What is Capoeira…Really? (For the Absolute Newbie)

If you are just beginning Capoeira, or an admirer who never really knew about the origins of this amazing art…here you go. I will briefly give you a crash course on what Brazilian Capoeira is.  Here is the quick story:

Capoeira is a 500 year old martial art form created by African slaves brought to Brazil. During that time slaves could not practice self-defense, so the slaves hid it in a dancing acrobatic game called Capoeira. At a glance the slave master would see a group of people standing in a circle clapping and singing while two people inside the circle danced and flipped around. It seemed harmless, but really was a very effective martial art that liberated the slaves and sustained runaway slave colonies known as quilombos.

That was 500 years ago. Today, Capoeira is an exercise class, a martial arts class, a dance class, an acrobatics class, a language class, a music class, a cultural activity, a life improvement activity, a family bonding activity and more! If you know my story, then you know that Capoeira helped me claim my life back from the dead end rut that is obesity, laziness, and what could’ve been a downward spiral into failure. Since starting to train Capoeira, I lost 30 pounds, increased my daily energy, opened up my own business, became a published author, became a best selling author (5 time so far), and have followers all over the world.

I can’t promise that for everyone, but I can guarantee that if you allow Capoeira to change you for the better…it definitely will. Read my story here in the book that started it all (Ginga and Grow Strong-on Amazon)

There are many concepts going on in the circle of Capoeira, or roda. The head instrument, berimbau, looks like a bow to shoot an arrow out of. It controls the speed and style of play. Play? Yes Capoeira is known as a game. It’s not always fight, fight, fight. There is a sense of camaraderie in it. It can be showing off, one upping your opponent, or just a great time for expression.

The roda can make you forget all your problems of your humdrum life, temporarily. It will lift you up, make you sweat, and haunt you with contagious melodies of the songs sang within. All Capoeira songs are sang in Brazilian Portuguese, so you will have to lean at least those, and have a working knowledge of the language. Many compare that to traditional Japanese Karate that got watered down  by the Americanization of it throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. This will never happen, because it is mandatory to sing these songs to play Capoeira. It is written into belt testing to know so many songs in Portuguese, and play certain instruments and rhythms.

The future looks very good for this amazing Afro-Brazilian art form, but only time will tell how the evolution of Capoeira will progress.

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