Capoeira

 

Capoeira is a fast and versatile martial art which is historically focused on fighting outnumbered or in technological disadvantage.

 The ginga (literally: rocking back and forth; to swing) is the fundamental movement in capoeira, important both for attack and defense purposes. It has two main objectives. One is to keep the capoeirista in a state of constant motion, preventing him from being a still and easy target. The other, using also fakes and feints, is to mislead, fool, trick the opponent, leaving them open for an attack or a counter-attack.

The attacks in the Capoeira should be done when opportunity arises and must be decisive, like a direct kick in the face or a vital body part, or a strong takedown. Most Capoeira attacks are made with the legs, like direct or swirling kicks, rasteiras (leg sweeps), tesouras or knee strikes. The head strike is a very important counter-attack move. Elbow strikes, punches and other forms of takedowns complete the main list.

The defense is based on the principle of non-resistance, meaning avoid an attack using evasive moves instead of blocking it. Avoids are called esquivas, which depend on the direction of the attack and intention of the defender, and can be done standing or with a hand leaning on the floor. A block should only be made when the esquiva is not possible. This fighting strategy allows quick and unpredictable counter attacks, the ability to focus on more than one adversary and to face empty-handed an armed adversary.

 Capoeira today

Capoeira nowadays is not only a martial art or a small aspect of Brazilian society, but an active exporter of Brazilian culture all over the world. Since the 1970s masters of the art form began to emigrate and teach capoeira in other countries.,. Renowned Capoeira Masters are often invited to teach abroad or even establish their own schools. Capoeira presentations, normally theatrical, acrobatic and with little martiality, are common sights in the whole world.

The martial art aspect is still present and, like old times, is still subtle and disguised, leading many non-practitioners to ignore its presence. Trickery is ever present and expert capoeiristas seldom take their sights off their opponents in a Capoeira game. An attack can be disguised even as a friendly gesture. Such trickery amongst a collection of others are all a form of malicia which is used by both Capoiera Regional andAngola.

 Capoeira Regional

Capoeira Regional began to take form in the 1920 decade, when MestreBimba met his future student, José Cisnando Lima. Both believed that Capoeira was losing its martial side and concluded there was a need to restructure it. Bimba created his sequências de ensino (teaching combinations) and created the first Capoeira’s teaching method. Advised by Cisnando, Bimba decided to call his style Luta Regional Baiana, as Capoeira was still illegal at that time.

The base of Capoeira Regional is the original Capoeira without many of the aspects that were useless in a real fight, with less subterfuge and more objectivity. Training was mainly focused on attack and counter-attack, giving high importance to precision and discipline. Bimba also added a few moves from other martial-arts, notably the batuque, old street fight practiced by his father. Use of jumps or aerial acrobacies was kept to a minimum, since one of its foundations was always keeping at least one hand or foot firmly attached to the ground. Mestre Bimba often said, “‘The floor is a friend to the capoeirista’”.

CapoeiraAngola

Capoeira Angola refers to every capoeira that keeps the traditions held before the creation of the Regional style.

Existing in many parts of Brazilsince colonial times, most notably in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Recife, it’s impossible to tell where and when Capoeira Angola began taking its present form. The name “Angola” starts as early as the beginning of slavery in Brazil, when Africans, taken to Luanda to be shipped to Brazil, were called “black people from Angola” regardless of their nationality. In some places of Brazil people would call capoeira as playing Angola and, according to Mestre Noronha, the Centro de Capoeira Angola Conceição da Praia, created in Bahia, already used the name capoeira Angola illegally in the beginning of the 1920 decade.

 The name Angola was finally immortalized by Mestre Pastinha at February 23, 1941, when he opened the Centro Esportivo de capoeira Angola (CECA). Pastinha was known as a great defender of the traditional Capoeira, much respected by recognized Capoeira masters. Soon many other masters would adopt the name Angola.

Capoeira Angola is the closest style to the way slaves used to fight or play Capoeira. Characterizes by being strategic, with sneaking movements executed standing or near the floor depending on the situation to face, it values the traditions of malícia, malandragem and unpredictability of the original Capoeira.

 

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