1. Ginga...and ginga more....because a Capoeirista who can't Ginga can't be called a Capoeirista. No matter how nice your moves are, if you can't Ginga, you will not be able to connect the movement. When you ginga, try moving your body in a wave like motion, meaning your head will be at the highest position when you are in the starting and ending position but while you move from side to side, your head goes down low. Be creative; Just as Ballerinas express their dance with their movement, we express our art with our movements; use body sways, hand jerks, anything, to make your ginga stylo-milo and your very own. Your Ginga has to be strong such that it will not allow you to fall with a slight nudge. It has to be strong and firm yet flexible to move and change your momentum as and when you wish. This takes practice.
2. You don't have to practice 3 - 4 hours to get better. Often, practice daily for about 30 - 40 mins of intense workout. Its not the quantity but the quality. Make sure you use the right techniques during your practice. Even Mestre Luizinho practices his Ginga once in a while in front of the mirror for 30 mins at least. And ladies...this is a really good fat burner...trust me.
3. The Chair. Yes the chair. Mestre says the secret to practicing alone is the Chair. How so? Just like Wing Chun has its kungfu Dummy, WE have the Chair. Place a simple chair... those with 4 legs mind you, in front of yourself. Then when you look at it from the front, it has 2 legs, from the sides 2 legs. SO how does this help? Ginga facing the chair and practice your kicks over the chair, your Rasteirhas to the chair legs, practice your ground movement by maneuvering around the chair keeping your focus. Its alot of imagery but it works. If the dummy worked for the Kung Fu ppl, the chair will to for us
4. Be fit. No matter how good your techniques are, if you are not fit, you can't use them. Capoeira after all is still a martial art and 70% of it relies on your fitness. So if you find yourself unable to proceed past a certain stage or get a certain move, go work out, workout the muscles that are involved in that move. Do not forget about your cardiovascular fitness...because alot of us were gasping for air during the roda.
5. Do LOTS OF PUSHUPS! well in the words of Rocha: " Do pushups until you're really good at it". I guess he meant doing lots and lots of them. Ok, to clear a certain misconception- Doing pushups will not build muscle mass if done at normal speeds. It will only build muscle mass when done slow and controlled. So ladies, please do more pushups and not be afraid of gaining big arms because the truth is, the faster you do your pushups, the more you tone your arms and not build them. Do normal pushups, wide pushups, queda-de-rins pushups, both sides until you are comfortable with it.
6. (I just remembered this tip) When you first start learning a move, you are gonna find yourself feeling heavy and clumsy and hard to move your body around. That is normal. Even for dancers, when they learn their first moves, they are jerky and not fluid as well. The secret is to keep training. Because once you get used to that movement, it will no longer feel heavy anymore as you have found the balance and technique required to execute it. You see, capoeira is not all about muscle strength. Its more about being able to coordinate than anything else (:
Well in the words of Mestre Geni: If you afraid of losing, you're never gonna win.
Start practicing at home and trust me...in no time, you will surpass many of the seniors in school hehe.