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  

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  

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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