One of the most complex and interesting styles that exist among all the branches of martial arts is capoeira , even considered as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO . A discipline that can be for sports , for acrobatics or for fighting .


What is capoeira?

The capoeira is an art Afro – Brazilian based on a series of movements , singing , dance , fight and rituals which include turn important aspects of philosophy , a religion and politics.


What does it consist of

The capoeira is a type of martial art consisting of a group of movements , dances , acrobatics and techniques related to the martial arts that can be used as a means of defense. It consists of an exchange that takes place between two people within a circle in which they are put to the test. It is not seen as a type of fighting per se, but rather as a fighting game where the most important thing is not actually being strong but rather being skilled and intelligent.


Capoeira has two main streams, Angola and Regional capoeira, the latter having merged over time with a series of influences that include wrestling, jiu-jitsu and wushu.

Capoeira characteristics

Some of the most important characteristics of capoeira are the following:

  • It is seen as a type of Brazilian demonstration .
  • When practiced, some types of instruments are played such as the tambourine , atabaque, and berimbau.
  • It is a low type of game so the movements must rest on the ground and the attacks are also low.
  • It uses a series of movements and body gestures typical of Brazilian cultures.
  • It includes a number of kicks and jumps so flexibility is part of it.
  • The fights are always done in a round which is made up of the participants and the musicians. In the middle of the round the capoeristas fight .
  • It is the second most practiced sport in all of Brazil just after soccer .
  • All the muscles of the body are used in its movements .

What is it for

In addition to being a type of fight , capoeira is a very complete type of martial art that gives many benefits to the human body as it is a group of aerobics , dance and physical exercise . It is able to help the body reduce blood pressure , improves the respiratory system and cardiovascular function . It is a good exercise to strengthen and define muscles , improve movement and even reduce stress and tension .

History of capoeira

The history of capoeira begins a little more than 500 years ago in Brazil , when, when it became a great commercial company , slaves were brought in from Africa . They came from different places and their cultures were also different as well as their languages ​​and that was how a great fusion between them took place. In that time of slavery , they tried to maintain their traditions as a form of entertainment and in them was dance and song.

Some time later, the slaves began to plan escapes and with each escape attempt, they perfected the games of physical agility in order to be able to face their opponents without using weapons. After several battles, the Africans reached a place called Palmares where the first community of free blacks in the country was born. Little by little the Indians were also included, who also contributed dances , rituals , customs and traditions .

The result of all this enormous fusion gave rise to capoeira and for this reason it is said that the dance has its Afro-Brazilian origins . All the populations then began to practice fighting with their hands and with the passage of time it became one of the main means of defense, becoming a symbol of freedom . With the passage of the type, the war ended and slavery was abolished , the blacks moved to the cities and settled, giving rise to the favelas .

Once in the city, they used capoeira in different ways, they put on shows in the open air for tourists, some used it for bad purposes and others were even hired by politicians as bodyguards . By 1890 , capoeira was practiced by many people and spread throughout the rest of the world until today it is practiced by thousands of people worldwide.


The main fundamentals of capoeira are mentioned below:

  • Ijexá rhythm presided over by the berimbau.
  • Ritual movements that in addition to having rhythm are dependent.
  • Discipline and respect for tradition, the oldest capoeristas and colleagues.
  • Camaraderie among the participants.
  • Movements in dodge , in a circular and descending way .
  • Concealment of intention.
  • Alertness , calm , relaxation and self-confidence should always be present.
  • State of consciousness modified what is known by the name of transe capoeirano.


Capoeira has two main styles and some more are derived from them. These are as follows:

  • Capoeira Angola : this style is considered the mother of capoeira . It is characterized mainly because it is related to martial arts , its movements are more furtive and the participant plays more closely. His uniform so usually is black and yellow , white when it is ceremonial.
  • Regional Capoeira : this type comes from Angola and is also known as Batuque . It is a more violent fight whose main objective is to be able to knock the opponent to the ground using mainly the legs. Their movements are faster and the uniform is of a bank color with a different colored cord depending on the grade.
  • Contemporary Capoeira : there is the practice of several styles of capoeira at the same time mixing the features of the Angola and the Regional.

Capoeira techniques

There is a great variety of techniques that can be used in capoeira.

According to movement

  • Ginga : a fundamental footwork in a triangular shape similar to a rhythmic dance in preparation for the body in front of the movement.
  • Cadeira : a low squat while one arm protects the face and the other the torso.
  •  : refers to a side- type lap , it is a basic form and is done slowly. It can be opened , shaken , dated , face-on , sem mao twist .
  • Balanço : a type of swinging from one side to the other with the aim of deceiving the opponent.
  • Bananeira : a type of handstand that is placed separately at shoulder height and the legs are placed together over the head.
  • Macaque : the body is squatted and one hand is placed on the floor while the other is on the body while jumping with both legs to launch the hips over the head.
  • Negative : it is used to deny an attack , the leg is placed closer to the ground and the weight of the body is supported with the hand.
  • Rins remains : it is used to be able to dodge the enemy and the torso is supported with the inner part of the elbow.

Defensive moves

  • Cocorinha : a defense movement with the feet on the ground and then squatting with the knees touching the chest.
  • Dodge : head and torso movement to avoid the attack. It can be of the lateral, diagonal, low type.
  • It remains of four : it involves falling backwards simulating the walking of a crab.
  • It is three: falls on the wrists and on one leg .


  • Armada – A type of reverse spinning kick . It can be polished, double or with Martelo type.
  • Bênção : a type of front thrust kick that is done directly toward the abdominal area or chest. It is done with the sole of the foot.
  • Chapa : they are several kicks in a straight way to hit with the silver or with the heel. It can be plate of coast, plate of brake, Floor, plate Baixa, swivel.
  • Scorpion: A kick is performed that is quite similar to the scorpion kick used in martial arts. Kick back overhead to hit opponent with sole or heel.
  • Hook: is a kick of hook type , a bit misleading and the knee and thigh rise to cross diagonally pushing the body outward movement hook. It can be of the swivel hook type.
  • Martelo: It is a blow that is given with the instep against the opponent. They can be made martelo em pé, bye, negative, rotated

Hand and arm strikes

  • Asphyxiating : A hit so directly with your hands.
  • Cutelo : a knife attack with the hand, is a blow that is given to the face, the base of the neck or the temple.
  • Cotovelada : a blow with the elbow from the outside to the inside.
  • Dedeira : This is a direct attack on the eyes and is rarely used due to the damage it can cause.
  • Galloping – A type of punch to the side of the face or to the ear with an open hand.
  • Godeme : it is a blow with the backhand on the face , here the hand can also become a fist.
  • Telephone : this type of attack is made with both hands to hit the opponent’s ears .


  • Arpão de Cabeça : the head is hit all over the capoerista’s body.
  • Cabeçada : offensive movement in which the attacker pushes the opponent using the forehead or head.
  • Scorumel : when the head passes under the attack and then rises to hit the opponent’s chin .

Takedowns (considered aggressive moves)

  • Açoite-de-Braço : it is very strange to see and it is a self – defense technique in which if an attack approaches from behind, the capoerista crouches while lifting the opponent’s leg.
  • Dragging : the opponent is taken by the back of the knees and is pulled and lifted, pushing him with the shoulder and then throwing him to the ground .
  • Balão de Lado : the capoerista takes the opponent’s head with an enveloping movement, lifting it and rotating its body to throw it to the ground.
  • Band : it is a type of sweeping kick to pull an opponent’s skin so that he loses his balance and falls.


To be able to practice capoeira you will need pants which are made of lycra for better comfort and flexibility. In addition, you need a shirt which can be with sleeves or sleeveless depending on the comfort that the capoerista prefers. If the capoerista is professional, he must also place his respective cord depending on the level .


Some phrases related to capoeira are:

  • The capoerista is not the one who knows how to move his body, he is the one who allows himself to be moved by the soul .
  • capoerista is an actor : he cries, laughs, improvises, when he enjoys it he pretends not to, that’s an actor.
  • Capoeira is for everyone , but not everyone is for capoeira .
  • Capoeira is complete , because you have to sing, play, dance, fight, study the historical context, teach and smile humbly.

Representatives of capoeira

Some recognized representatives of this type of martial art are the following:

  • Mestre Bimba , creator of regional capoeira
  • Pastinha ( Vicente Joaquim Ferreira ) who organized a school, established a teaching method based on ancient traditions and also wrote the first capoeira book.
  • “Mestre João Grande” ( João Oliveira dos Santos ) an important disciple of Pastinha.

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