Contemporary capoeira is a fast-paced and fluid martial art that combines the raw excitement of music, dancing, fighting and gravity defying acrobatics.
The art of capoeira was was created by African slaves in Brazil over 400 years ago.
Slaves used capoeira to resist the oppression of their captors, and to practice and perfect their fighting skills and culture. Music and dancing were incorporated into the martial art to conceal its danger, allowing the slaves to play unhindered.
Capoeira continues to play an important role in shaping Brazilian culture.
How is capoeira played?
The game of capoeira is played inside of a roda (circle) between two capoeiristas (capoeira players). Capoeira focuses on creating a conversation between two players rather than inflicting attacks.
Each move is responded to by a defensive move, an offensive move, or a combination of both. This is what gives capoeira its dance-like quality.
The tempo of the roda is set by the unique musical combination of drums, tambourines, singing, and most importantly — a one-stringed instrument known as the berimbau.
Similar to the way a sensei leads a dojo, a mestre leads a school of Capoeira. Mestres practice for many years, perfecting their art through learning and teaching. There are several levels in Capoeira, beginning with professors, then moving to contra mestres, before finally reaching the level of mestre.
Every year "Batizados" are held, where Capoeiristas from all around converge on a three day celebration. Literally meaning "baptism", Batizados serve the purpose of bringing the Capoeira community together for fellowship, learning and recognition. New Capoeiristas earn their cordas (belt), and a Capoeira nickname if they haven't already earned one.