WHAT IS CAPOEIRA?
“To say that Capoeira is just another martial art would be incorrect, because Capoeira is much more than just a Martial Art. It is culture, it is history, and it is dance and music. A true visual feast, watching Capoeira can evoke feelings of sheer and exhilaration. It is an experience that must been seen and heard, to be truly appreciated and understood. For those who might ask, ‘what about the martial aspects of Capoeira?’ It is probably one of the most exotic, and unique martial arts in existence!” – taken from the magazine ‘The World of Martial Arts’ – April 1993 issue – featuring a story on Mestre Eclilson de Jesus and Capoeira Aché Brasil by Bruce Fontane.
Capoeira is a Brazilian art form, which combines dance, music, and acrobatics with martial arts. Known as the secret dance of Brazil, capoeira is an astonishing display of acrobatics, breath-taking kicks and self-defense tactics performed to the music of the Berimbau (an ancient stringed bow-like instrument) and drums. But why just tell you about Capoeira? Why don’t we show you what Capoeira is! Below is a video that was filmed by one of our group members promoting our yearly festival and graduation ceremony. It will give you a feel of what our art form is all about and what it means to be apart of our Capoeira family.
STYLES OF CAPOEIRA
Today capoeira has many styles: Capoeira de Angola (in the tradition of Mestre Pastinha), Capoeira Regional (in the tradition of Mestre Bimba) and non-traditional styles such as Benguela and Contemporânea.
All Capoeira styles are played within a ring of people called Roda. This ring is usually formed by other Capoeira players, or just people interested in this martial art, clapping with hands and singing traditional Capoeira songs under the sound of Capoeira music.
Many people think that Capoeira de Angola is an African fighting style or that it resembles some forms of African dance. In any event, the term Capoeira de Angola is not used in to name the country of origin (Angola is a country situated in the southern part of West Africa), but rather to pay homage to the slaves and African descendants living in Brazil. The people of Angola, as those of Brazil, were colonized by the Portuguese. In fact, the term Capoeira de Angola did not precede that of Capoeira Regional, since no distinction was necessary at that time. The game was simply called Capoeira or "Vadiação".That capoeira is today known as Capoeira de Angola. It is an original and traditional game, referred to affectionately by several capoeiristas as mother-capoeira (Capoeira Mãe in Portuguese).Capoeira Regional benefited from the pro-athletic mandate of the governing political party, fitting into the sports oriented perspective prevalent at that time. It was named Capoeira Regional da Bahia by Master Bimba. It was he who first introduced various teaching techniques, established sequences and predetermined movements into the practice of Capoeira. And so capoeira has evolved...For some people, it has improved, for others it has been negatively transformed!
Capoeira instructor, Ajanã Nascimento, believes that it has now arrived exactly where it should be, reflecting our reality and stemming from the world in which we live.
"We must play according to the rules of the game! Only those who want to change will! Today, several capoeira Masters have adopted the principle of teaching capoeira as a totality. The result is a capoeirista without divisions or preconceived notions, one who is able to adapt to different ways of functioning and the varied traditions of each place, in spite of the threat of contradictions resulting from discordant discourses or varied labels. Capoeira is in a constant state of evolution, through the game of each capoeirista, each adapting to the comings and goings of life. Thus, rigidity yields its place to creativity and the natural movement of each capoeirista, without losing the philosophy of the jogo".
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