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Capoeira The Dancing Martial Art from Brazil

Capoeira – Brazilian Fighting Style

Learn Capoeira, have you ever thought about learning this Brazilian Martial art?

When most people think of Brazil they probably think of warm beaches, Soccer, Samba, and Capoeira. What is Capoeira?. If that is your reaction to that sentence then you will want to read this article. Even if you have heard of Capoeira but have never heard of its origins and why it is such a loved martial art in countries all over the world, you will also want to read this article. I honestly can not think of a fighting style with better beginnings than Capoeira. Let me tell you how it all began.

The Origins

In Brazil during the 16th century, it was actually a colony of Portugal and the Portuguese controlled Brazil. The Portuguese regularly shipped over vast amounts of slaves from West Africa. Among the many rules, the slaves had to abide by was under no circumstances were they allowed to learn any form of self-defense for fear of an uprising by there Portuguese Captors. The slaves created Capoeira as a way to hide that they were actually learning a fighting style. It looks more like a dance than a fight and it also had other slaves playing musical instruments as well as singing and dancing. This trick worked and the Portuguese thought they were simply doing some kind of tribal ritual. Over time some of the African slaves either escaped or became too old to be of any use. This resulted in the slaves laying their own roots in areas of Brazil. These colonies were known as Quilombos. It is believed that the Quiombos had many battles with there former Portuguese captors and they actually used Capoeira as a way to defend themselves. Throughout the next two centuries, the Quilombos grew vast and so did the amount of them practicing Capoeira. 1888 brought an end to slavery in Brazil but unfortunately, the country was in a severe state of poverty and corruption. This resulted in a lot of the former slaves being made homeless, hungry and desperate. Most of them had no other choice than to resort to crime just so they could feed their families. They used Capoeira during these crimes which did not resonate well with the new Brazilian government and led to Capoeira being made illegal in 1890. The new government took anyone breaking this new law very seriously and there are documented cases of practitioners having their Achilles tendons cut in half and for frequent lawbreakers, even death.

Mestre Bimba

Capoeira would remain banned in Brazil for over 40 years. Of course, this did not deter people from practicing in private. In the late 1920s, a man going by the name of Mestre Bimba was holding secret destinations to showcase Capoeira. Over time, tourists coming to enjoy these shows increased and word spread. This led to the governor of Bahia inviting Bimba to his palace as he wanted to see firsthand what was attracting so many of the tourists to the demonstrations. He was so impressed by what he has seen that he granted Bimba permission to open Brazil’s first ever official Capoeira academy and eventually resulted in Capoeira being made legal again. One thing to understand at this time was Capoeira was always seen as a poor person’s martial arts due to its ties with the African slaves. Bimba looked around the world and observed then copied systems other martial arts like Karate and Judo were doing. He implemented proper clothing, a ranking system with different colored belts among other things. It worked. It was not long before he was training lawyers, doctors, politicians, police officers and even women who had never been allowed to participate before.


Nowadays I do not think people realize how popular Capoeira is worldwide. When I built my site, the plan was to get in touch with everyone in all countries to ask if I could list their academies on my site. You would not believe how long this actually took me. I severely underestimated the task before I started. There are thousands of places teaching Capoeira, you just do not see it much because of it not like UFC with pay per view etc. I do see it appear in the media every now and again though. The movie “Only The Strong” features Capoeira and is well worth a watch. Any movie that has Lateef Crowder in it will be a good bet to see some nice Capoeira. If you like video games, you have probably played as Eddy Gordo in the Tekken franchise who used this fighting style. During the Fifa world cup in Brazil during the summer of 2014, I have seen a lot of footage of kids playing with a few celebrities and having a great time. If you have the time and the opportunity, honestly give it a try. I can guarantee you will not regret it and it will make you much fitter, flexible and even stronger mentally. The last thing I would like to discuss is the question I see the most. ” Is Capoeira effective in a real fight?”. I can understand this reoccurring question popping up as Capoeira does look like people just having fun and playing around. The simple answer is yes. Very effective. I trained Capoeira for a few years and enjoyed it immensely. One day when we were all in the hall, two of the guys were practicing together. One of them did a spin kick and I think he was expecting it not to reach the other guy or maybe he was expecting him to duck. The kick caught him right on the side of his face and completely knocked him out. I got that sick feeling in my gut and I was really worried the guy had been seriously hurt. Thankfully he came round and although slightly groggy, he was ok. I would not like to be hit with a kick like that and I see Capoeiristas performing kicks of similar power all the time. So it is not all just about fancy flips and handstands. If you do learn it then you can rest assured that you will be learning how to fight. You will just look extremely good doing it.

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines many elements such as dance, acrobatics, and music. It was born and developed in Brazil by African descendants in the 16th century.

This wonderful Brazilian Martial Art is quick and has several techniques that require speed, coordination, power, and balance. The back and forth dance is called “ginga”, Capoeira used in genuine self-defense situations incorporates many sweeps and low moves, whereas when played as a game there is more emphasis on high moves, demonstrations of acrobatics, full cartwheels for evasion, and flips or other exotic techniques by mestres, and performing an entertaining match for the audience.

Common Questions We always hear

Is Capoeira the same as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

  • Capoeira is not the same as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, both martial arts were developed in Brazil but have different concepts of practice, Jiu Jitsu works on the floor with movements of fight against joints and Capoeira goes to the rhythm of the music where you see movements of kicks Both martial arts can be complemented a lot because they

How long does it take to learn Capoeira?

What are the rules of capoeira?

  • Capoeira like any other martial art has rules such as respecting the teacher and maintaining discipline during class. Pay attention during the practice, attention with who practices it to avoid injuries or unwanted kicks.

What is the purpose of Capoeira?

  • The purpose of the Capoeira was to prepare physically with fast and lethal movements so that the practitioners could defend themselves. This martial art was hidden behind a dance with music so that it did not present suspicion. Ginga, as the movement is called within the circle is where both practitioners perform attack and defensive movements.

How do you dance Capoeira?

  • Capoeira is performed in a circle. Two practitioners go to the center of the circle and show their movements with speed and great care, when this happens other practitioners sing and play instruments to give energy to those in the center, when they finish they greet or shake hands. And so another couple comes to the center to practice.

What type of music is used for Capoeira?

  • The music used in Capoeira is played with five musical instruments called: pandeiro, berimbau, atabaque, agogo and reco-reco. These instruments create a rhythm that invites you to move and dance.

What do you call someone who does capoeira?

  • The Capoeira practitioner is called capoeirista.

What do you wear to do Capoeira?

  • To practice Capoeira you only need a t-shirt and sports pants so you can move comfortably. As you learn more then you would like to get your own Abada, which is the name of the official pants for Capoeira.

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