Bitcoin and Capoeira unite in the fight for liberation.
Bitcoin and Capoeira unite in the fight for liberation.
The Intersection of Capoeira and Bitcoin: A Tale of Liberation and Resilience
Image Source: Unsplash
This is an opinion editorial by Moon, a Bitcoin Maximalist, writer, and practitioner of capoeira.
Capoeira, often superficially described as “dance-fighting,” is a self-defense style that arose organically out of the forced melding of cultures between different African peoples enslaved in Brazil in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, capoeira has evolved into a popular and globally-recognized martial art, known for devastating kicks, devious sweeps, and dazzling acrobatics. Behind all of the flashy moves, however, lies a much deeper essence. Capoeira fully encompasses African expressions of fight, dance, music, art, ritual, spirituality, and philosophy into one, in a pursuit of liberation. Over the centuries, capoeira has been shepherded, protected and propagated by a nomadic, decentralized, warrior-sage-trickster culture that has rebuffed every attempt to suppress, institutionalize, centralize or destroy it.
But what does any of this have to do with Bitcoin?
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Kindred Cultures of Liberation
First, in capoeira (which I have practiced since 2005) and in Bitcoin, I see kindred cultures of liberation that can learn from and benefit one another. I believe the two complement each other extremely well as parallel paths for radical liberation, one through body discipline and the other through sound money, and both, interestingly, building up similar habits of mind.
Second, where much of “Bitcoining” is objective, rooted in mathematics, capoeira is much the opposite — capoeira is a mystery: fluid, emergent, always changing, always challenging, a thing to be experienced but never fully known. Yet, despite these differences, just like Bitcoin, capoeira bends the practitioner into embracing unending learning and demands the practitioner’s acceptance of ceaseless, unyielding change. We capoeiristas say “capoeira changes you,” and as Bitcoiners, we know full well that Bitcoin does the same.
Finally, capoeira is a practice that forces the development of jest and “good humor” — the ability to strike and take strikes, to both fall hard and knock others down just the same, all with a laugh and a genuine smile — and a presence devoid of heavy emotions like anger, jealousy, or pride. In this, capoeira offers a healthy counterbalance to the type of dour humorlessness that sometimes finds us in Bitcoining.
Let us consider some other interesting parallels…
Much as the real-world identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is unknown, the true genesis of capoeira is unknowable — a secret lost to time in the wide, dark belly of the Middle Passage. However, much like Nakamoto’s identity, many theories and much debate on the subject of capoeira’s origins persist.
Pseudonymous, Outlaw Culture
Capoeira was persecuted in Brazil and even formally outlawed from the 1890s to 1930s. Pushing capoeira underground gave rise to the “apelido,” or nickname, used to shield the practitioners’ legal identities from the state and from each other. Today, many capoeiristas will simply introduce themselves by their apelido, and, as with a Bitcoiner’s “nym,” no further questions need be asked.
While there are now and have always been leaders in capoeira, there is no leader of capoeira. Each mestre (master) teaches in their own way, each group is different, and the groups themselves are constantly merging, separating, and reforming. No wonder past attempts to exterminate it have always been futile. This is, of course, an inspiring parallel to Bitcoin’s own decentralized and leaderless persistence.
Where Bitcoiners speak of “OPSEC,” the capoeirista has “malícia” — a heightened and ever-present adversarial awareness. In the game of capoeira, players do not block attacks, rather, they move with the attack, dodging out of the way. The skilled capoeirista is always thinking several moves ahead, anticipating their opponent and changing their movements in an attempt to misdirect, confuse, and entrap. In the larger game of everyday life, malícia manifests as an adeptness in reading people, the ability to anticipate human situations well before they arise, and, therefore, to position accordingly.
Radical and Asymmetrical Liberation
Capoeira is an artifact of slavery and oppression. It empowers the individual, particularly one who cannot afford to attack head-on, to leverage every part of their body as unexpected and shockingly effective tools of self-defense. In so doing, capoeira unshackles the practitioner’s mind to think and see differently, and to plan for or to put into motion whatever is most unexpected — to become adept in navigating the vagaries of an unpredictable and unjust world. Similarly today, Bitcoin provides an asymmetrical “opt-out” of the fiat system, especially for those who cannot confront the system head-on.
What Can These Communities Learn From One Another?
So, what then can the Bitcoiner learn from capoeira? And what can the capoeirista learn from Bitcoin?
For the Bitcoiner, capoeira can offer a greater appreciation of whimsy, play, and mystery, along with unexpected avenues to physical fitness, self-defense, and cultural enrichment. Capoeira teaches you to defend yourself, to think differently and to think ahead, to be of fit body and sound mind, but also to dance and laugh well always — because one day, surely, you will die — so you had better enjoy the ride.
For the capoeirista, Bitcoin offers true liberation to store value, free from theft and debasement. Bitcoin is also a perfect complement to capoeira’s culture of individualism, liberation, wandering, and informal economy. Finally, Bitcoin stands to free people, particularly those in “the third world,” from money and systems that oppress and steal, an objective that couldn’t be more aligned with the heart and history of capoeira.
Bitcoin and capoeira, the two most enriching communities, can learn from each other, fostering an exchange of ideas, practices, and perspectives. Together, they embody the true essence of liberation and resilience. Axé and happy Bitcoining!
Disclaimer: This is a guest post by Moon. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.