Capoeira Glossary

From the J. Lowell Lewis book Ring of Liberation


academia - capoeira school
aluno - student of a capoeira master; same as discipulo
Angola - a traditional style of capoeira
Angoleiro - a practitioner of the Angola style
arame - metal string on the berimbau
arrastao - capoeira takedown, pulling both legs from under an opponent
ataque - attacking move or movement initiative
- cartwheel
aviso - a berimbau rythmn, formerly used to warn players of a police raid
balanço - part of the basic capoeira move (ginga); torso rocks forward and back as the weight shifts
bamba - someone adept at verbal or physical sparring; capoeira expert
banda - movement to trip or flank an opponent
barravent - a berimbau rythmn; refers to a prepossesion trance state
base - base, the ginga, the fundamental movement
batizado - the capoeira initiation ceremony; baptism
bênção - blessing; a front kick
berimbau - lead instrument in capoeira, a musical bow
bôca de siri - 'crab's mouth' movement
brincar - to play like a child
cabaça - gourd used as the resonator on the berimbau
cabeçada - head butt
camará - comrade; capoeira college
capoeirista - a capoeira player
cavalaria - 'cavalry,' a berimbau rhythm formerly used to warn of a police raid
caxixí - woven rattle played with the berimbau
chamada - 'call,' a named subroutine of capoeira play,the basic kind of inner game
chula - special introductory song, always follows ladainha
cocorinha - squatting movement
comprar de jôgo - to buy a game, entering the circle by cutting in on another player
contragolpe - counterattack - to respond to an initiative
contramestre - an instructor working under a master's guidance in an academy
cordão - colored belt awarded to mark grades of advancement in some academies
corridos - call and response songs accompanying action in the circle
dá volta ao mundo - 'take a turn around the world', a named subroutine of play that involves circling the ring
defesa - defensive move or movement response
desequilibrante - movement that unbalances the opponent
discípulo - disciple, student of a capoeira master
dobrão - coin used to play the berimbau
esquiva - escape movement
fechar o corpo - to close the body
floreios - acrobatic movements
formatura - graduation ceremony for a new capoeira master
fuga - flight, a catagory of defensive movements
ginga - the fundamental capoeira movement
golpe - strike or blow; attacking movement
iaiá, ioiô - terms used by slaves for daughters and sons of the master
jogador - player
jogar - to play games
jôgo - game
ladainha - litany, and introductory solo, usually sung by a master
ligeiro - swift, quick; nimble, agile; slippery, dishonest
maculêlê - another martial arts dance to music, involving rhythmic stick play
malandragem - hooliganism, shady activities; synonym for capoeira play
malandro - street tough, hoodlum, scoundrel, con man,bad guy
malícia - deception, trickery, cunning, double-dealing, indirection
mandigueiro - sorceror; healer; synonym for capoeira player
mangangá - medicine man
martelo - 'hammer' kick; a rhymed song form
meia-lua de compasso - 'half moon in a compass,' a spinning kick
mestre - master, senior capoeira teacher
mocambo - fugitive slave community
moeda - coin used to play the berimbau
moleque - street urchin
nome de guerra - nickname given to a player in the course of his training, sometimes as part of a batizado initiation
pandeiro - tambourine
passada - footwork, especially in the ginga
patuá - protective amulet
- 'foot', position in front of the berimbau
pião - 'spinning top,' headspin (no hands)
queda - fall, basic way to lose advantage in the game
quilombo - fugitive slave community
rabo de arraia - 'stingray's tail' kick
rasteira - sweep; the basic takedown
reco-reco - ribbed bamboo scraper in capoeira musical ensemble
recuo - retreat move, usually with one hand on the ground
Regional - innovative, modern style of capoeira, associated with Mestre Bimba
roda - circle; space for playing capoeira
saída - exit, most formal way to enter ring; one 'exits' from the foot of the berimbau
samba duro - hard samba, involves tripping people while dancing
seqüência - sequence of moves learned by players in Regional style
rocar - to play music
vadiação - loafing, hanging around; synonym for capoeira
vaqueta - stick used to strike the string of the berimbau
vara - wooden pole that is the body of the berimbau
vêrga - wooden pole that is the body of the berimbau

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