Capoeira Art Form
One of the translations of the word Capoeira found in Michellis Brazilian Portuguese-English dictionary is “wrestling with legs”. Its physical aspects are reflected in other martial arts and various dance styles, especially those created in recent years, but Capoeira isn't just a physical exercise.
- Capoeira - a national sport of Brazil Capoeira nowadays is a national sport of Brazil, however its origin is controversial. There is a dominant trend among historians and anthropologists that Capoeira emerged in Brazil as a result of a process of acculturation occurred among Africans, Indians and Portuguese. Since the eighteenth century subject to state prohibition, Capoeira found shelter in small groups of practitioners in states in the southeast and northeast of Brazil. There were different manifestations of dance-fight. In the 1970s expansion was initiated at the national level and in 1980, international.
- What is Capoeira? Although there are several meanings of the word "capoeira", each referring to objects, animals, people, or situations, in sports terms, it is a game of dexterous body, using legs, arms and head, practiced in pairs, based on attacks, dodges and insinuations to the sound of songs and musical instruments (berimbau, atabaque, pandeiro, ago-go and reco-reco).
- Philosophy behind the movements There are and there are not set movements in Capoeira. Some schools emphasise certain movements, other focus on others. If one wants to progress well, follow their school's style and code of conduct then one has to be patient. It is important to realise that Capoeira gives back what one puts into it. Some people are well coordinated and find physical exercise and learning movements very easy, but some do not. Also there are those who have always exercised and those who have never done any sport before. It is nearly insignificant though how fit or stretched one is and how well one does the movement. 'Well' in this art form is very subjective. What matters is the willingness to learn Capoeira and within the game itself, how the movement is used in a Roda in order to answer a question asked by the other player, or to outwit the opponent and show the superiority of ones knowledge of the art form.
Martial Arts Benefits
Capoeira Fitness, Fight and Dance.
Capoeira is the perfect exercise, combining strength training, flexibility and aerobic exercise. But it is also much more, much richer. Capoeira is ritualistic. It is a dance. It's a fight. It's a game. It is History. Music. Community. Capoeira is a way of life.
For those new to capoeira and curious, we welcome you to join our classes and find out more about capoeira for yourself. We all look forward to seeing you. Axe!
Capoeira can be described as a Brazilian Martial Art form that brings together elements of martial arts, acrobatics, dance and music in a game. But I prefer a description of a famous capoeira master and poet: “Capoeira is a game. It’s to respect fear and to weigh well your courage Capoeira is a smile from a little kid, a flight of a tiny bird and a leap of a coral snake. It’s to feel in your mouth, all the taste of danger, it’s to smile at your enemy and to shake his hand It’s to get up from a sweep before you even touch the ground, Capoeira is a tiny little boat free on the sea waves”
Capoeira is a ritualistic game played in a circle of people, the Roda, where the berimbau (main instrument) leads the capoeira orchestra and sets the pace of the game. The game is based on a unrehearsed combination of attack and defense movements spiced with acrobatic tricks where the aim is get the other either through kicks or sweeps or take downs. The paradox of the game is that although it needs a certain cooperation of both players, it is also a dispute where both players transform their dialog of movements into something unique and new that neither is certain of its outcome every time they play. The game has no winners or losers. Songs tell stories, the chorus and rhythmic claps amplifies the hit from the music that engages all members together creating an amazing energy, the Axé, of the Roda. Capoeira brings us back to our primitive origins long forgotten by our society where every single individual in the circle can equally influence the outcome and each other not with words but actions.
WHAT DO CLASSES INVOLVE?
Capoeira classes consist of the following:
- MOVEMENT / FITNESS – physical training that develops defending and attacking movements that incorporate acrobatics and dance.
- MUSIC – playing percussion instruments and singing Brazilian capoeira songs.
- GAME STRATEGY – understanding the capoeira game and developing mental strategy, intuition and trickery.
- CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING – knowledge and appreciation of capoeira’s history and Afro-Brazilian roots, and an awareness of how capoeira has evolved and exists around the world today.
A Brief HistoryCapoeira has a highly debated history, which is unsurprising as it originated in the shadows and was created by those in the margins of societies.
What is undisputed is that capoeira originated from communities of African slaves and is likely to have roots in Central african warrior dances. Just as Brazil is a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures, capoeira reflects this diversity in its development and was also influenced by native Brazilians in its formation, as well as by Brazil's more contemporary inhabitants.
Capoeira was developed and practised by African slaves as a form of defense from their various oppressors but also as an escape form the horrors of life under slavery. However as such self defence training was forbidden, the dance element of capoeira was added to disguise the defiance of the slaves.
When Brazil finally ended its slave trade in 1888 and former slaves again found themselves at the margins of society, Capoeira shape-shifted to the illegal underbelly. and continued to be illegal. It was only in 1920's that the repression of capoeira declined and went on its way to become one of Brazil's national treasure as it is today.
The MusicMusic is a central of Capoeira. It sets the style and speed of the game that is to be played in the roda, the circle in which the game is played. Musical accompaniment is made instruments and singing.
The instruments used in the bateria (the musical line up) are:
- Angola: Rhythm played slowly for a movement slow and near to floor.
- São Bento Pequeno de Angola: Rhythm which gives variation to music.
- São Bento Grande de Angola: Rhythm which gives acceleration and dynamism to music played.
- Banguela: Rhythm which marks the movement quick higher and lower tones.
- São Bento Grande da Regional: Mark the entrance in high tone rhythm.
- Iuna: Rhythm invented by MESTRE BIMBA.
Other Types of Rhythms
Cavalaría, Santa María, Samba de roda and others.