What is Capoeira?
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines dance, martial arts, music and acrobatics. Africans in Brazil created Capoeira over 400 years ago as a way to defend themselves and maintain their culture in the face of the harsh and oppressive conditions of slavery. Capoeira and Capoeiristas - those who practice the art - have survived tremendous odds to develop their art form while facing discrimination from the upper and middle classes of Brazilian society. Capoeira was illegal to practice up until the early 1930s, when legendary Mestre Bimba founded the first legal Capoeira Academy and created a new, contemporary style of the art, Capoeira Regional. Practiced in a circle called a roda (pronounced ho-dah) and accompanied by live music, Capoeira can be graceful or combative as the situation dictates. Originally considered a lower class pastime, Capoeira is now a living art and profound social force throughout the world.
What should I expect from my first class?
The warm up of a Capoeira class includes body weight exercises as well was dynamic stretching that include Capoeira movements. The next component of class is practicing Capoeira movements and combinations with a partner or by yourself. The last part of class consists of traditional "roda" (circle) to apply skills that are practiced through improvisation that were learned earlier in the class with applied Capoiera songs, and instruments such as Berimbau. Click here to see the Top Ten things you need for your first Capoeira class.
Capoeira is a dynamic martial art, which requires you to use your full range of motion and test your coordination. Capoeira works ones sense of rhythm, as movements range from high and explosive to small, slow, and controlled. From a martial arts perspective, there is no static position; this allows for more freedom of movement. Capoeira’s fluidity makes it so that you are able to throw kicks from any position, but also have the option to escape at anytime. Capoeira works endurance and the ability to connect movements together with greater ease. Reflexes are enhanced and reaction time is improved due to Capoeira’s nature of dodging kicks and being evasive. Dynamic motion and endurance training helps create a lean flexible physic. Capoeira combines music, singing, and acrobatics bridging the martial art with history and polyrythyms.
First and foremost, Capoeira is a game, a game set to music and played by two people. It’s a game with few rules and regulations but rife with convention, etiquette, and tradition. The objectives of the game vary; it can be aggressive and combative, focused on dominance and physical prowess. It can be fluid and flashy, as much an aesthetic performance as a contest. It can be tricky and mischievous, humorous and childish at times. Capoeira is a game of ritualized combat, of attack and escape, of strength and agility, of strategy and instinct.
Capoeira is the breathe in your soul and the food you eat. Capoeira is the ground that keeps you sturdy and the air that makes you fly. It is the seeds that makes you thrive, and the water that makes you flow.
Capoeira is everything.