It was 1953 and he [M João Grande] was 20 years old. He saw a capoeira roda, João Pequeno's. The other João had already played for two years in Pastinha's Academy. "João, where is your academy?" "In Candeal Pequeno". "On what days?" "Sunday afternoon, Tuesday and Friday at night". "How much to pay?" 2 thousand réis (he earned 10 a month). Next Sunday he went there to enroll.
Tribuna da Bahia, 1988
[M João Grande:] «I came to Salvador in 1953, when I encountered capoeira. I was 20 years old. So I went down below and saw capoeira.
Later when I came to Bahia 20 years old, I had stayed there for a year and after that went down below and saw a little roda in Roça do Lobo. I went down the hill and asked: "It's capoeira". At the same time a guy did a corta-capim. I thought: Uh-uh, this is what the man told me was the nago negro's dance. Where's can you learn this? He said like this: "There in Brotas, with Mestre Pastinha". And how do I get there? "Talk to João, he will take you there".
The other day I spoke to him. "Wait me here for an hour and I will come and take you there to Brotas". In 1950 there was a tram. He took me to the very end of Brotas, to Candeal Pequeno. He took me to Mestre Pastinha's place. He had a really tiny room. Pastinha was there sitting down. And there was another man sitting. João said: "Pastinha, this guy wants to learn with capoeira from you".
Later João Pequeno trained with me too... Later on [in 1955] we moved to Pelourinho, 19. The classes really started there.
In Brotas there was a place to train... not an academy, it was a small place. It wasn't his place. He lived in Cidade de Palha.
After a year, in 1954, I went to the feast of Bom Jesus dos Navegantes, in Boa Viagem.»
Learn more about M João Grande here