Capoeira is a synthesis of dance and self-defense which originated in Brazil. Legend has it that it was created by African slaves in Brazil approximately 400 years ago as a response to being enslaved. Experts describe it as a blend of martial arts, acrobatics, dance elements, music, song, language, tradition, and culture.
Why should I be aware of this?
Capoeira represents a spiritual response to being oppressed, and combines an eclectic mixture of elements. Hence, it is quite different from other martial arts. Even though it is set to music and the emphasis is on play, it contains sparring elements, so its practitioners have to develop mental balance, physical conditioning, self defense skills, and a profound sense of art, all at once.
Capoeira and health
Capoeira is an intense full body cardio-vascular workout, and has gained tremendous popularity across the world as a fun and exhausting fitness routine.
Capoeira can be performed by people of different fitness levels. However, anyone who wants to learn Capoeira has to be prepared for some fitness challenges, for it involves acrobatic moves as well as punches and kicks. Beginners have to be careful if they have weak knees or wrists, warm up before a Capoeira session, wear adequate support and loose exercise gear – tracksuit bottoms, tee-shirts, and trainers.
All about Capoeira
Experts in Capoeira refer to bouts or fights as 'games'-- or jogo-- that hinge on rhythmic music. The music determines how the dancers or players (Capoeiristas) move; different rhythms call for a different speed and a different response. The music and singing (some in the group do sing) is traditionally in Brazilian Portuguese. Players stand in a circle (pe de roda) with the musicians at the foot of it. Each player then enters the circle with a cartwheel, and then goes on to move in a series of poetic, naturally flowing rhythms.
Some of the basic moves in Capoeira are --
Ginga: the most basic movement of Capoeira. Instead of taking a fixed stance, keep moving all the time; all the other moves derive from this dance-like pattern
Handstand : a stylish stance that is part of many defensive/offensive movements
Queda de Rins or "stand on the kidneys": Begin as for headstand; crouch. Turn both knees that they face your right elbow. Shift weight over left hand, then lower head. Place the area above left hip on left elbow and let the left side of head touch the ground. Slowly raise legs and put right knee at right elbow to a rest. Both legs are now drawn up.
Au: the cartwheel. Immensely important move in Capoeira, used for a quick retreat or to trap one’s partner.
Au Malandro: grab the ground with one hand and jump. Now twist chest slightly upwards and do the jackknife movement with the upper leg (starters might find it easier to keep the other leg bent). Now go down forwards or sideways.
Cocorinha: A way of avoiding circular kicks at a close distance. Duck below the kick and lift arm on the side the kick comes from, to protect head.
Negativa:Bend one leg and balance body weight on it. Stretch the other leg, with the toes pointing to the side.
Bênção: A straight kick that still requires some skill. Pull up one knee and hunch torso as if trying to grab partner. Slowly stretch lifted knee and drag virtual opponent behind.
Martelo Rotado: A commonly used jump kick. Face away from partner and twist upper body to get partner back into view. Use the tension created by this pose in powerful kick.
Cruz: The Cross is an elegant way to simultaneously evade an incoming kick and throw the partner. Instead of pushing the kicking leg away, bend down and slide under it. Spread arms so partner’s leg cannot escape to the side, trap it on your back.
- The original Capoeiristas, African slaves in Brazil, developed this martial art to defend themselves using just their own bodies. They disguised their warrior skills with dance and music. But Capoeira proved so effective for them that in 1890, the martial art was outlawed in Brazil. It remained that way until 1928.
- Traditionally, Capoeira was a males-only activity. In the last few decades, it has become a powerful symbol of feminism and equality in Brazil and other countries where it is practiced.
- Capoeira is a martial art that is set to music and disguised to look like a dance or acrobatic game.
- Dance Movement Therapy
- Street Dance
- Exotic dance
- Pole Dancing
- Cathartic Dancing Meditation
- Belly Dancing
- Expressive Therapy
- So what is Capoeira?
- The Little Book of Capoeira Nestor Capoeira's (North Atlantic Books, 2003)
- See a glossary of terms related to Capoeira
- See , videos of Capoeira in progress
- To find out about , try Capoeira classes and group
- Worldwide Capoeira Connection
- International Capoeira Festival
- 13th International Capoeira Festival - Week 2