I need a little info about Capoiera

I found an institution in town that teaches Capoiera. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it is a martial arts, originally from Brazil, based on music and dance. If you have ever seen Capoiera then you know that there is a lot of jumps, flips, high kicks, and things of that nature. I am a 6’2" and I haven’t done anything like this before. Also I haven’t worked out in quite a while. So I was wondering a couple of things. For those of you who have taken Capoiera, what is it like? do you have a hard time adjusting to such rigorous moves? What physical status did you start from? Also I was wondering if my height would be a problem. I know certain martial arts are good for certain body types and I don’t know if my height would help or be a hindrance.

I’ve never studied Capoiera seeriously, only about 3 weeks (total). It’s one of the most physically demanding MA’s, and requires good flexibility and upper body strength. I came in with a fairly high base level, though my upper body strength has always let me down. If you’re young and healthy I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t develop the skills necessary to enjoy and eventually master Capoiera. Just remember that with any sport don’t overdo it at first, or you’ll regret it the next day. It’s probably also a good idea to see your doctor, tell him what ou intend to do and get him to give you a physical. If you haven’t done this type of thing for a while you can end up with real problems if you aggravate a pre-existing problem.
From what I’ve seen your height should be an advantage in Capoiera if anything, provided you can develop the necessary spine/leg flexibility. I’m 6’ and my height really only proved a benefit. By and large size and shape don’t mean much when it comes to most MA’s. It’s more important to find a style you feel comfortable with and having an instructor who can teach you how to utilise what you’ve been given. Everyone is different.
Don’t forget most schools are happy to answer these types of questions for prospective students. The answer may not be exactly impartial, but if you sit in on a class and see what type of people are studying and how they’re doing it should give you a good idea.
For my $.02 I wouldn’t recommend enrolling in a Capoiera class straight off. I’d be inclined to study gymnastics/acrobatics and/or karate/TKD for a few months first to get familiarised with the basics before launching into what is a very full on sport.
Capoira is a impressive looking style, and seems effective enough as a fighting style if that’s how you train it. There’s no reason why any healthy person couldn’t master it if they want to. Enjoy.
If you want more information I’d post the questionhere. It’s really a Chinese MA site, but it’s the best I’ve found for getting an intelligent response. Someone there should know what they’re talking about or at least be able to direct you to somewhere that does, if you ask them.

For starters, you should really rent “Only The Strong” from the local rental place. Then get on Napster and download “Donovan’s Mix” for some good Capoiera music.

In fact, my dream last night was of me standing on a fire escape, watching a group of people Capoiera fight in the alleyway below! So very odd.

Should it not be obvious, the only thing I know about Capoiera is from that movie.


To get Capoiera, all you have to do is beat the game once with any character.

We’re talking about Bust-A-Groove, right?

That’s what I was thinking.

Not that this will help you: I went to Brazil this past summer, and saw some capoiera matches. They were so badass! So if you do get involved in it, know that you will be impressing me with your stellar moves at every moment.

Has anyone played any of the Tekken games for Playstation? I think the fighter named Eddy used a Capoiera-style for combat.
He kind of bobbed and weaved like a bread dancer, and was dark-skinned like a Brazilian.
I have no basis behind these thouhgts, just casual observation.

I’m only making a reply to send this thread to the top of the list again because I want to see if anyone else had anything to say.



The first Tekken he was in was Tekken 3. His style is very exaggerated capoiera.

Martial Arts for Beginners(Ron Sieh, 1995) says that capoiera was developed by descendants of African slaves brought to Brazil by the Portuguese. “Capao” is a Portugese word meaning rooster. Some early capoeistras would dress in feathers from head to toe.

Capoiera had a reputation for being the fighting style of the underclass. In 1930, Getulio Vargas took over Brazil and stopped repressing capoiera. Mestre Bimba opened a school in 1932 and systematized capoeira. He called his style “Capoiera Regional”. “Capoiera Angola” was created by Mestre(Master) Pastinha and is more playful.

In the late 1800’s, the central instrument of capoiera music, the berimbau, came into use.

I think it’s “Capoeira”… it is in Portuguese anyway. It was a style developed by slaves brought from Africa to conceal their fighting training as a dance, since there was very little they were allowed to do. If you get good at it your physical shape will skyrocket and is required, flexibility and strenght-wise, and you can get some nasty kicks out of it but I doubt it’s efective use on the a match with a trained fighter of sorts if you know what I mean. I’ve never practiced it but that’s my opinion.

I’ve been studying Capoeira for about 2 years, and I’ve done a good deal of research on it, and I think it’s an excellent hobby/game. I’m not convinced that it’s a super effective fighting technique - for that I’m studying Kung Fu. Anyway, here’s what I’ve learned about Capoeira in that time:

Its origins are African, in the form of Ngolo (or N’golo, I’m not sure which), which, I’m led to believe, means “zebra dance” - so called for the tendency to plant the hands, and deliver powerful kicks with both legs simultaneously. However, Ngolo was used as a rite of passage for young men, and not a fighting style. Specifically, I believe it was used to determine which of the boys of the town/tribe/whatever would get to forego paying a dowry for his bride-to-be.

When slave traders brought Africans to Brazil, Ngolo came with them. The transplanted slaves would practice their fighting skills in secluded locations, so the plantation owners and overseers wouldn’t catch them at it. When the lookout would spot someone coming, the berimbau (a musical instrument, something like a bow with a hollowed-out gourd attached as a resonating chamber, played by striking the string with a stick and varying the tone by pressing a coin or rock to the string) rhythm would change, to indicate to the combatants that they should change from fighting to dancing. The movements would still be there, only truncated or altered, to appear innocuous.

Regarding the word “capoeira”, I’ve heard many explanations about what it means, but my personal favorite is that it’s the Portuguese word for foliage or underbrush. So, when the soldiers would go through the jungles looking for escaped slaves, who had a tendency to jump out of the bushes and bust everything up, they would tell each other, “Watch out for the capoeira.”

The above style is the traditional one, known as Capoeira Angola, or Capoeira de Angola, from the Angola region of Africa. The newer style, Capoeira Regional (pronounced hay-jhin-au), was created by Mestre Bimba in the 1950’s, when capoeira was legalized in Brazil. That’s the one you’re talking about. Flips, spin kicks, gymnastics, etc are par for the course, and the players sometimes play far enough apart that they don’t need to worry about defensive maneuvers - they’re just showing off. Capoeira Angola, by contrast, is played very low to the ground, more slowly, and with more concentration on body control, balance, and strategy. It’s also played very “fechado”, or closed. The idea is to exploit any opening your opponent offers, while at the same time offering him or her no chance to get inside your defense.

Capoeira is played inside a “roda” (pronounced hoda), a circle of other capoeiristas, who are playing instruments (the berimbau, drums, tambourines, bells, and others), clapping, and singing. The energy created in the roda is absolutely mind-boggling, at least to me.

As far as how difficult it is physically, I’d say quite. When playing, you’re in constant motion. In addition, players of Capoeira Angola (angoleiros) are trying to stay low to the ground, which means keeping the legs bent. Many movements involve cartwheeling (with both, one, or no hands), handstands, back bridges, and other upper-body intensive positions. Like any strenuous activity, you quickly become acclimated and begin to build muscle in the appropriate places. I consider about as hard as jogging, in that each one tires me about the same after similar times spent doing them.

I recommend “Only the Strong” for some good Capoeira Regional footage, including the instruments, the roda, and the movements. If you want some real-life video clips, they’re not hard to find on the internet (make sure you spell capoeira right), or I can send you the url to the files I’ve saved, including Regional and Angola games, as well as some of my favorite songs.

Hope that helps. Oh, and two miscellaneous things that occur to me: if you’re planning to get into capoeira on a serious, long-term basis, you’ll probably want to start studying Portuguese at some point, too. Also, there is a bit of weapons fighting in capoeira, though it’s mostly unarmed. In “Only the Strong” you see a bit of the machete fighting. There’s also stick fighting and straight-razor fighting. Obviously, you’re not likely to learn that last one in many schools. My understanding is that the razors were held between the toes, instead of the hands.

Oh, hee hee, much too obvious:

http://www.Capoeira.com :slight_smile:

Off to IMHO.

Chimp’s Capoiera FAQ

Chimp’s site is one of the better ones on Capoiera on the web. Most (like the one linked a few messages ago) mostly have info on finding schools. Since you found a school already, you don’t need that.

This FAQ is pretty good and answers your question pretty well. Plus, the whole site is also really good. It has instructions on different moves, videos, links to other pages (including reviews of Capoiera videos). Chimp’s Mestre is the guy that Eddie Gordo from the Tekken series is based on (they scanned (?) him as he did moves for the character).
But, from what I understand it’s best to learn in a group (so you’re already ahead of the game).