homepage logo

Capoeira classes help bring families and the community together

By Staff | Feb 8, 2018

On Saturdays, Lahaina CrossFit is home to the Rio Maui Capoeira nonprofit

LAHAINA – At the turn of the millennia, a young Brazilian adventured to Maui to surf for a “few months,” and he didn’t go home. With him, the then-23-year-old Fabio Maximino carried the Capoeira Culture; and, over the past 18 years, he has seeded the strain, blended the mix and now its roots have taken firm hold in Lahaina.

The capoeirabrasil.com website elegantly describes the movement: “Capoeira is an art form that defies description. It is a fight, it is dance, a game. It is creativity, intuition, grace, strength, history and tradition Capoeira is a story of triumph and freedom.”

It dates back 500 years to the 448-year African slave trade in Brazil, and “today the art has evolved from cultural practice, to martial art, to way of life. This once outlawed, clandestine art of physical and spiritual empowerment, has transformed itself into a staple of Brazilian popular culture, and today is recognized as a national sport.”

From Rio de Janeiro, Fabio’s life-blood is Capoeira; and it didn’t take long for it to re-surface on Maui.

“I made a bunch of new friends, and they found out I was a Capoeira teacher and asked me to teach. Then we made an agreement to trade culture. I teach the local boys Capoeira, and they would teach me some hula, some drumming, some Hawaiian culture.”

In 2003, he started work at the Feast of Lele, and the first Capoeira gym opened on the West Side.

He still works at the 505 Front Street luau as a dancer and drummer at night. Like many others living on the island, he has two “jobs.” During the day, he operates his own business, “We Paddle Maui,” offering canoe tours, standup paddling, surfing lessons and Maui cultural tours.

He’s a busy person with two children, the eldest son a second-grader at King Kamehameha III Elementary School; the youngest is two. His life partner, Millena Lima Buraco, is his childhood sweetheart since five years old.

He’s a father-family man first and foremost, Fabio said, but he always has time to share Capoeira with others.

“I have two days off, and on one day I am committed to Capoeira,” Fabio advised.

On Saturdays, Lahaina CrossFit (219 Kupuohi St., #101), in the Emerald Plaza-Lahaina Business Park, is home to the Rio Maui Capoeira nonprofit.

“We are teaching at Lahaina CrossFit; it’s where we train. The owners are super nice people. We accept donations from the parents, and we pass the donations to the cost of the space,” he explained.

It’s a family affair.

“We do a parent’s class at 11 a.m., bring the kids in at 12 o’clock and do a half hour together – kids and parents – and then the other half hour just the kids. Brings the parents closer to the kids,” Fabio observed.

His mission is simple: “to get our families together, our kids together, our community together. The more people you bring together, the better it is; together we strong.”

Fabio swears by the benefits of the Brazilian martial art.

“I think that this is the best thing a kid can have – a sport where we can put it all together, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I say spiritually – nothing related to any religion – but it calms you down when you bring in the music. Capoeira has that mix of the acrobatic, martial arts, dance, flexibility and strength.”

Fabio was absolute: “Capoeira is here to help in anything else we do in life. In Capoeira, like in the martial arts, it brings you the discipline; the self control; to know what’s right and what’s wrong; and can help you to make better decisions.”

There are parents in our community solidly behind Fabio, Capoeira and its values.

Stacy Farnsley Bookland is the principal at Lahaina Intermediate School.

“We have known Fabio since our son (Kai) was 2-3 years old He participated in Capoeira until fifth grade,” Bookland said.

“Capoeira,” the principal added, “has helped to develop our son’s self confidence, athletic ability and lifelong friends.”

Kai and Nalu Ho participated together in Capoeira as youth. Both sophomores at Lahainaluna High School, their friendship continues. Kai is a star football player and Nalu plays soccer on the junior varsity team and is an avid sailor and surfer.

Mom Kaeli Ho described the Capoeira experience for her son as “a great jump to socializing, camaraderie and respect for others.”

Community leader Ekolu Lindsey has had a similar experience. He has known Fabio since 2003 when he took his young son, Ka’elo, to his first Capoeira class.

“Ka’elo started at four years old and quickly progressed at the art. By the time he was eight, he was training with the adults. He was able to do things the adults couldn’t because of his flexibility. This developed esteem, confidence and the drive to be better. As a result, he took up gymnastics, so he could perform aerial maneuvers that the strong young 20-somethings were performing,” he said.

“Fast forward 14 years,” Ekolu commented with pride, “he finds himself at Oregon State University in Corvallis participating in ju-jitsu, judo and wrestling – and excelling in these sports, all due to his Capoeira foundation.

“Now, he is that strong young man doing flips and aerial maneuvers that astounds the spectator. Not to mention Dad’s proud of his accomplishments of physicality, mental fortitude and just being a good person.”

Ekolu is enthusiastic.

“I see the family nucleus as being very strong for those who participate. It’s an extended family, filled with aloha! I support anyone that can teach aloha utilizing international teachings. Aloha – love and compassion – transcends social barriers and creates the norm that we should all aspire to. Mahalo, Fabio, for being an ambassador of aloha, with a Brazzy twist,” he concluded.

To learn more about Capoeira family Saturdays at CrossFit Lahaina, call Fabio at We Paddle Maui at (808) 449-9431.