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Head Instructor - Pererê

The head Instructor and Mestre for Vadiacao de Oxossi is Pererê (Eric Johnson). With a background in Asian martial arts, gymnastics and tumbling, at the age of 21 he got his start in traditional Bahian capoeira with his first mestre Elisio Pita as a member of the Aluja Capoeira Group while living in Seattle , Washington U.S.A. in 1989 . This education later expanded into performing capoeira, maculele (stick fight/dancing) and the music & dances of Afro-Brazilian folklore and Orixas with the Aluja Dance Company. At that time he also had a great time studying West African drumming & dancing, playing music for ongoing dance classes and occassionally dancing with a wide assortment of American and West African musicians and performers.


His  'Nome de Guerra' or nickname: 'Pererê' derived from his first year in capoeira when he would arrive at the training studio wearing his ubiquitous & tattered red baseball cap and riding a unicycle - which he rode all over Seattle and worked delivering Pizzas! Saci Pererê is a character in Afro-Brazilian folklore who is a mischievious and playful trickster - considered to be an aspect of the Orixa Exu (the Trickster god of magic and pathways, and messenger to the gods) who is sometimes cunning and brutal when dealing with foolish people on the crossroads, he wears a red cap and rides around in a little tornado. It was an apt and humorous association to make and Pererê has done his best to live up to it over the years.


From 1991 onward Pererê would repeatedly visit the beautiful, enchanting and dangerously enticing city of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil  to expand and deepen his capoeira knowledge and experience. For a few months he trained at the academy of the late mestre Joaoa Pequeno and others, making visits to rodas at academies and festivals throughout the city. In 1995 Pererê received his graduation and official recognition as a capoeira instructor while visiting Vancouver B.C. Canada at a batizado held by mestre Marcos Barrao.


In 1998 he was accepted as a student of mestre No of Bahia (Norival Moreira de Oliveira) and simultaneously he began leading a number of satellite programs with capoeira student groups across the country (Portland, OR, Iowa City, Iowa, St, Louis, MO, Peoria, IL, and others) with the vision of connecting this beautiful tradition of capoeira of his mestre with a diverse and far-flung community of interested people who would not otherwise have access to such a rare cultural and artistic treasure as mestre No.
Pererê leads regular seasonal weekend gatherings hosted at various locations which brings together members of our entire spread-out community and this arrangement has been going on now for over 15 years and our small artistic community is very tight.


In 2000
Pererê was graduated by mestre No to 'Contra Mestre' - becoming one of the first few non-Brazians to receive this graduation in the art of capoeira angola.  From that event onward he continued to do the work of his mestre - to share and explore traditional capoeira angola culture, history, philosophy, and technique - to faithfully pass on the many traditions, knowledge and skills he has painstakingly acquired under his mestre's guidance as best he was able. In 2011 Pererê founded his own capoeira organization - keeping the capoeira traditions in the forefront while he also expanded the curriculum to include archery, bushcraft and nature survival skills as this more fully realized his vision to offer inroads for his students towards greater self-reliance, agility, flexibility, participation in Nature in all their many challenges they encounter in life and to meet those challenges with a powerful and balanced approach. Capoeira and Nature are indivisible, the former being a reflection of and preparing ground for the latter. The berimbau (the musical bow of Capoeira) and the archer's bow & arrows are parallel images arriving to us from the same ancient original source. The Capoeirista and the Woodsman are brothers, ever hunters and trappers, negotiating obstacles and dangers in their environment, and creating them in turn to their own satisfaction. Circle of Life. Modern capoeira culture has become anchored in indoor and urban environments in ways that fail to express the totality of the traditional capoeira society & culture, and part of Pererê's overall mission has been to explore and reconnect to a more fully developed and rich expression of this vast art form.

Pererê currently resides with his small family in Port Townsend, Washington U.S.A. a beautiful little town reaching out into the waters of the Salish Sea in the Pacific N.W. region. The far Northwest corner of the United States. He continues teaching capoeira angola, making berimbaus, and persuing his many diverse interests.
 

In his travels he has explored
areas of Brazil, Japan, Europe, Canada, Central America, and all over the United States. On occasion he gets work as a professional stuntman and stunt performance instructor. He has had extensive adjunct study in other martial arts, primarily Japanese classical battlefield combatives (Koryu Bujutsu). He adores primitive and traditional archery & bow craft, and avidly continues his education in all areas of bushcraft and wilderness survival skills.




An article in the Seattle Post/Intelligencer from august 1996




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