Capoeira - a Mischievous art form


Many people see it as a martial art -- others as a dance, and there are those who believe that it is their religion and cultural identity.

The description of Capoeira varies according to people's personalities. It is a native Brazilian Indian word given to a small partridge whose male is very jealous and engages in fierce fights with its rivals. Capoeira blends elements of dance, music, rituals, acrobatics, and fighting.

Anyone can find some form of identity in Capoeira. Let's take for instance somebody who lives in a big city like New York. He will probably see Capoeira as a martial art or as a form of self-defense. Because of the intensity of the city, and the challenges that he faces everyday, it makes him a natural "warrior" and he brings this instinct in to Capoeira's circle.

Brazilians call Capoeira a game. Capoeira is "played", not fought.

The Roda

A circle is made, called a roda. Music is played, and everyone sings and claps while two players interact in the center. The leading instrument is a berimbau. Also played is a drum called an atabaque and a pandeiro (tambourine). A berimbau is a one stringed, bow shaped instrument with a gourd attached to one end to give resonance.

This circle is the most exciting part of Capoeira.

Instructor Itabora, Santa Cruz.

The game of Capoeira requires the use of intuition and foresight and does not rely solely on the use of physical strength. During the game the capoeiristas skillfully expose the limitations of their opponents and engage in playful attacks and counterattacks thus better enabling themselves to discover their personal power.

Professora Marcia Cigarra

It's subtle blending of gymnastics and dance moves make the capoeira game unique in the world of martial arts. The challenge for the player is to harmoniously meld together in a powerful flow the balance and flexibility of acrobatics, the grace and strength of dance, the speed and cunning of the fight, and the rhythms of the music. If these components are isolated, the essence of capoeira is lost.

McGuire - East/West Journal

Capoeira

A Brazilian Martial Art, Capoeira was born in the "senzalas", the places where the slaves were kept. It consists of a stylized dance, practiced in a circle called the "roda", with sound background provided by percussion instruments, like the "agogo", the "atabaqui", etc. It incorporates "maculele", done with blades, and "maracatu", done with sticks. Highly acrobatic, energetic and difficult to master.

from "The martial arts FAQ"

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