The Brazilian art: Capoeira!

Who says Capoeira, says Brazil. Although Capoeira can now be practiced almost anywhere in the world, and its roots are clearly in Africa, this martial art is inextricably linked to Brazil. But what is Capoeira anyway, and how did it ever arise?

Maneuver the opponent in a defenseless position to the beat of the berimbau

Capoeira could be called a challenge dance. A challenge dance is a happening where the participants compete with each other to discover who has the most creative choreography and the best moves. During the jôgo de capoeira as this athletic game is called, only the hands, feet and head should touch the floor. The aim of the game is for the capoeiristas to use their finesse, deviousness and technique to maneuver the other in a defenseless position so that the way is open to give a blow. In general, however, the body of the opponent is not actually hit.
The jgo, the creative fabric of attack, evasion and defense is played in the roda (the circle within which the capoeristas move and also the circle formed by the people around it). The speed and attitude of the jgo are determined by the different rhythms that are played on the berimbau; the single-string curved instrument that is considered the symbol of the Capoeira. Except by the berimbau becomes the jgo accompanied by other instruments (such as the pandeiro, adufe, atabaque, agogô, reco-reco), singing and clapping.

African slaves in Brazil

There is much difference of opinion about the origin of the Capoeira. After the abolition of slavery, in 1889, many important documents concerning the slave trade were burned in order to circumvent compensation payments. With these documents, information about the starting time of the Capoeira has been lost forever.
The Portuguese arrived in Brazil in 1500 for the first time. Initially they maintained good contacts with the Indians, but it was not long before they forced them to work for them. The contact with the Portuguese meant the death sentence for many Indians. The combination of the diseases that the Portuguese brought with them to which the Indians could not cope, slavery and the hunt for Indians who did not want to conform to the Catholic faith imposed on them, the original population of Brazil died in large numbers. The Portuguese then decided to bring Africans to Brazil to work on the coffee and sugar cane plantations and in the gold and diamond mines. The slaves in Brazil were from different parts of Africa and to prevent rebellions the different groups were mixed on the plantations as much as possible. Nevertheless, the slaves regularly managed to escape and villages that were independent inland (quilombos) to start. Despite the oppression, Africans and their descendants developed a culture & environment in which many expressions of their African roots were preserved or had their origins. Capoeira is perhaps one of these expressions or a result of this development.

Survival technique of escaped slaves or converted zebra dance?

One of the theories about the origin of Capoeira says that Capoeira was born from the desire for freedom. The slaves who escaped from the plantations fled into the interior in search of safe places to hide and survive. They hid themselves in rainforest areas capoe variety were mentioned. The escaped slaves developed a system to free other slaves and thus their position in the quilombos to reinforce. Capoeira developed as a martial art in the quilombos as survival tactics. The escaped slaves had to be able to defend themselves in the most difficult circumstances and against people who had access to deadly weapons.
Another theory tells that Capoeira has its origins in southern Angola where during the initiation rite where the transition from girl to woman was celebrated, a so-called zebra dance by the boys (n'golo) is being performed, a challenging fight dance where the feet were used. The winner of the n'golo was the first to choose a partner from the group of young women. The slaves who came to Angola from Brazil took the tradition of this ritual battle with them. During the time, the zebra was transformed into a weapon to defend itself in the hostile environment of slavery.

Stigmatization & popularity of Capoeira in Brazil and the rest of the world

Capoeira became very popular in the 18th - 19th centuries, especially among those who had to survive in difficult circumstances. They used the Capoeira not only as a game, but also as a weapon to commit crimes. As a result, Capoeira soon became associated with criminals, and the word Capoeira became a synonym for bandit or thief. In other words, Capoeira was stigmatized as a horrible social disease that had to be fought. Capoeira was strongly suppressed for years and the capoeiristas met in secret until in 1930, after a military revolution, Getúlio Vargas came to power in Brazil. Popular cultural expressions, including Capoeira, were allowed under the Vargas regime. The first official Capoeira school was opened in 1932 by Manoel dos Reis Machado mestre Bimba, in Salvador, in the state of Bahia. Mestre Bimba developed a Capoeira style that like capoeira regional is known. The image of Capoeira gradually changed. Presentations were given and at the various schools that were established, not only was serious training on fighting techniques, but also attention was paid to the mentality of the capoeiristas. Capoeira was finally recognized by the Brazilian government in 1972 as an official sport with official rules.
These days Capoeira enjoys fame and admiration all over the world. Tourists come especially to states such as Bahia and Pernambuco to admire the presentations of capoeiristas and a berimbau to take home as a souvenir. And Brazilian capoeiristas travel to Europe and the United States to teach anyone who wants the art of Capoeira.
… Menino com quem tu aprendeu (Boy, who did you learn from)
Menino com quem tu aprendeu (Boy, who did you learn from)
Aprendeu a jogar capoeira aprendeu (From whom did you learn the Capoeira that you learned)
Quem me ensinou já morreu (The person who taught me is already dead)
O seu nome está gravado (But his name is engraved)
Na terra em que ele nasceu… (In the country where he was born…)

Video: Capoeira: The Brazilian Martial Art - Dance, Fight and Music - Capoeira Brasil - MMA - UFC (February 2020).

Leave Your Comment