Capoeira (Portuguese pronunciation: [kapuˈejɾɐ]) is a Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, sports, and music.
…or so says Wikipedia.
Capoeira is the most fun you can have whilst losing half your body weight in sweat and constantly wondering when you’re going to get kicked in the face next. Capoeira began as a means for unarmed, starving black slaves in Brazil to beat armed and mounted Portugese dragoons in single combat. Capoeira is highly musical and the entire tone and pace of the game (the fight) is set by the music and singing of those in the roda (circle) around the players.
The aim of (modern) capoeira isn’t to hurt, pin or knock-out your opponent, it’s to prove yourself more skilful. Merely touching their face with your elbow, pulling a kick inches before it reaches their head or showing yourself the more elegant and graceful fighter can be enough to ensure victory, and this gives the entire art an ethos that I find extremely appealing.
The aim of capoeira is to at all times dodge and outmanoeuvre an opponent’s attacks, putting the capoeirista in a position from which they can cause maximum damage. This is what allows a capoeirista to fight against an armed opponent, or a group of opponents, and is part of the reason for the elaborate acrobatics that punctuate any fight. The rhythmic movements and graceful jumps and flips, however, have been some of the most violent things I’ve had cause to witness first-hand.
I’ve been training with Grupo Capoeira Brasil for a few weeks now, and I’m intending on sticking around for a long while. I’ll let you know when I’m up to the standard in the video above.
’til then, however, I’ll just be practising lying prone on the ground and hoping no-one kicks me.