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Capoeira Martial Arts Section

Capoeira Martial Arts Section


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. Opening of the first Capoeira schools in Brazil
  4. The spread and global recognition of Brazilian Capoeira
  5. Capoeira Martial Arts Section

The capoeira circle, the geometric shape of which represents the movement of energy, is one of the symbolic expressions of the macrocosm. Our movements inside this circle symbolize the challenges we face in life, challenges that we often do not know how to deal with... But the circle is not reality: reality is life. If we win in the circle, we can also win in life!

Mestre Moraes
renowned capoeira master


In the world of capoeira, it is not as well known as, for example, karate. Even the exact name is not clear to everyone: there are "kopoera," "capoeiragem," and "kapu-eyre." In the world press, however, you will not find a single name. So what is capoeira, essentially: a sport, a show, or a martial art? Yes - all of the above, plus a part of Brazilian culture to boot!

Capoeira's Martial Arts Aspect

Practical application of the style in real life is significantly different from the "carnival" emphasis. It is characterized by rougher techniques and an overt power emphasis. Even at world-class competitions today, capoeiristas try to fight more in the carnival style than in the real style. In essence, capoeira of our time can be viewed as a symbolic dance, a carnival show, but nothing more.

The current trend increasingly involves the introduction of carnival techniques into the ranks of individual sports competitions. As for capoeira itself, demonstration elements here are the original feature. The best masters of the technique say that in the past, slave training was very well disguised as dancing to avoid arousing suspicion among the guards. For their part, the latter tried not to notice the "innocent entertainment" of the slaves, assuming that they would not incite a rebellion. By the way, in the past, street fighting and fist fighting were compared to amusement and had something festive at their core. Therefore, the slaves chose a very successful position for the development of their skills.

From the very beginning, the technique was honed to the rhythmic sounds of local instruments. Sense of rhythm is a very important thing in any martial art, and music often helps to develop it.

The essence of the technique

At first glance, capoeira may seem like a very easy and entertaining art that is easy to master. This is the main misconception. Powerful lunges, somersaults, and turns require a lot of endurance and potential. To instantly jump up from a lying position and deliver more accurate strikes, one needs to train and learn for a long time. Deceptive maneuvers in capoeira take up a large portion of the movements. For any serious fighter, "deception" is not a problem, but capoeira was designed for guard dogs and often brought slaves the desired victory or escape.

It can be confidently said that this martial art is built on deceptive maneuvers. In this regard, capoeira is most similar to the Chinese school of "baguaquan", which teaches wushu based on inertial movements.

Important nuances

Since most strikes in capoeira are delivered with the feet, it is important to note that the kicking foot is always the heel, and much less often the shin or the edge of the foot. Strikes are usually smudged and not clear, unlike other martial arts. Punching power is also absent here, everything is based on the opponent's "swings". Unfortunately, this is not the only drawback in the technique. In combat, the hands are almost completely not involved. If in the "carnival" version the hands are needed for support, then in reality it is not always possible to use them in any way.['pagetitle']

There are also point strikes in capoeira that are practically excluded from this martial art. If the strikes are simply "smudged", then the chaos of the technique becomes immediately apparent. If in Eastern martial arts everything is aimed at a victorious battle with the enemy, then the goal of capoeira is rather to confuse the enemy, deliver some delaying blow as quickly as possible, and quickly retreat. It copes with these functions very successfully.

If you can put it this way, capoeira is almost not dangerous for life. By way of comparison, one can take the Chinese martial art of "cai", which also widely uses strikes with a sweep under the opponent. Here, such a strike is much more pronounced and dangerous than in Brazilian technique.

Or when legs are also in the foreground, then taekwondo can give everyone a run for their money with its techniques, and this is a great feature, considering that taekwondo practitioners also work well with their hands. It is very interesting that this martial art also developed in very difficult conditions, where the initial goal was very high jumps, with the aim of knocking riders off horses. Such skills required a lot of practice and strength.

The existing folk culture surrounding capoeira gives another explanation for the emphasis on legs. If the hands of black slaves were practically always tied in reality, then in a figurative sense they were also tied in a hundred percent of cases. We are talking about extremely cruel punishments for those slaves who dared to raise their hand against the "master", so the slaves tried to act "for sure" and take full risks.

In most martial arts schools, techniques performed with hands prevail - this is the main disarming force. Legs are used only when the situation becomes truly threatening, as it was in medieval Scandinavia, Indonesia, and Korea. In Brazilian technique, everything is the opposite, and for this reason capoeira can confidently be called a unique martial art.

vocabulary Somali saying: "if you give a woman a bed of roses she will give you a bed of thorns"

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