Capoeira is a combination of dance, ritual, and martial arts that developed out of the Portugese trade of African slaves to Brazil during the 16th century. Capoeira was illegal in Brazil until the 1930's. The ritual game begins with two players squatting in a circle, or roda, of spectators. The players rest at the feet of a single-stringed instrument, or berimbau, and one player sings a commencement song. The other player can sing in response or remain silent to allow the first player to sing the announcement that the game has started. The musician at the berimbau then picks up the song as the players move to the center of the circle. The lead berimbauist is the Mestre, or master of the capoeira game. The roda chants, sings, and drums under the direction of the Mestre. The players and the Mestre carry on a dialogue during the game; the music sets the tempo for the tricks that a player can use. A player may also improvise his movements according to the musical commentary the Mestre gives to his performance. The Mestre in turn may play music that reflects the players' attitudes, reactions and strategies.
The goal of the game, or jogo, is to catch the opponent off-guard using guile, technique and gymnastics. Players can fake each other out using rapid kicks, cartwheels, handstands, leg sweeps, flips, jabs, dodges, and turns. The base movement, and the one most often used by beginners, is a side-to-side motion in a semi-crouched stance called ginga. Unlike most martial arts, strikes are admired most when there is no physical contact. A player gains the most applause when the other player has been skillfully baited into a vulnerable, off-balance position, but has not actually fallen or been hit. Although there is no point system, and no official winners or losers, players can be disqualified for falling into a seated position or, in some forms of capoeira, using their hands to strike. Some speculate that the lack of hand use in capoeira harkens back to an ancient Kongo saying: "hands are to build, feet are to destroy." Modern martial artists have two main choices for capoeira techniques and philosophy. Angolan capoeira is the more traditional form, with slow, dance-like steps while Regional capoeira relies much more on high-energy acrobatics. Capoeira today is truly a global phenomenon with schools teaching Angolan, Regional and dozens of fusion styles in major cities all over the world.
by AMBIDDY-1 January 01, 2011
6 more definitions
Photos & Videos
Afro-brazilian martial art of unclear origin. Many believe that it was an adapted fighting style, hidden behind the guise of dance to fool captors due to the learning of self defense amongst slaves was forbidden (since they did not want the slaves to present a threat to them, or to injure themselves and thus become uneconomical); or merely the adaption of the 'Lions Dance' - a ritual performed in certain parts of africa during the rite of ascention when a boy became a man (to atract females through prowess and physical ability) and still others believe other things. There is numerous evidence for and against each theory presented. What we do however know is that Capoeira is a graceful art, half fighting and half dancing, closely linked to the learning and performance of not only the lethal attacks, the mind-defying 'style moves' and the playing of instruments: such as the berimbau (long, wooden, single-stringed instrument with a gourd near the bottom played by striking the string).
We're holding a Capoeira demonstration at the beach this Sunday. Bring a friend.
by Hiena May 10, 2005
A Brazilian marial art that was invented by slaves which was made to look like dance. It is recognized as both a style of dance and fighting.
Eddie Gordo from tekken 3 fought using capoeira
by Alec81484 October 26, 2004
A Brazilian Martial Art created by African slaves in Brazil to fight for freedom so that they could be released from the Puertoguese slave traders, which they created a self-defense fighting system to defend themselves against.
"Brazilian Martial Art that kicks ass"!
by Guy M. June 22, 2004
sexy-ass stage fighting
Oh my god those guys are doing capoeira, it looks dangerous...and sexy :)
by DLex-ous December 12, 2010
A Brazilian form of dance "fighting." This is offten thought of as a Brazilian martial art, but that is wrong. Capoeira was created by the Brazilian slaves who were trying to escape being whipped. It was not at all intended to bring harm to anyone, and that is why in capoeira matches the 2 (or 1) people dont even touch eachother; they dodge.
I do capoeira all the time with my friends on the beach.
by carioca February 05, 2007