Minggu, 08 Juni 2008

The History of Capoeira

Capoeira or the Dance of War by Johann Moritz Rugendas, 1825, published 1835

(IPA: [ka.pu.ˈej.ɾɐ],Tupi-Guarani word for - clear area) is a blend of martial art, game, and dance originated in Brazil, from the regions known as Bahia, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and São Paulo. The art-form started up in Brazil during the 16th Century, an obvious result of the slave trading that took place in conjunction with the previously slaved native Indians. Capoeira was created and developed by both the native slave Indians in Brazil and slaves brought from Africa. Participants form a roda (circle) and take turns playing instruments, singing, and sparring in pairs in the center of the circle. The game is marked by fluid acrobatic play, feints, and extensive use of groundwork, as well as sweeps, kicks, and headbutts. Less frequently-used techniques include elbow-strikes, slaps, punches, and body-throws.

Capoeira originated in the country of Brazil. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, slaves were brought from Africa by the Portuguese explorers to work on the Brazilian's sugar cane plantations. The main ethnic group of slaves brought to Brasil were the "bantos" - from Angola, Gulf of Guinea and Congo; "sudaneses" - from the Gulf of Guinea and Sudan; and "maleses" - from Angola and Costa da Mina.

"Negroes fighting, Brazil" c. 1824. Painting by Augustus Earle depicting an illegal capoeira-like game in Rio de Janeiro

However, the origin of the Brazilian martial arts-dance form known as Capoeira is the subject of heated debate. There are those who adhere to the belief that Capoeira originated in Africa and was transported along with the slaves when they were brought to Brazil. Many provided evidence of a ritual fight/dance called N'golo from Southern Angola as proof that it did exist in martial form before it reached Brazil.

Another combat dance is Danymé (also called Ladja), from the Caribbean island of Martinique. As in the Brazilian form, there is a ring of spectators, and each contestant enters the circle, moving in a counterclockwise direction and dancing toward the drummers. This move, called Kouwi Lawon, or "Circular Run" in creole, is an exact parallel to the capoeira interlude called dá volta ao mundo, or "take a turn around the world." Once the Danmyé begins, the contestants' movements are mirrored in the music. Some superb examples of danmyé drumming were recorded by Alan Lomax in the early 1960s.

In Cuba, with its wealth of Kongo-inspiried music and dance, there was a mock-combat dance called Mani. It was performed to the sound of yuka drums, the precursors of modern conga drums and rumba. A dancer (manisero) would stand in the middle of a ring of spectator-participants, and moving to the sound of the songs and drums, would attempt to knock down someone in the circle. Some of the manisero's moves and kicks were comparable to those of Brazilian capoeira, including its basic leg-sweep (rasteira), which also occurs in samba duro, a dance found in Salvador. Exactly as in Martinique, the Cuban master drummer's patterns would mirror the contestants' actions, and supply accents to accompany certain blows. Some of these forms are known only to a handful of ethnographers and none has taken root the way capoeira has in Brazil.

In addition to the ring form and basic movement patterns, what makes all these genres African-based is that the mock-combat is coordinated with a percussive musical accompaniment. Many African dances are war dances and some say Capoeira can be referred to as a war dance too. Slaves in Brazil definitely added to the martial qualities of the game for Capoeira to become a weapon but the dance qualities were never disregarded or lost. Dancing is a tribute to the joy of life. It was also used as a disguise when officials came upon capoeiristas practicing their art.

One theory is that capoeira originated amongst the Afro-Brazilians in the "Senzalas", the living quarters for the slaves on Brazilian plantations. Others believe that capoeira was practiced and used to fend off attacks by Portuguese slavers in Palmares, Brazil's most infamous Quilombo maroon colony of escaped slaves. There is no historical evidence to support any of these claims; many written documents regarding slavery in Brasil were burned when the first government of the new Republic was established. There is, however, evidence and agreement that Capoeira is aesthetically and philosophically an Afro-Brazilian art form.

The most acceptable claim is that slaves developed the art based on traditional African dances and rituals in the work free hours left to them, thus training both mind and body for combat situations. As the slave-masters forbade any kind of martial art, it was cloaked in the guise of an innocent-looking recreational dance. In the 16th century, escaped-slaves founded a number of "Quilombos" , in which the art of Capoeira was further perfected. Many escaped-slaves, before they could reach the Quilombos, were captured by the Capitães-do-mato that ironically were sometimes African decedents or mulatos themselves. The "Capitães-do-mato" were hired by the Portuguese slavers and usually worked on their own. The inhabitants of Palmares, the largest of the Quilombos, lasted 65 years. The "Quilombo dos Palmares" was located in what is today's state of Alagoas, northeast Brazil. Its population was composed not only of escaped African slaves but also of native Brazilian Indians and other mixed races(Mestiços). It had an organized government system similar to an African Kingdom with a King and his Assembly. The best warriors on battles were chosen King; "Zumbi" was the most known King of all. The "Quilombo dos Palmares" fought for many years and was finally destroyed in 1694 by Domingos Jorge Velho and his troops. "Zumbi" managed to escape and many believed that he was immortal. Wanted by the authorities, he was captured on November 20th, 1695. He was killed and beheaded on the spot. His head was brought to a public Plaza at the "vila do Recife". "Zumbi" was considered a national hero and warrior, a symbol of liberty ; his name became a Capoeira legend. Capoeira was used not only in direct combat, it also inspired the battle strategy itself; feigning retreat, thus luring the over-confident enemy into remote territories only to strike back at an unsuspecting place and time.

During the "Paraguai War" (1864 to 1870), many capoeiristas were sent to battle in the front line. The official prohibition of Capoeira remained even after slavery was abolished in May 13th, 1888. In 1890, Brazilian president "Marechal Deodoro da Fonseca" signed an act that prohibited the practice of capoeira nationwide, with severe punishment for those caught. It was nevertheless practiced by the poorer population on public holidays, during work-free hours and similar occasions. Riots, caused also by police interference, were common. Persecution and punishment were almost successful in eradicating Capoeira from the "streets" of Brasil by the 1920s. In spite of the ban, Master Bimba (Manuel dos Reis Machado) created a new style, the "Capoeira Regional" (as opposed to the traditional "Capoeira Angola" of Mestre Pastinha). He incorporated new moves and techniques from "Batuque", a martial art that he learned from his father (the unified champion); The "Capoeira Regional" or "Luta Regional Baiana" was than a more effective and efficient style of capoeira. Mestre Bimba was finally successful in convincing the authorities of the cultural value of Capoeira, thus ending the official ban in the 1930s. Mestre Bimba founded the first Capoeira school in 1932, the "Academia-escola de Capoeira Regional", at the Engenho de Brotas in Salvador-Bahia. He was than considered "the father of modern capoeira". In 1937, he earned the state board of education certificate. In 1942, Mestre Bimba opened his second school at the "Terreiro de Jesus - rua das Laranjeiras"; today rua Francisco Muniz Barreto, #1. The school is open until today and supervised by his ex student, "Vermelho-27". He also taught capoeira to the army and at the police academy. Mestre Bimba was born on November 23rd, 1900, at the "bairro do Engenho Velho" in Salvador-BA. The son of Luiz Cândido Machado and Maria Martinha do Bonfim, Mestre Bimba started capoeira at the age of 12. He was taught by "Bentinho", an African that used to be the "capitão da Companhia Baiana de Navegação". Master Bimba was a coal man, carpenter, warehouse man, longshoreman, horse coach conductor, but mainly capoeirista; a giant with strong personality! He died on February 15th, 1974 at the "Hospital das Clínicas de Goiânia", due to a stroke. Capoeira progressed from an illegal art to become a national sport in Brasil. It is also growing its popularity worldwide. There have been comparisons drawn between the Afro-North American art form of the blues and Capoeira. Both were practiced and developed by Afro-American slaves, both retained distinctive African aesthetics and cultural qualities; both were shunned and looked-down upon by the larger Brazilian and North American societies within which they developed, and both fostered a deep sense of Afrocentric pride especially amongst poorer and darker skinned Blacks.In the mid-1970s, when masters of the art form - mestre capoeiristas, began to emigrate and teach Capoeira in the United States, it was still primarily practiced amongst the poorest and Blackest of Brazilians. With its emigration to the U.S., however, much of the stigma with which it was historically associated in Brazil was shed. Today there are many capoeira schools all over the world (Capoeira is gaining ground in Japan) and throughout the United States, and with its growing popularity in the U.S. it has attracted a broad spectrum of multicultural, multiracial students. In New York City particularly, Capoeira schools have attracted a representative array of students from White, Asian, Caribbean, Hispanic and Black North American segments of New York's diverse population. While the present demographics of Capoeira students in New York has developed into a multicultural, multiracial base, the demographics of masters has largely remained Brazilian and the philosophy of capoeira has retained its Afrocentric focus.

The derivation of the word "capoeira" is under dispute, as there are several possibilities:
The Portuguese word "capoeira" is derived from the word capão, which translates to capon, a castrated rooster. The sport's name may originate from this word since its moves resemble those of a rooster in a fight. Others believe that this fighting style was meant to mimic that of two zebras kick fighting.

A capoeira "fight" is one that implies that the purpose is a pretend cockfight, whereby men participate to show off their skills rather than fighting to actually kill or harm an opponent. Though this gymnastic, almost dance-like, display can appear to be a fight, participants are expected to restrain themselves from inflicting grievous harm upon one another. Hence, all participants are reminded by the word capoeira, that the intent of the "fight" should remain one with the restraint of the show-off, yet castrated, rooster called capão. These showy cock-like fights are mock fights of skill between performing capão in the mock cockfight pen known as the capoceira. Capoeira is an extreme display of a cockfight-like competition of oneupmanship between show-off cocky "roosters", absent deadly intent.

"Capoeira" has several meanings, including any kind of pen where poultry is kept, a fowl similar to a partridge, and a basket worn on the head by soldiers defending a stronghold. "Capoeira" is also what people used to call a black inlander who mugged travelers.
Afro-Brazilian scholar Carlos Eugenio has suggested that the sport took its name from a large round basket called a capa commonly worn on the head by urban slaves selling wares.

The word could derive from two Tupi-Guarani words, kaá (leaf, plant) and puéra (past aspect marker), which literally means "formerly a forest", referring to an area of forest that had been cleared by burning or cutting down. In such places a thick, low secondary vegetation would grow, making it a good place for those who escaped slavery and bandits to hide. According to this etymology, the term was first used as a synonym of "outlaw", especially the type of outlaws that would evade justice by escaping to the jungles, to be only later applied to the fighting art most of them knew.
Kongo scholar K. Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau has posited that "capoeira" could be derived from the Kikongo word kipura, a term used to describe a rooster's movements in a fight and meaning to flutter, flit from place to place, struggle, fight, or flog.

Main article: Capoeira music
Music is integral to capoeira. It sets the tempo and style of game that is to be played within the roda. The music is composed of instruments and song. The tempos differ from very slow (Angola) to very fast (são bento regional). Many of the songs are sung in a call and response format while others are in the form of a narrative. Capoeiristas sing about a wide variety of subjects. Some songs are about history or stories of famous capoeiristas. Other songs attempt to inspire players to play better. Some songs are about what is going on within the roda. Sometimes the songs are about life, or love lost. Others are lighthearted or even silly things, sung just for fun. Capoeiristas change their playing style significantly as the songs or rhythm from the berimbau commands. In this manner, it is truly the music that drives capoeira.

A capoeira bateria led by Mestre Cobra Mansa featuring three berimbaus and a pandeiro.

There are three basic kinds of songs in capoeira. A ladainha (litany) is a narrative solo usually sung at the beginning of a roda, often by the mestre (master). These ladainhas will often be famous songs previously written by a mestre, or they may be improvised on the spot. A ladainha is usually followed by a chula or louvação, following a call and response pattern that usually thanks God and one's teacher, among other things. Each call is usually repeated word-for-word by the responders. The ladainha and chula are often omitted in regional games. Finally, corridos are songs that are sung while a game is being played, again following the call and response pattern. The responses to each call do not simply repeat what was said, however, but change depending on the song.

The instruments are played in a row called the bateria. Three instruments are berimbaus, which look like an archer's bow using a steel string and a gourd for resonance. It is played by striking the string with a stick, and the pitch is regulated by a stone. Legend has it that, in the old times, knives or other sharp objects were attached to the top of the berimbau for protection and in case a large fight broke out. In 'the little book of capoeira' - 'Nestor Capoeira, It is said Mestre Pastinha would tell of a small sickle sharpened on both edges which he would keep in his pocket. He was fond of saying "If it had a third edge I would sharpen that one too, for those who wish to do me harm." Pastinha also spoke of how this blade could be attached to the end of a berimbau. These three bows are the Berra boi (also called the bass or Gunga), Medio, Viola, and lead the rhythm. Other instruments in the bateria are: two pandeiros (tambourines), a reco-reco (rasp), and an agogo (double gong bell). The atabaque (conga-like drum), a common feature in most capoeira baterias, is considered an optional instrument, and is not required for a full bateria in some groups.

The capoeira roda
The Roda ( Hoh-Dah ) or "Roda de Capoeira" is the circle of people within which capoeira is played. Its circular shape is maintained to keep focus on the players and musicians and retain the energy created by the capoeira game. The people who make up the roda's circular shape clap and sing along to the music being played by the musicians in the bateria for the two partners engaged in a capoeira "game" (jogo). The "mouth" of the roda is located directly in front of the bateria. It is at this point where the players begin every game and generally where any new players must enter. In some capoeira schools an individual in the audience can "buy in" to engage one of the two players and begin another game.

"Roda de Capoeira"

The minimum roda size is usually a circle of about 3 meters (10 feet) in diameter. Though they can be smaller and are often larger, up to 10 meters in diameter (30 feet). The rhythm being played on the berimbau sets the pace and goals of the game played within the roda. Slow music limits the game to slow yet complex ground moves and handstands.

Contact in capoeira is generally not made but rather feigned or done theatrically. In capoeira Angola - the game rarely involves contact but the danger and possibility of it is always present. In capoeira contemporanea, during some rhythms (e.g., Benguela, Iuna) strikes are shown but not finished while in others (e.g., São Bento Grande de Regional) the players have more freedom to strike each other and make contact. Often games with contact are played at a fast pace, however it is the specific 'toque' played on the berimbau, regardless of its speed, which dictates the type of game to be played.

For the participants, the roda is a microcosm of life and the world around them. Most often in the roda, the capoeirista's greatest opponent is himself and philosophy plays a large part in capoeira. A good teacher will strive to teach respect, safety, Malicia, and freedom.

Modern capoeira is often criticized by more traditional practitioners of capoeira as being in the process of losing its "playfulness" and dialogue, due to the prevalence of impressive acrobatics and martial elements over the playful and intricate interactions of capoeira Angola. Dominance in the roda is as much psychological and artistic as it is a question of who is taken down.

Capoeira is uniquely social. Networking with other groups and students from other teachers can teach a capoeirista more about the art and improve their skills.

The Jogo
See also: List of capoeira techniques
Capoeira does not focus on injuring the opponent. Rather, it emphasizes skill. Capoeiristas often prefer to show the movement without completing it, enforcing their superiority in the roda. If an opponent cannot dodge a slow attack, there is no reason to use a faster one. Each attack that comes in gives players a chance to practice an evasive technique.

Capoeiristas outside (Porto Alegre, Brasil)


The ginga (literally: rocking back and forth; to swing) is the fundamental movement in capoeira. Capoeira Angola and capoeira regional have distinctive forms of ginga. Both are accomplished by maintaining both feet approximately shoulder-width apart and then moving one foot backwards and then back to the base, describing a triangular 'step' on the ground. This movement is done to prepare the body for other movements.

The rest of the body is also involved in the ginga: coordination of the arms (in such a way as to prevent the body from being kicked), torso (many core muscles may be engaged depending on the player's style), and the leaning of the body (forward and back in relation to the position of the feet; the body leans back to avoid kicks, and forward to create opportunities to show attacks). The overall movement should match the rhythm being played by the bateria.

Capoeira primarily attacks with kicks, sweeps, and head strikes. Some schools teach punches and hand strikes, but they are not as common. A possible explanation for the primary use of feet is the common West African belief that hands are for creation and feet for destruction. Elbow strikes are commonly used in place of hand strikes. "Cabeçadas" or Headbutts are common- as they are in many of the fighting arts of the African Diaspora. Knee strikes are sometimes seen. Capoeira also uses acrobatic and athletic movements to maneuver around the opponent. Cartwheels called "" (a very common acrobatic movement), handstands (bananeira), headspins (pião de cabeça), hand-spins (pião de mão), hand-springs (gato), sitting movements, turns, jumps, flips (mortal), and large dodges are all very common in capoeira though vary greatly depending on the form and rhythm. Fakes and feints are also an extremely important element in capoeira games and the setting of "traps" or illusory movements are very common.

Capoeira defenses consists of evasive moves and rolls. A series of ducks called esquivas, which literally means "dodge", are also staple of a capoeiristas' defensive vocabulary. There are typically different esquivas for every step of the Ginga, depending on the direction of the kick and intention of the defender. A common defense is the rolê, which is a rolling move that combines a duck and a low movement. This move allows the defensive players to quickly evade an attack and position themselves around the aggressor in order to lay up for an attack. It is this combination of attacks and defense which gives a game of capoeira its perceived 'fluidity' and choreography.

Other evasive moves such as rasteira, vingativa, tesoura de mão or queda allow the capoeirista to move away or dangerously close in an attempt to trip up the aggressor in the briefest moment of vulnerability (usually in a mid-kick.)

There are also styles of moves that combine both elements of attack and defense. An example is the au batido. The move begins as an evasive cartwheel which then turns into a blocking/kick, either as a reflexive response to a blocking move from the opposing player or when an opportunity to do so presents itself, e.g., at an opponent's drop of guard. Two kicks called meia lua de compasso and armada are usually combined to create a double spinning kick.

The Chamada is a ritual that takes place within the game of Capoeira Angola. Chamada means 'call', and consists of one player 'calling' their opponent to participate in the ritual. There is an understood dialogue of gestures of the body that are used to call the opponent, and to signal the end of the ritual. The ritual consists of one player signalling, or calling the opponent, who then approaches the player and meets the player to walk side by side within the roda. The player who initiated the ritual then decides when to signal an end to the ritual, whereby the two players return to normal play. The critical points of the chamada occur during the approach, and the chamada is considered a 'life lesson', communicating the fact that the approach is a dangerous situation. Approaching people, animals, or life situations is always a critical moment when one must be aware of the danger of the situation. The purpose of the chamada is to communicate this lesson, and to enhance the awareness of people participating in the ritual.

During the ritual, after the opposing player has appropriately approached the caller of the chamada, the players walk side by side inside the circle in which the game is played. This is another critical situation, because both players are now very vulnerable due to the close proximity and potential for surprise attack.

Experienced practitioners and masters of the art will sometimes test a student's awareness by suggesting strikes, head-butts, or trips during a chamada to demonstrate when the student left themselves open to attack. The end of a chamada is called by the player that initiated the ritual, and consists of a gesture inviting the player to return to normal play. This is another critical moment when both players are vulnerable to surprise attack.

The chamada can result in a highly developed sense of awareness and helps practitioners learn the subtleties of anticipating another person's intentions. The chamada can be very simple, consisting solely of the basic elements, or the ritual can be quite elaborate including a competitive dialogue of trickery, or even theatric embellishments.

Volta ao mundo
Volta ao mundo means 'around the world'.

The volta ao mundo takes place after an exchange of movements has reached a conclusion, or after there has been a disruption in the harmony of the game. In either of these situations, one player will begin walking around the perimeter of the circle, and the other player will join the 'around the world' before returning to the normal game.

As students master the basic moves, their game naturally acquires a more cunning slant as they begin to perfect the art of trickery, or malandragem. This involves a lot of improvisation and modifications of basic moves into a flurry of feints and fakes to trick the opponent into responding wrongly. These attempts can be blatant or subtle at discretion of the players. Effective malandragem lies in the development of sharp observation skills and a keen innate ability to anticipate the moves of the opponent and prepare an appropriate response. Some capoeiristas take this aspect of the art to heights akin to the guile of theatrics and drama. Games displaying elaborate performances and even staging skits reenacting historic cultural aspects of capoeira are commonly demonstrated amongst the most learned of the arts.

Styles of capoeira
Capoeira has two main classifications: traditional and modern. Angola refers to the traditional form of the game. This is the oldest form, approximately 500 years old[citation needed], with roots in African traditions that are even older[citation needed], and is the root form from which all other forms of capoeira are based[citation needed]. Modern forms of capoeira can be classified as Regional and Contemporanea.

Capoeira Angola
Main article: Capoeira Angola
Capoeira Angola is considered to be the mother form of capoeira and is often characterized by deeply held traditions, sneakier movements and with the players playing their games in closer proximity to each other than in regional or contemporanea. Capoeira Angola is often mis-characterized as being slower and lower to the ground than other major forms of capoeira. However, this is a common misperception as some of the fastest and intriguing games can be found in Capoeira Angola rodas.

The father of the best known modern Capoeira Angola schools is considered to be Mestre Pastinha who lived in Salvador, Bahia. Today, most of the capoeira Angola media that is accessible in the United States comes from mestres in Pastinha's lineage. He was not the only Capoeira Angola mestre. However, he is the best known mestre who helped bring more traditional Capoeira philosophy and movements into the modern setting of an academy.

Capoeira Regional
Regional is a newer form of Capoeira. Regional was developed by Mestre Bimba to make capoeira more mainstream and accessible to the public, and less associated with the criminal elements of Brazil. The regional style is most often composed of fast and athletic play.

Later, so called modern regional came to be (see the next section about capoeira Contemporânea). Developed by other people from Bimba's regional, this type of game is characterized by high jumps, acrobatics, and spinning kicks. This regional should not be confused with the original style created by Mestre Bimba.

Regional ranks capoeiristas (capoeira players) by ability, denoting different skill with the use of a corda (colored rope, also known as cordel or cordão) worn as a belt. Angola does not use such a formal system of ranking, relying instead upon the discretion of a student's mestre. In both forms, though, recognition of advanced skill comes only after many years of constant practice[citation needed].

Capoeira Contemporânea
Contemporânea is a term for groups that train multiple styles of capoeira simultaneously. Very often students of Capoeira Contemporânea train elements of Regional and Angola as well as newer movements that would not fall under either of those styles. This is controversial because many practitioners argue that Angola must be practiced alone, or that regional can only be practiced alone for the student to truly understand the form of the game. Other practitioners argue that a capoeirista should have a working knowledge of traditional and modern capoeira, and encourage training both forms simultaneously. This is an issue of great disagreement amongst capoeiristas.

The label contemporânea also applies to many groups who do not trace their lineage through Mestre Bimba or Mestre Pastinha and do not strongly associate with either tradition.

In recent years, the various philosophies of modern capoeira have been expressed by the formation of schools, particularly in North America, which focus on, and continue to develop their specific form of the modern art. This has become a defining characteristic of many schools, to the point that a seasoned student can sometimes tell what school a person trains from, based solely on the way they play the game. Some schools teach a blended version of the many different styles. Traditionally, rodas in these schools will begin with a period of Angola, in which the school's mestre, or an advanced student, will sing a ladainha, (a long, melancholy song, often heard at the start of an Angola game). After some time, the game will eventually increase in tempo, until, at the mestre's signal, the toque of the berimbaus changes to that of traditional Regional.

Each game, Regional and Angola stresses different strengths and abilities. Regional emphasizes speed and quick reflexes, whereas Angola underscores a great deal of thought given to each move, almost like a game of chess. Schools that teach a blend of these try to offer this mix as a way of using the strengths of both games to influence a player.

Capoeira in popular culture
Main article: Capoeira in popular culture
As capoeira's popularity spreads throughout the world, so does its use in popular culture. Capoeira players (Capoeiristas) have been seen in television commercials, video games and music videos for a number of years. The well known game Street Fighter 2 attributed Blanka's fighting style as Capoeira. In Street Fighter III, the Kenyan character Elena uses capoeira as well. In another fighting game,Tekken, it included the characters Eddy Gordo and Christie Monteiro, who both fight in the style of Capoeira. Including Lisa of Dead or Alive, who uses partial style of Capoeira and Lucha Libre together. As well as the first ever Capoeira video game fighter; Richard Meyer (Fatal Fury) and his later protege; Bob Wilson from the Fatal Fury video game series. The little known movie Only the Strong, was inspiration to a small Capoeira movement in the early 90's.

Capoeira performance in Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Capoeira is also seen in bits and pieces of mainstream media with no reference to what it is. François "The Nightfox" Toulour, the rival master thief in Ocean's Twelve, for example, uses capoeira to get across a laser grid with the assistance of his trusty ipod. In the movie The Rundown, the hero - played by former professional wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, finds himself pitted against a group of Capoeiristas. Capoeiristas are also featured in many of Wyclef Jean and the Black Eyed Peas' videos such as "Hips Don't Lie," "Mas que nada" and "That Heat."

Capoeira is also used in the popular Japanese manga Death Note and the spin off novel Death Note: Another Note The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases, by detectives Naomi Misora and later learned by the character L.

In July 2007, Diet Coke Films short films competition inspired Utopia films to create a piece called Capoeira Girl. This boy vs girl piece was taught and choreographed by Contra-Mestre Formiguinha and showed off the Arts - fight, dance, acrobatics and music.

Recently, March 2008, top rating TV show Australia's So You Think You Can Dance featured Capoeira as a dance-style. Performed by Vanessa Sew Hoy and Henry Byalikov, the routine was choereographed by Josival (Contra-Mestre Formiguinha) Bispo and Chris Ladera. The routine won the Cadbury Flake Breathtaking Moment for their dance.

Capoeira is also featured in the 2006 film The Protector starring Tony Jaa. One of the main enemies fights using Capoeira, played by an actor named Lateef Crowder, forcing Tony Jaa to adapt his fighting style to that of his opponent.

Special events
Capoeira regional groups periodically hold Batizados ("baptisms" into the art of capoeira). Members being "baptized" are normally given a corda (cord belt) and an apelido (capoeira nickname) if they haven't already earned one. Batizados are major events to which a number of groups and masters from near and far are normally invited. Sometimes a Batizado is also held in conjunction with a Troca de Corda (change of belts), in which students already baptized who have trained hard and been deemed worthy by their teachers are awarded higher-ranking belts as an acknowledgment of their efforts. Such ceremonies provide opportunities to see a variety of different capoeira styles, watch mestres play, and see some of the best of the game. Sometimes they are open to the public.

Batizados and Trocas de Cordoes do not occur in capoeira Angola, which does not have a system of belts. However, some contemporary schools of capoeira have combined the study of both arts and may require their students to be learned in the ways of capoeira Angola before being awarded a higher belt.

Related activities

Samba de roda
Main article: Samba
Performed by many capoeira groups, samba de roda is a traditional Afro-Brazilian dance that has been associated with capoeira for many years. The orchestra is composed by pandeiro (tambourine), atabaque (drum), berimbau - viola (berimbau with the smallest cabaça and the highest pitch), chocalho (rattle - a percussion instrument), accompanied by singing and clapping.

Main article: Maculelê (dance)

Puxada de rede
Main article: Puxada de rede

Important Mestres
See also: Category:Capoeira mestres
Manuel dos Reis Machado, A founder of the regional style, and one of the foremost authorities on capoeira.
Vicente Ferreira Pastinha, a founder of the first organized Angola academy

See also
List of capoeira techniques
Capoeira music
Capoeira toques


Nestor Capoeira. (2003), The Little Capoeira Book (Revised ed.). North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-440-5

The Criminalization of Capoeria in nineteenth-century Brazil Maya Talmon Chvaicer

Capoeria: The application in the United States of an Afro Braziian martial art/cultural approach to prevention Rauch, H.

The Politics and Poetics of Dance Susan A. Reed

Further media
Almeida B. (1986). Capoeira, a Brazilian Art Form: History, Philosophy, and Practice (2nd ed.). North Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-938190-29-6
Assunção, Matthias Röhrig (2005). Capoeira: A History of an Afro-Brazilian Martial Art, Sport in the Global Society. London: Routledge. ISBN 0714680869.
The Art of Capoeira- short BBC article on Capoeira
Chvaicer, Maya Talmon (2002), “The Criminalization of Capoeira in Nineteenth-Century Brazil,” Hispanic American Historical Review 82.3: 525-547.
Downey, Greg (2002). "Listening to Capoeira: Phenomenology, Embodiment, and the Materiality of Music". Ethnomusicology 46 (3): 487-509. ISSN 00141836.
Downey, Greg (2005). Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195176979.
Fryer, Peter. Rhythms of resistance: African musical heritage in Brazil. The University press of New England, 2000.
Gambrelle, Fabienne "Julien apprenti capoeira", Paris: Capoeira Paname Editions, 2005, ISBN 2-9523680-0-7
Grupo De Capoeira Angola Pelourinho, Capoeira Angola from Brazil, Smithsonian Folkways, 1996.
Grupo de Capoeira Angola Pelourinho, Capoeira Angola, Vol. 2 - Brincandoo Na Roda, Smithsonian Folkways, 2003.
Holloway, Thomas H. (November, 1989) “’A Healthy Terror’: Police Repression of Capoeiras in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro,” Hispanic American Historical Review 69.4: 637-676.
Lewis, J. Lowell (1992). Ring of Liberation: Deceptive Discourse in Brazilian Capoeira. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226476839.
Mansouri, Arno (2005). Capoeira, Bahia. Editions Demi-Lune. ISBN 2-9525571-0-1 Bilingual (French and English)
Nestor Capoeira. (2002). Capoeira: Roots of the Dance-Fight-Game. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-404-9
Röhrig Assunção, Matthias (2004) Capoeira: The History of Afro-Brazilian Martial Art. Routledge ISBN 0-7146-5031-5
Taylor, Gerard (2005). Capoeira: The Jogo de Angola from Luanda to Cyber Space. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-601-7

External links
Open Directory - Sports: Martial Arts: Capoeira: Schools and Instruction
The Capoeira techniques in video at the Akban-wiki
Capoeira Science: Capoeira Videos, History and Chat Forum
Glossary of common words used in capoeira
90 Capoeira skills Videos
Videos & Fotos & Capoeira History

(Taken from wikipedia)

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