As many of you are aware, capoeira has been a key activity that Mum Mum and I have partaken in over the past many years. Heck, we met at class here in Houston.
When I moved back to Houston in ’05, I was out of work and happy to be so, but I needed something to help get me out of the house. Above and beyond playing golf, that is. So I researched and found Grupo Cafu Capoeira Association, based here in Houston, and led by Ivan Da Silva, known in the capoeira world as Mestre Cafuringa (Cafu). More on that very soon. I then joined the group and trained religiously at least three times a week, even taking Afro-Brazilian dance class from Ivan’s wife.
Over the years I have spent a lot of time and energy at class, as has Mum Mum. I tried on multiple occasions to help redesign the website (but each attempt was summarily rejected and result is that website has not changed in at least the past 5 years), we were key attendees at many demonstrations, and Mum Mum tried many many times to help get support and funding for the group when Ivan was looking to organise events.
Over the same time we got very close to Mestre and his family, spending a time outside of class with them, helping them out where and when we could. This included having Isabela, a sweet little girl, as one of our flower girls at our wedding.
Hopefully, I am painting a picture in which it is obvious that we trained hard, enjoyed (for the most part) their company, and became pretty good friends. That was until Mestre, from here referred to as Nutter, started to show his true face. Changing his mind and memory at whim, sending the group to do demonstrations at ‘highish society’ dinner parties, where we were told the demonstration was at 7:30 when in fact it was at 10:30 (pm), and where after performing we were given an envelope with cash, that went straight into Nutter’s back pocket, even though he was miles away at the time in Colorado. The list of inconsistencies and talking behind people’s back could take all day for me to list and I really don’t think it is necessary to do so.
After the debacle with the above demonstration, and after 6+ years of frustration, Mum Mum stopped training. I continued but refused to do any more demonstrations. It got to the point where going to class became more stressful than stress-relieving, and I was glad when Nutter decided to move to Hawaii. One of his senior students then started to run class, and for the next month or so the energy in the group started to increase. We got new students, the vibe was upbeat, and we all got along really well, inside and outside of class. Then Nutter came back for a short visit that ended in him taking over class again, to our personal dismay.
It all reached a breaking point last night when Mum Mum and I went to class to tell Nutter that we could not keep training with him (two of his senior students, one in Houston, and one in Colorado had already broken ties, or had ties broken, with him that day). I approached it as politely and in as friendly manner that I could. That is when it all went south. Nutter went off the deep end. He got right into our face, was stabbing his finger right in my face (which I pushed out of the way). Here is a little list of the delusions that he cared to throw at us. In no particular order and not complete by any stretch of the imagination…
- He knew all along that we would leave the group
- We never brought anything to the group
- We were never there 100% of the time, even after both of us training regularly for 4+ years
- We never helped the group do anything
- When we hosted two people from New York for the Batizado (our graduation) a couple years ago, we never offered them any food at our house
- We were never friends to him, and in fact he does not have or need friends
- When I first joined the group I was very humble, but I turned uppity and snobbish after Mum Mum and I got together
- That we did not know how to be friends to anyone (not that he was ever our friend or that he needed friends)
- I needed to man up
- That my $15 dollars was just… thought tailed out here
- Telling me not to shout at him, while he was shouting at me
- Telling us, repeatedly to get the F$%# out
The only thing I will say is about the $15. He seemed very angry that I gave him $15 (this is the cost of one class… but I, for the longest time, paid by quarter so that he would have cash) but not quite sure where this came from.
The above is in complete contradiction to what had had told us before, that we were good friends to him, that we were the most regular students, that we always paid on time, that we always called if we were not going to be able to make class, etc…
Nutter, nutter, nutter… that was my mantra for the rest of the night after he tried to then escort us out of the building. I am glad that everyone who was there managed to hear what was said as he was the first to raise his voice, and we were quick to respond in kind. I have never met someone who had such a destructive nature. He has successfully broken apart a group in Hawaii, Colorado, and Houston… all in the matter of a couple of months. I hope him all the worst, but I feel bad that his daughter had to see all that play out last night. Needless to say that we are no longer part of Grupo Cafu. We will still be training but not with Mestre Nutter.
I don’t tend to rant too much on this blog, but just had to get off my chest before moving along to the next thing.