What is Capoeira

“Capoeira is everything the mouth eats” says Vicente Ferreira Pastinha, commonly known as Mestre Pastinha, is considered the father of Capoeira. So what is this Capoeira all about?

Capoeira is a unique form of art which is supposed to have originated from Brazil and has a blend of dance, self- defense, music, song and acrobatics. The origin of this art form happened somewhere during the midst of freedom fight of the African slaves. They defended the armed captors not with the weapons but with their bodies which served as a fighting tool which was gradually developed as a series of moves, most of them being fatal. These moves were slowly incorporated with music and songs which disguised their preparations to fight and this aspect of disguise is the one which makes Capoeira distinguished from other martial art forms.

Capoeira has two basic styles which exist even today, with the original Capoeira style on one hand and Capoeira regional on the other hand created by Mestre Bimba. While the former is characterized by sneaky and slow movements which are played close to the ground, the latter is the newer version which is fast paced, combat oriented and characterized by a series of moves used for defense and counter attacks. This athletic style is further modernized today by including high jumps, spinning kicks and acrobatics. The uniqueness of Capoeira lies in its productive energy rather than a destructive one, which aims to encourage the players for togetherness, instead of fighting against each other. The philosophical framework provided by Capoeira to its players helps them in challenging mentally, physically, spiritually and also emotionally.

“Roda” is an important term associated with Capoeira which refers to the circle created by the players, participants or the players in which the game of Capoeira takes place. This circle defines the physical space within which the game is to be played. There are three kinds of berimbaus or instruments kept at the entry point of the roda which are played along with music and song while the player enters the roda to start the game. Music in Capoeira forms an important aspect which helps in setting the tempo and style of the game. A distinctive rhythm called Samba de Roda is performed in the events of Capoeira and this rhythm is produced by the instruments which includes berimbaus, agogo and tambourines. The rhythm starts at a slow pace and reaches a very fast pace and the songs cover real life stories of the capoeiristas. The players wear the traditional uniform of Capoeira which is a white in color with varying colored belts which indicate their ranks and such ranking is done based on their ability, which is again recognized by awards in the festival.

Capoeira is believed to impart an overall perception to a person, which teaches not only the attacks and counter attacks but also to read intent from the body language and forecast the oncoming situations. Today Capoeira flourishes all over the world by its beauty of acrobatics and rhythm of the berimbaus which has taken the game to a different new level including the incorporation of Playstation games of Capoeira.

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