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vocabulary Unknown: "Memories, a luxury that only honest people can afford."
The first capoeira schools

The first capoeira schools


This material is part of a series dedicated to the unique Brazilian martial art:

  1. Resistance of the "Palm State" against Portuguese colonists, the history of Capoeira's emergence in the 17th century
  2. Bananeira and other peculiarities of Capoeira techniques
  3. The first capoeira schools
  4. The spread and global recognition of Brazilian Capoeira
  5. Capoeira Martial Arts Section

In 1932, in the northern part of Brazil, in the city of Salvador, the first official capoeira school opened. Its main teacher was Master Bimba. One of the two modern capoeira styles was named after this first center - the "regional style". Master Bimba directly inherited the traditions of capoeira from the northwestern part of Brazil. Although the world imitates Master Bimba's technique, no division into "northern" and "southern" versions occurred. At least, no significant differences have been noted. Nowadays, capoeira masters of each style can teach in various corners of countries, and they all have enough students.

When creating the first schools, capoeira completely abandoned its "bloody" past. Sportsmanship and technicality took center stage. Now, capoeira is practically non-traumatic. There is no arrogance here, quite the contrary - capoeiristas insist that their training system may be inferior to karate.

Aside from the sports aspect, there are many followers of the combat side today. Here, fighters study several separate types of attacks. The most common ones are:

  1. Practicing defense of a fallen person against a standing opponent;
  2. Defense against an armed attacker;
  3. Bound versus free.

In the latter case, capoeira can indeed surpass any martial art! Who, if not subjugated slaves with constantly bound hands, could come up with the best ways of liberation?!

There are limitations in the technique as well. For example, due to the extreme strain on the entire body, capoeira immediately determines the age of the fighters. Only the strongest and most robust can withstand the exhausting pace of combat, where sharp jumps, flips, and somersaults are fully involved. It so happened that women were initially not allowed to practice capoeira at all, although such a strict prohibition does not exist today. Nowadays, women mainly prefer the "carnival" type of technique, and over the last decade, they have become active participants in competitions. The role of women in capoeira today is more of an entertainment nature rather than a genuinely combative one, as it is quite traumatic. 

capoeira musiciansIn the first decades of its development, capoeira imposed strict racial restrictions. "No whites" and this was understandable since the technique was directed against them. In the modern world, the ban has been lifted, but even now, dark-skinned athletes dominate. Racial roots and a higher endurance potential play a role. To date, there has not been a single absolute champion with white skin in capoeira. However, behind the scenes of official competitions, there were "white" winners. If we don't consider the fact that they were masters of Eastern martial arts who agreed to participate under the rules of capoeira tournaments. 

In 1954, the famous athlete D. Gilby won his first victory over Brazilian A. Dias. It is essential to note that Gilby was a great master who specialized in several martial arts at once. He achieved significant heights in judo and wushu. However, he won the victory over Dias thanks to the secrets of karate, which was more optimal for defense against the "leg" attacks of capoeira. Interestingly, the European had only a third dan in karate out of ten possible at the time. (In reality, karate masters are awarded only nine dans, as the owner of the tenth becomes Buddha, according to beliefs, and very few masters in history dared to assign themselves this rank). As a rule, a good master of Eastern martial arts is equal in strength to a good master from Brazil, and this fact cannot be diminished.

Since capoeira only recently gained worldwide recognition and reached a global sports level, it is still quite challenging to make a clear distinction between street fighters and athletes. It is essential to understand that the latter, who studied capoeira exclusively in specialized schools and knows more about the "carnival" technique, takes many risks when facing a street fighter. The true level of capoeira mastery can still only be measured by the fighters of the "street" combat.

vocabulary Unknown: "Memories, a luxury that only honest people can afford."

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