, and a workshop that always happens in November! All your classes are at the evening. What do you do during the day time? Is it capoeira related?

Timbalada4CM Timbalada: I teach Capoeira from Monday to Thursday. My classes start at 6 p.m until 9h30 p.m. On Wednesday I give class to children from 10 a.m to 3 p.m
I also work as a cook in an Alternative School of the State of Geneva. Is there anything you would like to say to the readers and all capoeira players?

CM Timbalada: Respect yourselves and respect the others’ rights.