About Me



Hi, I’m Bert, or Gafanhoto (Grasshopper) within capoeira.

I was born and raised in Chicago, IL. Before I discovered capoeira in my life, I was a student at the University of Illinois where I was first introduced to breakdancing.

I practiced breaking, on and off for over three years, but I realized I needed more direction. We were a group of students who practiced as a hobby, but didn’t have a strong teacher. It was fun practicing, but I really wanted to be instructed by someone who knew what they were talking about.


Introduction to Capoeira

One day, outside on the University Quad, I saw a large group of people in a big circle watching some sort of performance. When I got close enough, I heard music of the berimbau and saw what looked to me like some sort of dancing.

I realized they were actually throwing kicks and attacks while escaping the other. I really never saw or experienced anything like it before. The energy of the roda was amazing and everyone was having a great time. From that point I decided I wanted to learn more about capoeira.

In January of 2008, I finally built up the courage to check out the capoeira group, Cordão de Ouro , we had on campus. When I saw my mestre play in the roda, I was impressed; I wanted to learn everything he was doing.



From that day I started training three times a week. It was awesome to be learning from someone who had over 17 years of experience in the art. He knew what he was doing.


In Love with Capoeira

Since then I’ve been on a nonstop journey of amazing experiences and new things to learn. I attended my first Batizado in April 2008, meeting capoeira mestres from all over the world, including the mestre of Cordão de Ouro, Mestre Suassuna.

That first summer I spent in Los Angeles where I began training with a Regional group with a lineage from Mestre Bimba. I came back to the University for the fall and immersed myself even further in capoeira. I began training 5 days a week and attended every event I could. I really have a passion to learn and experience as much as I can.


Why Start-Playing-Capoeira.com?

As I’ve started to make capoeira a bigger part of my life, many people really want to know more about what it is I’m doing. Their first question is, “What is capoeira?” Answering this question is tricky, since capoeira is such a rich art containing fighting, music, song, dance, history and culture.

In an effort to answer that question as best as possible and have a place to record all that I’m learning I’m creating this site as a solution. Eventually I want to have this as a strong resource for beginners in the world of capoeira to use as a starting point for their personal journey.

I know having a website like this when I began would have helped tremendously, so I want to give back what I’ve received from everybody I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from.

Thank you for taking the time to visit this site. I’m working on updating it as much as possible and would definitely love to hear your input. Stop by my contact page to leave a comment letting me know what you think or feedback on what I can improve.

Thanks!

Bert “Gafanhoto” Rivera



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