Capoeira is a martial art form that combines elements of dance and music and was developed in Brazil mainly by descendants of African slaves during the 16th century. Capoeira is known by quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for leg sweeps. The word “Capoeira” comes from native Brazilian language, referring to the areas of low vegetation in Brazil and the practitioners of Capoeira are called “Capoerista”
Capoeira combines the action of fight, the fluidity and expressiveness of dance, the soul-calling power of music, the wit and playfulness of clever games, and the showmanship of acrobatics into one beautiful art form. While most other martial artists “spar or fight”, the capoeiristas “play” and this is done inside a circle of other capoeiristas called “roda”. Players often try to trick and outwit each other, looking for ways to trip the other person up while avoiding having the same happen to them. The capoeira game is also considered a dialogue between two players, with their actions and reactions together forming anything from a pleasant conversation to a heated argument, to rounds of teasing and bantering, to a lesson being given and received.
Music plays a fundamental role in Capoeira, and largely makes the martial art what it is. At the head of every roda there are the instrument players called “bateria” with the rest of the roda clapping and singing along. Songs are sung in Portuguese, often follow a call-and-response style, and subject matter includes things such as legendary capoeiristas, Capoeira proverbs, or commentary on the game being played.
The musical instruments itself consists of the tree essentials instruments: Berimbau, Atabaque and Pandeiro. The rhythm of the music it’s unique and controls what players do, when they do it, and how they do it. There are different rhythms and melodies, all reserved for specific situations, whether it is setting the pace of the game, indicating the presence of graduated students, or announcing the arrival of potential danger.
There are two major styles of capoeira: “Regional” and “Angola”. Capoeira Regional was developed by Mestre (Master) Bimba, and is considered to be faster paced, flashier, and more similar to other martial arts. Capoeira Angola, championed by Bimba’s contemporary Mestre Pastinha, maintains the reputation of being the “true” traditional form of Capoeira, which includes extremely slow as well as extremely quick movements, fewer acrobatics, and much closer games. A growing number of schools today practice what is called Capoeira “Contemporânea”, which combines the two styles, or focuses on one while dabbling in the other.
Mestre Preguica teaches the art at Lima Taekwondo Academy. He is involved in Capoeira for over 50 years and was a direct student of the legendary Mestre Bimba in Bahia, Brazil. Mestre Preguica defines Capoeira as the Art of Survival!!