Tim is not actively teaching capoeira at the moment due to other commitments but he will always be part of the Senzala Midlands family.
Tim (“Caboco”) started training and studying Capoeira in 1999 and joined Group Senzala in 2001. He co-founded group Senzala Leicester, which was the first Capoeira group in the whole of East Midlands at the time. With the help of his friends and students, Tim dedicated a lot of his time in building the group from the ground up with the other co-founder Christos, making it into a well known group around the UK!
Tim has been actively involved in sports since the age of 5 and has participated in many high-level, as well as high-profile sporting activities. He was involved mainly in martial arts and Basketball to a professional level. He is also very culturally diverse thanks to his personal background and his travels around the world. His passion towards cultural diversity comes from his family’s African, Arabian, and Eastern European background, as well his life in the Middle East, North Africa, Canada and Western Europe. He always knew how to immerse himself into local cultures and traditions and learn more about the societies with whom he has interacted and lived. He strongly believes in multicultural integration which, as he says it, “makes one into a stronger, smarter and a more open-minded individual with a better understanding of how the world works!”
Interests in Sports, Music and Culture
Tim has shown strong passion towards sports from the very early age, particularly towards martial arts as he was crazy about Bruce Lee from the age of 3 (who wasn’t!). During that period (1980) he was sent to a Karate Academy in Abu Dhabi, UAE, which was one of the very first schools in the city back then and was supported by the Japanese Embassy in the UAE, as well as the International Karate Federation. At this school, Tim did not only learn his first ever martial art, but he was also taught the cultural values of Karate, something that is not usually taught in most martial arts schools. So this was not about self-defense, it was about understanding and appreciating the art which makes you into a smarter and a better fighter!
After 8 years of training with this school, Tim decided that he needed to explore other sports and push his boundaries, and it was also the time when him his family left the UAE and moved to North Africa (Egypt). To keep up with his Karate training, he attempted to join various Karate schools in Egypt, but none of these schools had any focus on the cultural side of this art, which was an important aspect for him. So he decided to try other arts, including Judo, Kickboxing and MuaTai, and he also pursued other sports including Football, Vollyball, Waterpolo, Swimming, Athletics, and Basketball. With time, Tim became more and more involved in Basketball until 1991, where he joined the Egyptian National Basketball League for under 16’s representing his local club, El-Maadi. At this stage, he became a full-time Basketball fanatic, and became a prominent team member of his club. A Year later, he also joined his High School’s Basketball team and participated in the local and national High-School Basketball league. Tim made a name for himself as one of the best upcoming young Basketball players in the league, and by the age of 17, he was training with the Pro Basketball team of El-Maadi Club. The key joy for him was his involvement in various Street Basketball events which promoted sport and supported poorer communities and kids in the Egyptian Capital, Cairo. This was the time where he became a big fan of street cultures, especially dance and music, and could see the positive and the creative side of the streets!
Move to the UK
In 1994, Tim decided to move to the United Kingdom to continue with his education and pursue his sports ambitions. Even though Basketball is not a popular sport in the UK, Tim still maintained his Basketball training and received qualification for coaching kids from the British Basketball League. In 1996, He moved to Leicester City and joined his University’s Basketball Team, the DMU Daemons, and also trained regularly with the Leicester Riders Pro Basketball team. Despite all of this, he was still looking for something special! He absolutely loved Basketball and did consider becoming a professional Basketball player, he was even offered an opportunity to officially join the Leicester Riders. But he always believed that something was missing!
The Beginning of Capoeira Life
Although, Tim knew about Capoeira thanks to the film “Only the Strong” and, indeed, he was a big fan of it, he did not really pursue it since there were no Capoeira schools anywhere close to the city and he did not really know much about Capoeira, apart from Hollywood’s perception of Capoeira! So he did not really think of it as a serious martial art, until he saw a live demo in the centre of Leicester with two Capoeira players showing a traditional style of Capoeira called “Angola.”
Obviously, this was very different from the Capoeira that he saw in the film and he was truly mesmerised by this live experience of this amazing art. The key attraction for Tim was Capoeira’s cultural richness, which he had not seen since his early Karate days in the UAE. He decided to look into Capoeira’s history and training styles. Thankfully, there were a number of great books available that he used in order to get some understanding of what Capoeira is all about. This was the point when he decided that he MUST learn Capoeira.
Fortunately for him, Tim was not the only one who really wanted to learn Capoeira. His very good friend, Christos, who is an experienced martial artist, also wanted to learn Capoeira and he had some exposure to Capoeira through a group in the city of Reading during this period. So they both started training the basics of Capoeira. Soon after, they were introduced to a REAL Capoeirista (Capoeira Player) from Brazil, Julio, who studied at the same University. The trio used to meet in parks quite regularly to train Capoeira for hours and, occasionally, a number of people would join them. Tim and Christos practiced Capoeira this way for almost two years. Click herefor more information about the history of Group Senzala Leicester.
By this time, Tim has been completely captured by Capoeira forever!
In 2006, he decided he wanted to train Capoeira on a full-time basis and to fully qualify as a Group Senzala instructor. With his interest in supporting the community and helping out the disadvantaged since his Basketball years, Capoeira has proven to be a great cultural activity that can support a variety of community projects, as well as arts and cultural programmes in schools, colleges and universities. With this decision came a lot of responsibility and he received direct support, training and personal advice from Mestre Gato and Contra-mestre Pedro, who both ran successful projects throughout Brazil, UK and Europe.
After two years of extensive training and hard work, Tim been awarded his first instructor belt in 2008 and became well known within the Capoeira community, performing in various high-profile events, providing workshops in local schools and community centres and participating in various seminars and Batizados (grading events) with other groups throughout the UK and internationally.
His training method involves a variety of creative ideas from his experience in other sports, music and cultures (ie other than Capoeira) which he never put to waste! He also loves sharing ideas with other teachers and with his students (his main inspiration!). Through his newly formed company called CapoLiga, which works very closely with Group Senzala, Tim is now involved in organising and supporting unique curricular activities in a number of local schools which, if proven to be successful, can potentially be introduced in most schools throughout Leicestershire and beyond. So watch this space.