Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art. The genesis is somewhat unclear, but it is generally accepted that Capoeira was developed by slaves in Brazil, based on fighting principles brought from Africa. Slaves were not allowed to practice fighting, and therefore, disguised their practice as a dance by making it largely non-contact, interactive and accompanied by singing and music. Capoeira has evolved over the years, but fundamental principles of the importance of freedom, equality, and constructive self-expression have remained. Capoeira is now rapidly gaining worldwide popularity as a positive, interactive form of exercise and expression.
Over the years, Capoeira has developed into two distinct styles, Angola and Regional. There are two Capoeira legends who gave these styles their personal influence, Mestre Pastinha lead the development of Angola and Mestre Bimba lead the development of Regional.
Capoeira is a martial art with its roots in the Afro-Brazilian slave culture. Legend has it that slaves disguised their martial practice from the slave owners by introducing music and singing. Capoeira has developed into a smooth, acrobatic, stylised, and interactive “game” of attack and avoidance. It requires balance, agility, rhythm, and extreme control. Emphasis on freedom of expression and the intrinsic value of each individual continue to be important aspects of capoeira.
For a Capoeira “game” all the Capoeiristas stand in a circle, called a “roda." The main instrument is a large bow, played with a stone, called the “Berimbau." The pace of the lead Berimbau (usually three in a roda) dictates the pace of the game. A large drum (or “atabaque”), a tambourine (“pandeiro”), and bells ("agogo") also keep the rhythm. A lead vocalist sings the verses and all the Capoeristas join in for the chorus. Two players play at a time inside the roda.
Older style. This style is played at a slow pace mostly close to the ground. It is an interactive game full of sneaky tricks ("malicia") and theatrical display by each player, to disguise his/her real intention and to get advantage over his/her opponent.
Modern style. This style is played at a fast pace mostly upright. It is a game of powerful kicks, acrobatics, and takedowns executed in high speed. In this style, the player with most athletic prowess have an advantage over their opponent.