BRAUSA Health and Fitness for the Sighted, Blind and Visually Impaired

Rating: 5 stars   10 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 12625 Pacific Ave Apt 8 Los Angeles CA 90066 USA

Mission: BRAUSA is dedicated to promoting health and fitness, providing cultural education, and building community through the preservation and sharing of Braziian arts, culture and sport. Our goal is to make Kapoeira accessible to all, including the blind and visually impaired.
Target demographics: The blind and visually impaired community.
Geographic areas served: Greater Los Angeles, CA (though we hope to expand!)
Programs: We provide free Kapoeira classes for the blind and visually impaired. Due to its multi-faceted nature, Kapoeira provides many benefits to this community. Master Raiul created a curriculum specifically designed to cater to the challenges they face every day. Some benefits include: • Improved balance and increased strength. • Access to both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, which increases power and muscle mass and improves cardiovascular and respiratory systems. • Development of gross motor skills (large body movements such as punches, kicks, acrobatics, and grappling) and fine motor skills (more detail-oriented movement such as playing various Kapoeira instruments – berimbau, tambourine, drums). • Improved self-defense skills • Increased socialization • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence • Having FUN!

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

BRAUSA - a team of compassionate individuals bringing martial arts and Brazilian culture to those of fortunate enough to cross paths with them. I have trained with them on and off for several years and they have enriched my life in a great way. There's something about bouncing around on the mat with with music and likeminded people that fills me with great joy. Mestre Raiul and Co are compassionate about what they do and selfless in their care for all us who have the privilege to be a part of their group.



I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Increased perception of the immediate physical space surrounding people. As you gain experience in the sparring known as the roda you get a feel for the range and capabilities of the other participants. This also applies as you meet people outside of class. You can kind of sense if people have martial arts training or not by their posture and bearing - It's a subtle thing.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I am happy with classes as they are!

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Rating: 5 stars  

BRAUSA brought free weekly Kapoeira classes to visually impaired and blind teens at Braille Institute in Los Angeles during Winter/Spring 2011. This integrative sports program was highly effective as it integrated a multisensory approach to teaching teens physical exercise by means of coupling instrumental music playing with the practice of martial arts to challenge our students physically, mentally and uplifting them emotionally. BRAUSA is a worthwhile organization to support because they bring a successful rehabilitative exercise to the blind and visually impaired population.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I would like to see Kapoeira taught to as many visually impaired and blind youth as possible. Thank you BRAUSA!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

BRAUSA wants to offer FREE classes to visually impaired and blind individuals. May they be sustained financially, so they can continue to do the meaningful work they do. Always working from the heart and serving the people by teaching Kapoeira!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I never knew Kapoeira. The first time I heard about it was at the Braille Institute, when Master Raiul brought the BRAUSA Kapoeira classes there. I am so glad Kapoeira found me. I was so surprised how vigorous the exercise is. Physically I got stronger. And it’s very good for self-defense, especially for visually impaired people. The music makes me feel like I have no limits, that I can go beyond them. I never played musical instruments before, and the pandeiro, berimbau and atabaque are so interesting and fun to play!

All my life I never exercised, until I lost my eyesight. It was a new beginning for me. I’ve never been this healthy before. I don’t feel 66 years old. You forget your age.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Handicapped people need this more, especially the visually impaired because they lose equilibrium. Exercise helps with this. And now it’s my job to exercise. I have fallen a lot, twisted my ankles, stumbled. Now, after doing Kapoeira, I don’t fall anymore. I am much more confident with just moving around, and I walk much faster now. And sometimes I even run with my guide dog on the beach!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

ask BRAUSA to provide transportation for students. Transportation is a big barrier for the visually impaired. Also, they should offer more classes at more locations so more people have access to them.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been doing martial arts for about 15 years now. When I started training with Master Raiul and Tiffany, I had just found out I was pregnant and was going to have a baby. Tiffany and Raiul were very accommodating and awesome to work with. I continued my exercise and training all the way until I was 35 weeks pregnant. I maintained a great health and balance throughout my pregnancy as a result of eating healthy and exercising regularly. Not only that, I was able to drop 38 lbs just 7-8 weeks after I had the baby because I was able go back to BRAUSA and begin (very gradually) training again.

BRAUSA is great for health and development of strength as well as self-defense.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I lost 38 lbs 7 weeks after having my baby.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have more scheduled board meetings if possible.

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Rating: 5 stars  

BRAUSA's Kapoeira classes are fantastic! Master Raiul has amazing patience to teach the visually impaired. I myself am visually impaired, and I know it is not easy to teach something like Kapoeira to those with disabilities. I love Kapoeira because it is a big challenge, and it is stimulating. I was discouraged from doing exercises or sports because of my disability. My doctor recommended that I only walk for exercise, but I am too young to only walk, and it's too boring for me! I wanted something else to do that was more challenging and more interesting. So I was excited when I heard about Kapoeira classes specifically for the visually impaired. For us, we don't have many exercises available to us, nor do we have knowledgeable teachers educating us about health and nutrition. I think BRAUSA is special because they also encourage youth to exercise and learn about fitness, which is especially critical for sedentary-prone blind or visually impaired kids.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

taking the Kapoeira classes. I wasn't sure if I would be able to do Kapoeira because I needed to make sure the pressure in my eyes was okay. After starting classes with Master Raiul, I learned a lot about exercising and eating health, and I have lost 48 pounds! I feel much lighter and stronger. And my eye pressure has been maintained! I am extremely happy to be able to do Kapoeira. I personally feel I have no excuse to be overweight. Even though I am visually impaired, I can still exercise!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase awareness about what Kapoeira is and that there are classes for people like me! I'd like more Kapoeira classes, and I'd like to learn more about the history of what Kapoeira is, where it came from, what it was used for, etc.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Kapoeira classes were being offered at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles.

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

Leading a healthy lifestyle through exercise and diet.

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Rating: 5 stars  

BRAUSA is driven and dedicated to helping the visually impaired community. Where some see a limitation, a handicap, Brausa sees an opportunity to challenge, to overcome; that you can achieve anything, no matter what stands in your way, if you set your mind to it.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen BRAUSA gain momentum through a growing volunteer network and expanding classes.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The challenge of any non-profit is finding volunteers and financial supporters that believe in your cause. Not enough people know about Brausa - we need a way to inform more people and get more support.

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Rating: 5 stars  

BRAUSA is making a difference. I have seen BRAUSA grow from concept to reality. I assisted in teaching BRAUSA's Kapoeira classes to the visually impaired at The Braille Institute of Los Angeles and saw first hand how it improved the lives of the students -- improved posture, balance and strength along with some significant weight loss. Classes were so popular that the Institute added two more classes to their schedule. Raiul Cerquiera has come up with a teaching technique that works for people of all levels, accomplishing what would seem impossible. It is benefiting the visually impaired community with an opportunity to improve their physical and mental health and having fun at the same time. It is a program that deserves to be recognized and shared with institutions around the country...even the world!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

faces of the students during the classes, week after week. I've seen them learn and grow through the classes BRAUSA has offered.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it larger. Classes should be offered at more institutions.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been volunteering with BRAUSA for about six months and believe that this organization provides an important service to the blind and visually impaired community. I have been working in the nonprofit sector for over 10 years and I like that this organization is a mix of cultural, health, arts, and service. Master Raiul has created classes that are specifically geared towards those with disabilities which help to encourage confidence and physical fitness. I have had the opportunity to meet some of the students and am impressed with how excited they are about the classes. I only wish that there were more classes made available in different Los Angeles locations so that different communities could take advantage of them. I hope that more people will take the time to support this organization and even come and experience the classes for themselves!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that i've been able to help promote a healthy lifestyle to individuals who are looking for services that are geared towards their needs. I myself have some physical injuries that have prevented me from exercising in a way that I had in the past and it has taken me time to find the activities that not only make me stronger but that I also enjoy participating in. I believe that BRAUSA takes these concerns into consideration and works with their students individually.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

outreach to a broader group of visually impaired / blind organizations in hopes to ensure that more people will be able to experience what these classes have to offer.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am so grateful to know Master Raiul at BRAUSA and learn Kapoeira from him! He is so passionate about helping the visually impaired and he is providing a wonderful service! I have never met anyone who has really wanted to improve fitness in the blind and visually impaired community! I had an accident at work in 2004 that left me totally blind. I became depressed and I gained a lot of weight. Before the accident I was very active - I played soccer three times a week! And after the accident I tried to find some kind of exercise that I could do without sight to make me feel better. But there was no information about what I could do, and walking and doing push ups were not enough. After six surgeries in each eye some of my sight was restored, but I was still searching for a way to feel better and escape depression. Luckily, Master Raiul was providing free Kapoeira classes at the Braille Institute. I didn't know what Kapoeira was or if I was able to do martial arts, but I decided to check out his class. Kapoeira was an exciting new sport for me, and I felt safe learning from Master Raiul. Now, after doing Kapoeira for 7 months, I feel a lot better. I am stronger and more confident. I invited my family and friends to class, and now my son takes classes with me every week. We love Kapoeira!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Taking the Kapoeira classes has made me stronger and more confident. Now I feel free to take my shirt of at the beach! I have also met new people, made new friends and strengthened old friendships through these classes. I truly believe in BRAUSA's mission to bring fitness to the blind and visually impaired community through Kapoeira, and I hope to volunteer with this organization in the future.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

It would be great if more Kapoeira classes were being offered at different times during the day every day of the week! That way more people could benefit from this amazing service. It would also be helpful if there were specific classes dedicated to educating the community about nutrition. Master Raiul does talk about nutrition sometimes during Kapoeira class, but it would be nice to have a regular class about nutrition offered.

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Rating: 5 stars  

BRAUSA is dedicated to promoting health and fitness, providing cultural education, and building community through the sharing and preservation of Braziilan arts, culture and sport. We specifically outreach to the blind and visually impaired community, a group that is often overlooked when it comes to physical activity and fitness. Through Kapoeira, a martial art developed by Master Raiul that is a combination of traditional Capoeira, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, individuals are able to increase endurance and flexibility, build strength, increase self-confidence, and build community. Master Raiul is a great teacher who is passionate about helping all individuals attain their maximum potential. He educates his students about their bodies, nutrition and fitness in a way that really motivates and empowers them to take charge of their health. After several months of classes at the Braille Institute, visually impaired students have shown their excitement about Kapoeira and exclaim how they feel better, how they have lost weight, how they feel stronger, and how they want to bring their friends to the class. We can see improvement in self-confidence as well as an increased sense of belonging.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have worked with the visually impaired adults, and it is amazing to see how passionate they are about Kapoeira. One student said he has wanted to learn Kapoeira for 20 years, and now that Master Raiul has brought the class to the blind and visually impaired, his dream to do Kapoeira has finally come true. It is incredibly exciting to see the students' improvement and growth in Kapoeira, and I hope we will be able to provide this service to more individuals, both visually impaired and sighted!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would suggest better general organization.

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