WHAT IS CAPOEIRA?
HistoryCapoeira emerged as a way to resist oppression, secretly practice art, transmit culture, and lift spirits. Some historians believe that the indigenous peoples of Brazil also played an important role in the development of Capoeira.
Most Brazilian scholars have argued that Capoeira emerged as a way to conceal the fact that slaves were practicing to fight (against their owners), concealing it with a seemingly happy dance routine. This explains why today's Capoeira appears to be a mix of both fighting techniques and flowing artful dance.
After slavery was abolished
in 1888, the freed people often moved to the cities
of Brazil. With employment scarce, many joined or formed
criminal gangs. They continued to practice Capoeira,
which in time became associated with anti-government
and criminal activities. As a result, Capoeira was outlawed
in Brazil in 1890, and the punishment for practicing
it was extreme. Rodas were often held in areas with
plenty of escape routes, and a special rhythm called
cavalaria was added to the music to warn players that
the police were coming. Capoeira practitioners (capoeiristas)
also adopted apelidos or nicknames to make it more difficult
for police to discover their true identities; this custom
is practiced even today.
Kongo scholar K. Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau has posited that "capoeira" could be derived from the word kipura in Bantu language Kikongo, a term used to describe a rooster's movements in a fight and meaning to flutter, flit from place to place, struggle, fight, or flog. In Portugese capão means capon, castrated rooster.
The gameCapoeira does not focus on injuring the opponent. Rather, it emphasizes skill. Capoeiristas often prefer to show the movement without completing it, enforcing their superiority in the roda. If an opponent cannot dodge a slow attack, there is no reason to use a faster one. Each attack that comes in gives players a chance to practice an evasive technique.
Capoeira is played in “roda”, a circle of people. People who make up the roda's circular shape clap and sing along to the music being played for the two partners engaged in a capoeira "game" ("jogo"). In some capoeira schools an individual in the audience can "buy in" to engage one of the two players and begin another game. Three instruments that are played are called the bateria. These are berimbaus, which look like an archer's bow using a steel string and a gourd for resonance, and the other instruments are two pandeiros (tambourines), a Reco-Reco (rasp), and an Agogo (double gong bell).
The ginga (literally: rocking
back and forth; to swing) is the fundamental movement
in capoeira. Capoeira Angola and capoeira regional have
distinctive forms of ginga. Both are accomplished by
maintaining both feet approximately shoulder-width apart
and then moving one foot backwards and then back to
the base, describing a triangular 'step' on the ground.
This movement is done to prepare the body for other