These two guys were practicing capoeira in Friendship Park this morning. They wore matching black tank tops and gray sweatpants, and faced off against each other inside the circle of benches at the center of the park, as though standing inside a small arena.
They were in their thirties, but the way they threw hard punches that ended softly and attempted jump kicks that didn’t get above waist high reminded me of how children re-enact movie fights, energetic, but controlled, choreographed, but pretending to be improvised. Just like kids, they also made noises as they fought, not just grunting and heeya, but fighting noises, imitating the sounds their blows would make if they were real.
They would spar intensely for a minute, attacking and blocking, back and forth, until one of them said, “Break!” Then they would double high five each other and cross to opposite sides of the circle, both with their hands on hips, both huffing to catch their breath.
Morning traffic passed by in either direction and people waited for the bus. A roofer standing by his truck at the end of the block watched their routine for five minutes. At first he looked concerned, thinking the fight might be real, but when he realized it was pretend he smiled smugly. He nudged his buddy. “Hey, look at these fucks in the park.”
The guys attacked and blocked, and then gave each other a huge double high five.