I was taking some pictures of an old friend in the park, enjoying the sun and being amazed by his skill at the Brazilian art of capoeira. After an hour of watching one handed high kicks and contorted gymnastics, I found myself considering what an evolution he had experienced with his life. We were all from Ladbroke Grove in London. All of us sacrificed our innocence to the god of ‘cool’ way before we ever needed to and in the end many of us had ended up in jail, rehab, and saddest of all dead…. But not all of us. Those who managed to find their way out of the nocturnal life of parties and drugs had done so through very personal awakenings. Maybe the catalyst to an awakened existence was their work, having a child or falling in love, but for this friend of mine it was capoeira. Capoeira has a long history with its roots in Brazilian African slavery. Forbidden to practice any martial arts, by their European ‘masters’, the slaves of Brazil hid their secret fighting techniques in music and dance. Capoeira was the rhythm and spirit that struck a cord with my friend. A strong enough note to turn his life around completely and irreversibly. He is a teacher of the capoeira now, with a new school opened in London. He once said to me that he knows more about Brazilian history than English. Could it be that our lives don’t really start until we find out who and what we really are? Maybe my friend from London is more Brazilian than he is English now, or maybe he is more himself than he could have been living life without purpose and focus. In my opinion, he is a rich man to know what he is… and to do something with it. He showed me that a willingness to change, learn and master ‘anything’ in life, can save us from the hole that is to be ignorant and self-destructive. There is clarity in effort. For me it was art that turned me around, for him capoeria… Someone once said: “Life is something that everyone should try at least once. For me, nothing worth having comes easily.” It took determination, will power and help from Capoeira Mestres to turn his life around. Capoeira is not just fun but a Philosophy and a way of life.