Todays challenge is simple train your off side. Today we worked on aerials for the first time in capoeira class, we started on my strong side and my class mates were quite impressed that I came into the class with a nice aerial and then we had to do the other side… It was somewhat less impressive to put it mildly.
I have trained ambidexterity a great deal in my parkour training and have found that training in nature forces me to, this played to my advantage last year during the tempest games, in the x-vaults we were required to speed vault, kong vault and dash vault over three identical obstacles about 7 yards apart. Most of the competitors spent a great deal of time focused on getting the footwork right out of the speed vault to take off on their dominant leg on the kong. Many failed or had to slow down to achieve this, since I was comfortable with either foot forward on the kong I had no such problems and won my match up easily.
In my acro training I have not pursued ambidexterity and that was exposed today. In gymnastics the philosophy was to pick a side and stick with it, for doing the highest level of complex preplanned routes this makes sense, however it not occurs to me that in improved interactive world of capoeira not being able to go to both sides is a handicap.
While there are times when it is useful to prioritize one side like when developing your foot work and striking in combatives, one should regularly ask yourself are you training primarily on your dominant side because it is the optimal strategy for your goals or is just because it is easier? Some time spent building your off side will definitely benefit your overall capacity as a mover.
For some capoeira inspiration I thought this was awesome showing how it can be a lifelong practice.