Senzala Midlands was formed by two Capoeiristas (Capoeira players), Tim El-Sheikh and Christos, under the guidance of Mestre Gato and Professor Carousel (Lloyd Howell), one of the founders of Group Senzala Anglia. Tim and Christos joined this group in 2001.
Before joining the group, Tim and Christos practiced Capoeira for almost two years on their own, with the help of their friend Julio. Julio is an excellent Capoeirista from Brazil who studied in the same university as Tim and Christos, and was the first person who taught them Capoeira from scratch!
After a while, Julio returned to Brazil and it was up to the guys to maintain their Capoeira level and train hard to further improve themselves. They were quite lucky as they have experience in other martial arts, which was an advantage. Between them, they have had training in arts including Aikido, BUDO, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Karate, Kick Boxing, Kuk Sool Won, Tae Kwon Do and Thai Boxing. Capoeira, however, has proven to them to be completely different and a lot more fun as well as challenging as most of the rest, and for this reason they have been captured by Capoeira forever!
But they were even luckier that there was a Capoeira association in the UK, founded by Group Senzala Anglia, who were kind enough to invite them to join the group as students. Their main teacher at the time was Professor Carousel, who at the time was one of the highest graded British Capoeira instructors and a highly experienced martial artist (Over 30 years). Lloyd is hugely respected in the Capoeira community.
They were then introduced to Mestre Gato, one of the founders of Group Senzala in 1963, who admired their dedication and passion for Capoeira, as well as their teaching approach. After extensive training with Mestre Gato directly, Tim and Christos were approved by Mestre Gato to become few of the lead students who would spread the word of Capoeira and Group Senzala and introduce people to this rich Martial Art form. With the help of professor Carousel, Tim and Christos formed a club in the heart Leicester city aiming to teach Capoeira to beginners, as well as train with more experienced Capoeiristas that would join the club, so that they would all learn from each other. Mestre Gato visited the group on the regular basis to train the guys extensively and give their students, as well as other teachers, great sessions where they were taught loads more Capoeira!
In 2006, Contra Mestre Pedro Gatuno (now Mestre Pedro), the most senior Senzala Capoeira Instructor in the UK, became part of Group Senzala Leicester teaching and visiting the group every week and played a huge part in the group’s growth.
Group Senzala Leicester then expanded, created groups in Northampton and Grantham establishing a strong presence in the Midlands and Tim and Christos became well known Capoeiristas in 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 Europe.
To this day Christos (now Professor Christos) continues to share his knowledge in capoeira in Grantham along with the next generation Monitor Myles. Glyn and Andy (students of Tim and Christos’ from the early days) look after the Northampton group, and Neil and Christina look after the Leicester group.