Brazil, famous for beautiful beaches and football skills. And why not? They are 5 time FIFA world cup winners after all. But ever heard of Capoeira? Its another National sport of Brazil. It is not very famous outside Brazil but I assure you that you will be a fan of it if you come to know enough about this deadly martial art name Capoeira. It’s a perfect combination of speed, balance, striking and unpredictable attacking.
And moreover, the most fascinating thing about Capoeira is that it just looks like some dancing steps but this is the peculiarity of this martial art as it consists of dancing elements which later turns into a deadly blow to its opponent. Let’s dig some more facts about this interesting, incredible, and invincible martial art.
History and Journey to the Modern Era
Like its style of combat, Capoeira has a whole different and struggling history. We can trace back the history of Capoeira back to the 15th century. During this time, slaves are brought in large numbers from Africa to Brazil. The slaves are kept in very inhuman conditions. They are tortured very much and are punished or sometimes killed even for small mistakes. Yeah, what more can we expect them to do to slaves!
The slaves that are living in there used to perform a ritual dance called Angolo or Engolo especially the slaves from Angola. The dance includes some sort of elements like kicking, boxing, headbutting, dodging and other aerial movements like back-flips and somersaults. To keep their tradition alive, the captured slaves also practice this ritual dance. Sometimes they practice it during work or after work.
Some of the slaves escaped from there and hide somewhere in the country itself. They started to analyze this dance and develop it in some form of combat practice. They started to see it as a weapon which can help them survive in such hostile conditions.
Prohibition Of Capoeira
It was tolerated to some extent as the rulers saw it as some kind of entertainment for them but after the 18th century, it was criminalized because of being African. Moreover, many people used Capoeira several times against colonial guards in there. Because of this, the colonial government tried their best to suppress it and imposed harsh punishment if anyone found practicing it.
By the end of the 18th century, the Capoeira practitioners or Capoeiraistas started to use this art of Capoeira illegally. They started to work for the warlords. Some even worked with criminals as bodyguards and hitmen. So in 1890, the Brazilian government prohibited Capoeira in the whole country. After prohibition, any person caught practicing Capoeira will be tortured and mutilated by police.
The Rise of Masters
Till 1930, Capoeira suffered a huge loss in the number of practitioners. But in 1932, Manual dos Reis Machado aka Mestre Bimba of Salvador opened the very first Capoeira school. As it was still banned at that time as well so he called it by the name of Luta Regional Baiana which means “regional fight from Bahia”. With the support and permission of Salvador’s secretary of education, he opened up one more school.
Finally, Capoeira was legalized once again in 1940. In 1944, Vicente Ferreira Pastinha established Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola (CECA). This center attracted many old traditional Capoeira practitioners and this style came to be called as Capoeira Angola or simply Capoeira. After that, it kept on spreading to the different parts of Brazil through many academies. It also spread through the street performance of Capoeira. Even today, Capoeira is performed in the Brazillian streets and tourists get attracted to it a lot.
Some Basic Capoeira Moves
- Ginga: It is a basic stance for Capoeira in which a person keeps on moving from one side to another and catches a rhythm for the fight. It got a huge advantage as compared to the stance of other martial arts as it does not let your opponent set up any kind of attacks as you are continuously moving. However, it requires lots of stamina as well for a long fight.
- Esquiva: It is a defensive position where a person dodges or escapes from an opponent’s attack by leaning on either side or backward.
- Queixeda: It is an aggressive move which is much similar to the hook kick. But because of continuous movement, its kicks are very hard to predict.
- Armada: It is same as that of the spinning hook kick of other martial arts like Taekwondo.
- Frente: It is a front kick to the head but unlike other martial arts, waist is not rotated in here or target is not hit with ankle or shin but the inner part of your foot which you used to hit a football.
- Chapa: It is the basic sidekick.
- Negativa: The dodging along with sweeping the legs of your opponent to ground him or her.
Today, Capoeira is one of the major attraction in Brazil. It is practiced in many parts of the world. Though it is not as much popular as other martial arts such as Taekwondo, Judo, and Boxing; but it is spreading a lot day by day.
The low popularity outside Brazil is due to the lack of reputed Federations and promoting organizations of this art like UFC or WWE. However, many Capoeira academies are establishing in large numbers.
An ancient time dance turned into a national sport of a country, a form of martial arts. Like every different form of martial arts, this too has its own different style. Evolution is inevitable, and this evolution gave birth to a unique form. This form of physical art may excite you to use it in other ways than as a sport. But it is for someone’s highest best to not try to be superior to others with such a form of art.
Focus, balance, and reflex are very important for success and not only success in sports but life in general. And learning and practicing martial arts also help you in improving these essential skills. These forms of martial arts that have evolved from ancient times teach us many new skills. Skills that are may not be easy but far effective. Our ancestors had many more special tricks since it was a way of survival more than a sport for fun.
Capoeira in MMA
After getting some popularity, many scientific analyses are done on different moves and it was concluded that Capoeira moves, especially the kick force are very high if compared to other martial art performed by the artist of same weight category. This is because of the movement done by the Capoeira players. When people came to know about it, many get attracted to it. Even females have got huge interests in Capoeira.
After getting well introduced to this art, Capoeira in MMA have become a trend nowadays due to its various benefits. Many Capoeira knockouts can be clearly seen in MMA fights. This is the reason due to which MMA organizations like UFC have got Brazilian fighters like Anderson Silva in huge numbers. And why not? After having so many sacrifices and a very struggling journey, Capoeira deserves to in a prominent place like the other martial arts.