Julie Rothman practicing Capoeira Julie Rothman practicing Capoeira

Meet my dear friend Julie Rothman! Julie and I farmed together at the Agroecology program at The University of California Santa Cruz almost 20 years ago! Back then, I lived with her in her yurt in the Santa Cruz hills and when she wasn't growing or blending herbs for her herbal tea company, Flower Power Teas, she was at Capoeira. She introduced me to this dynamic, free-spirited Brazilian martial art and I got to witness first hand how much vitality, spirit and community she got from the practice.

Julie has been such an inspiration in my life and I am so happy to introduce her and one of her favorite movement practices to you!

Q: What is Capoeira?

A: Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines acrobatics, martial arts, dance, music and singing. It originated in Africa by slaves who were trying to learn new self-defense techniques under the "guise" of playing a game. It has a strong community component that builds reflexes, strength, flexibility, agility and speed.


Q: When did you start practicing Capoeira?

A: I started practicing in 1992 in Santa Cruz, CA with Mestre Papiba who continues to teach. He is part of a larger Capoeira school from Brasil called Raizes do Brasil. Visitors come from Raizes do Brasil each year to participate in the graduation or Batizado that the Santa Cruz group puts on. New players are initiated into Capoeira and many others move up a belt, much like Karate.

Q: How had Capoeira impacted your life?

A: Capoeira has been a part of my life for nearly 30 years. I don't train at this point, but continue to teach occasionally. It still feels like it enriches my life in the way it taught me to "feel the fear but do it anyway," which would come up a lot when playing in a roda. I would have to think quick, be smooth on my feet and get through or out of uncomfortable situations. As I grew older and had to deal with various injuries, I learned the importance of modifying the workout where I needed to keep the integrity of my body intact, which was ultimately more important than being a badass Capoeirista. I still think about Capoeira a lot and know that the spirit of it really dug deep in me.

Q: How can someone learn more or experience Capoeira?

A: If you are curious about Capoeira, look it up online. There are many different styles and each style has its own flair. You can Capoeira in your town to see if there are any classes offered locally. Many times you can watch a class or just try it out. Many classes are mixed level and have a nice community feel.

Capoeria combines many things: dance, martial arts, acrobatics and music, so you get exposed to so many things in one discipline. And you get in great shape to top it off!


Julie Rothman in a field of flowers

Julie Rothman is the founder of Flower Power Teas, tea brewer (Tea Mistress) for the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium and the bulk herb buyer at the Herb Room in Santa Cruz, CA.

Julie is passionate about connecting people with plants in their health choices, in the garden, in the kitchen and in the wild. She loves our earth and strives to have a small impact on the planet in her life and in her business.When she is not playing with plants, Julie can be found fermenting food, baking bread, dancing, bee keeping, swimming, gardening and being with family.

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