• History

    Capoeira is a Mar­tial art ini­tially devel­oped by African slaves in Brazil dur­ing the colo­nial period. Around 1500, Por­tu­gal shipped slaves into south Amer­ica from West­ern Africa. Brazil was the largest con­trib­u­tor to slave migra­tion with at least 42% of all slaves shipped across the Atlantic. The fol­low­ing peo­ple were the most com­monly sold into Brazil: The sudanese group, com­posed largely of Yorubaa and Dahomean Peo­ple. The Islamised Guinea-Sudanese group of Malasian and Hausa peo­ple and the Bantu group (among them Kon­gos, Kim­bun­das and Kasanjes)from Angola, Congo and Mozam­bique. These Peo­ple brought their cul­tural tra­di­tions and reli­gion with them to the new world. The homog­e­niza­tion of the African peo­ple under the oppres­sion of slav­ery was the cat­a­lyst for Capoeira. Capoeira was devel­oped by the slaves of Brazil as a way of resist­ing their oppres­sors, secretly prac­tic­ing their art,transmiting their cul­ture and lift­ing their spirits.

    After slav­ery was abol­ished, the slaves moved to the cities of Brazil and with no employ­ment to be found.They con­tin­ued to prac­tice Capoeira, and it became asso­ci­ated with anti-government or crim­i­nal activ­i­ties. As a result, Capoeira was out­lawed in Brazil in 1892. The pun­ish­ment for prac­tic­ing it was extreme (prac­ti­tion­ers would have the ten­dons on the backs of their feet cut), and the police were vicious in their attempt to stamp out the art. Capoeira con­tin­ued to be prac­ticed, but it moved fur­ther under­ground. Rodas were often held in areas with plenty of escape routes. To avoid being per­se­cuted, Capoeira prac­ti­tion­ers (capoeiris­tas) also gave them­selves an apelido (nick­names) often more than one. This made it much harder for the police to dis­cover their true iden­ti­ties. This tra­di­tion con­tin­ues to this day. Per­se­cu­tion of the art petered out even­tu­ally, and was entirely gone by 1918. In 1937, Mestre Bimba was invited to demon­strate his art in front of pres­i­dent Getúlio Var­gas. After this per­for­mance, he was given per­mis­sion to open the first Capoeira school in Brazil. Since that time, Capoeira has been offi­cially rec­og­nized as a national sport, and has spread around the world. In 1942, Mestre Pastinha opened the first Capoeira Angola school, the Cen­tro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola, located in Bahia.

    There are two main dis­tinct styles of capoeira. ANGOLA, which is char­ac­ter­ized by slower and lower move­ments with par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the rit­u­als and tra­di­tion of capoeira. The other style is REGIONAL which is known for its acro­batic play where tech­nique and strat­egy are the key­points. Both styles are marked by the use of feints and sub­terfuge, use of ground­work exten­sively as well as sweeps kicks and head­butts. Capoeira Angola is the clos­est form to the capoeira played amongst the slaves.