Updated: Aug 19, 2021
In this article, we will find out: What is Capoeira? How was Capoeira born? Why was Capoeira banned? What styles are in Capoeira? What is "Roda" in Capoeira? What is Capoeira Game? What is "Berimbau" in Capoeira? Why are music and songs important in Capoeira? What is "Maculele" in Capoeira? Is the martial art of Capoeira practical? What do they wear in Capoeira? What protective equipment is recommended in Capoeira? What home fitness equipment is recommended in Capoeira? What home fitness equipment is recommended to improve cardiopulmonary endurance? What does the coaching equipment in Capoeira include?
What is Capoeira?
Capoeira is a martial art with African roots that was developed in the 16th century in Brazil by slaves brought to America. Combines, punches, and kicks; Misleading, fast, and rotating movements; Dance, music, and acrobatics. The practitioners of this method are called Capoeiristas, and the battle between opponents is called Play. Quite a few people mistakenly believe that Capoeira is a dance, or believe that the movements performed by two Capoeira players in front of each other are simple choreography, but Anderson de Silva (multiple UFC champion), a person who practiced Capoeira, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from childhood said: Capoeira is "A method of fighting like a dance to mislead the enemy". Since the end of the 20th century, this method has gained popularity around the world, mainly thanks to travelers returning from Brazil. In 2014, the method received the status of "intangible cultural heritage" in UNESCO.
How was Capoeira born?
Capoeira began as a survival hope for unarmed, fugitive slaves who used it to survive in a hostile country. There are also those who believe, that Capoeira was greatly influenced by the Brazilian-Indians and their culture. Slaves who wanted to free themselves from slavery trained to escape. But they could not practice martial arts openly, so they incorporated music and dance moves into martial arts studies so as not to arouse suspicion. Many escaped the draconian laws of Christians using an elopement, these were: Fugitive slaves, Natives of Brazil, And even Europeans, who over time established settlements that eventually led to an independent multinational state called "Kilombus". They had to defend themselves against the colonial, Portuguese forces, and as a result, they created a weapon of war and survival called Capoeira.
African slaves practiced the traditions and rituals that were adopted in their homeland - in Africa, and among them were traditional dances. One of the rituals was a dance led by a traditionally dressed slave leader. Among the dance rituals was a dance that originated in African Mumba called "Capoeira". It was also one of the dances practiced in religious rituals, invented by African slaves in the 16th century. Slaves began to develop it as an effective way of training in combat under the guise of dance. The combination of music and dance moves helped the slaves hide their true intentions and obtain permission from the captains to continue this activity. Although, there were restrictions and prohibitions on the types of dances allowed for slaves. The captains were very afraid of such dances and began to divide them into "good" and "bad" when the "bad" was banned because of the danger to public order. As a result, Capoeira training has fostered various uprisings, teaching slaves in fighting techniques and physical fitness.
Why was Capoeira banned?
After the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888, African slaves left the underground where they existed. Due to lack of work, criminal gangs of freed African slaves were formed, who continued to practice Capoeira. This gave the method of struggle a bad name, leading to the outlawing of Capoeira in 1892. Seeing this, Capoeira practitioners continued to practice clandestinely. Brazilian law prohibited the practice of this martial art until 1920. Over time, in the middle of the 19th century, the Brazilian Senate passed a law declaring Capoeira a national sport. Today Capoeira is common in Brazil and around the world.
What styles are in Capoeira?
Capoeira is divided into two main styles: Angola and Regional. These styles make extensive use of deceiving body movements, kicks, punches, and head kicks.
Capoeira Angola - is perceived as the original style and is characterized by lower, slower, and more precise movements. It also requires a certain amount of cunning and dexterity during combat, paying special attention to traditions and rituals. Most Angola-style students wear yellow shirts, following the tradition of the master Vincent Pereira Festinia (1889-1981). Although even this method involves fast street fighting, it is an evolving style taught in Capoeira academies in Brazil and around the world.
Regional Capoeira - is an original Angola-style that was developed by Master Bimba (1900-1974) to expand the area and make it more accessible to the general public. His main goal was to take Capoeira away from the problematic context of crime. Bimba's vision was to create a faster and more elevated style, which is characterized by four main parts: acrobatic movements, flexibility, physical strength and applied fighting technique. Whereas, great emphasis was placed on the development of applied fighting techniques and physical shape improvements. That is while creating a practical method of struggle, the following principles were used:
Physical fitness - The development of functional muscles and flexibility, providing a certain framework for the chaotic workouts that were in the past. The goal was to transform the Capoeira wrestler into an athlete with the following abilities: agility, strength, cardiopulmonary endurance, and flexibility.
Applied Fighting Technique - Using eight well-known Bimba sequences, including throwing techniques, various movements from Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, and Boxing, which made the martial art more applicable and effective for Self-defense.
What is "Roda" in Capoeira?
Roda / Hoda - This is a Capoeira game that takes place in a group, in fact, it is a circle that the team creates around two players. The people around Roda / Hoda sing and clap their hands, and some also play unique instruments. Roda has a leader - That is the most experienced warrior, he dominates in Roda and can stop the battle at any chosen stage. He is also the one who usually dictates the pace of singing and playing. Roda has a leader, and he is the most experienced warrior. He dominates in Roda and can stop the battle at any chosen stage. Also, he is the one who usually dictates the pace of singing and playing. In addition, Roda is associated with the word "Ashea", which means energy. Ashea symbolizes the adrenaline flowing through the body of the “Capoeiristas” while singing or playing. When Samba music is played in Rode (Samba de Roda) during a dance between a man and a woman, it usually symbolizes dancing flirtation and courtship. Whereas the game between two men symbolizes the battle between them. The (Samba de Roda), originally from the province of Cachoeira in the Brazilian state of Bahia, is closely related to the history of the slave trade and is regarded as a simple folk dance. It is an expression of Afro-Brazilian culture.
What is Capoeira Game?
The game in Capoeira is a battle of two opponents, parallel to the battle of "Kumite" in Karate. The game usually does not include a full touch. An experienced player will prefer to point out to the enemy about his superiority while moving, stopping the blow a fraction of a second before touching and at the same time constantly avoiding the enemy's attacks. This form of fighting is called "Play/Game", and in this sense, the Game can be used for serious battles as well. There are also full-touch battles, usually depending on the style and pace of the Game.
Is the martial art of Capoeira practical?
Capoeira's offensive movements consist of kicks, the use of hands and fists. In addition, they combine acrobatics and flexibility exercises designed to maneuver around Roda and the opponent. Many exercises combine attack: standing on hands; head bangs; spins and jumps; somersault with blows of legs and arms. Advanced Capoeiristas also show impressive combinations (sequences) of quick and precise movements. The Regional Capoeira Method, developed by Mestre Bimba (1900-1974) for the practical application of the method, includes the composition of movements from martial arts such as Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, and Boxing, making it an effective martial art for self-defense. Also, this method pays attention to the development of functional muscles, cardiopulmonary endurance, and physical fitness. As a result, it has all the components of Combined Martial Arts (MMA).
What is "Berimbau" in Capoeira?
Berimbau is a one-stringed musical instrument resembling a bow (arch). Now is common in Brazil, but originally from Africa. Berimbau is an integral part of Afro-Brazilian Capoeira practices, Berimbau gives rhythm to the movements of Capoeiristas in Roda (circle). The faster Berimbau plays, the faster the Capoeiristas (warrior) move in the game (in the duel). Music and singing are important components that set the pace during combat. The tempo changes during the fight depending on the tempo of the songs, from very slow to very fast. During the battle, the player is in front of his opponent, surrounded by "Roda", and those around him sing, drum, and clap their hands.
What is "Maculele" in Capoeira?
Dancing with "Maculele" is a stick game that originated from the time of the ancient Indians, from the "Cocombis" tribe. This dance has Afro-Indian roots, in which participants swing wooden sticks and beat them against each other. It comes from the Bahia region of Brazil and was developed by Afro-Brazilian slaves. Afro-Brazilians adopted the use of sticks from Indian culture and incorporated them into Capoeira. While the dance is performed to the rhythm of the "Atavka" drum and chanting. Sometimes this dance includes several elements such as acrobatics, fire, sticks, and swords. The dance is designed, on the one hand, to develop agility, coordination, and flexibility, and on the other, to combine defense and attacks using sticks. This dance consists of: a four-quarter rhythm; In the first three dancers perform steps with Maculele; In the fourth, they beat each other and sing songs under the leadership of the Roda leader.
What do they wear in Capoeira?
Imagine for a second that you have to come to your first Capoeira lesson and you don't know what to wear. In the list below, you can choose the clothing that suits you best for your workouts. It usually depends on the weather, hot or cold, that is, clothing with short or long sleeves. In principle, clothing should be comfortable, there is not much uniformity in it unless the training group uses something specific from the list below:
Pants for men and women.
Shirts for men and women.
Training shoes for men and women.
What protective equipment is recommended in Capoeira?
For your safety, while exercising, it is not recommended to use any jewelry or sunglasses. And also, it is necessary to protect trainees from serious injuries, that is, demonstrations and battles are not allowed without appropriate protective equipment! These are usually inexpensive shields compared to the physical damage they prevent. Also important is the question of the coach's professional insurance. There is no insurance without protective equipment! In full-contact battles, protective equipment should be used to minimize injury to any kind of opponents in the game (battle). Below is a list of the recommended body protection during play (battle):
Pad for hands and forearms.
What home fitness equipment is recommended in Capoeira?
It is worth it and even recommended to work at home to strengthen: kicks; Functional muscles through strength training, etc ... For this purpose, you can purchase minimal personal equipment that does not take up much space, ideal for home teaching and physical preparation for advanced training in classes where interaction with people is required, strength, flexibility, cardiopulmonary endurance, and more ... Below is a list of recommended equipment for home exercises:
Adjustable strength bench.
Speed Bag for Boxing.
Free-standing punching bag.
Boxing equipment, spinning bar.
A set of hand weights.
What home fitness equipment is recommended to improve cardiopulmonary endurance?
First of all, this is health, and secondly, in a battle that does not end quickly, the one who has cardiopulmonary endurance wins. To do this, it is recommended to take quick walks and combine them with running. These runs can be done outdoors, on the waterfront, or at home on a treadmill or spinning bike, both great for improving your fitness. To avoid injuring your back, it is a good idea to use suitable footwear while running. It is recommended that you document and monitor your calorie burn and heart rate using your smartwatch. Also, through which it is easy to see your improvements in cardiopulmonary endurance. In fact, all your activities are recorded using a computer, and there is a training history. The following is a list of recommended personal equipment for home workouts, for developing cardiopulmonary endurance, and for monitoring and controlling progress:
Home spinning bike.
Sneakers for men and women.
What does the coaching equipment in Capoeira include?
Due to the uniqueness of the method, its purpose, and its history of occurrence, great importance is attached to the formation of functional muscles. On the one hand, it is necessary to work on speed and agility in movements, on the other hand, on muscles to increase strength and power. To be successful in this, one needs to work with small weights, many reps in each set. Also, with a combination of strength training. It is advisable to work with the correct loads, consulting with a trainer not to damage the muscle ligaments. Recommended to work with a wrist expander and a workout stretch; With heavy training rope; Lots of reps on a heavy and light bag; With a Speed Bag for Boxing, etc. ... Practice kicks and punches with a coach, and with the appropriate protective equipment to do so. When registering for school, check if their floor is well protected and if there is a suitable protective pad against falls, throws, bumps, etc ... Below is a list of the recommended equipment for a coach when teaching Capoeira:
Heavy rope for fitness.
Boxing body protector.
Heavy punching bag.
Lightweight punching bag.
Free-standing punching bag.
Solid rubber for training.
Two kick pads.
Kicking and boxing pads.
Boxing equipment - spinning bar.
Sticks for Capoeira.
Bag for Berimbau.
String of Arame for Berimbau.
Summary of the topic about Capoeira
After reviewing the article, it turned out that Capoeira has an impressive history. This is inherent in the human essence, the desire for survival and originating from his nature, reaching for freedom, dancing, singing, and the right to self-defense with dignity. The method, which originated in Africa, came to Brazil and developed underground among slaves for their survival. A method that was banned for years after the repeal of the slavery law in Brazil. She faced defamation, condemnation, bad reputation, law enforcement and managed to survive and thrive through the combination of music and dance in her movements. They helped her avoid the persecution of the law, and ultimately the method was recognized as the national martial art of Brazil. We also looked at the list of recommended personal protective equipment for Capoeira training. We realized the immense importance of home training with the right equipment for developing cardiopulmonary endurance and fitness. We saw what includes the equipment of a Capoeira trainer and what to wear in training.
Author - Gil Peleg.