Capoeira is not just a dance, but a real art. And everyone can master it, if, of course, they try and make efforts.
What it is?
Capoeira is the national martial art of Brazil, which combines elements of play, wrestling, dance and even acrobatics. All movements are performed to rhythmic Brazilian music, and the result is an amazing energetic mix!
It is worth noting that although elements of combat are present, contacts between partners are reduced to naught, since low positions prevail, imitated kicks, acrobatic techniques, as well as all kinds of sweeps. But when one dancer allegedly attacks, the other dodges in every possible way, and the result is an amazingly beautiful duel. But in order to achieve this, all techniques must be well-coordinated and coordinated.
How did it appear?
The history of the emergence and development of capoeira goes back to the 18th century, but it is believed that it arose much earlier. If you believe the most widespread and generally accepted version, then this art originated in South America, and thanks to black slaves who were brought from the colonies of Guinea, Congo, Mozambique and Angola by the Portuguese.
At the time, they were treated extremely cruelly and forced to flee. The runaways organized entire free cities (kilombush), in which the often vibrant and distinctive African culture clashed with the more measured Indian. And for fun and to keep fit, they danced. This is how capoeira appeared.
There is various information about the origin of the first dances. So, some believe that they belong to the subculture of national African dances. Initially, there were no martial techniques in capoeira. Others believe that the national martial dance of Africa “ngolo”, which was an integral part of the initiation rite in the southern regions of Angola, became the basis of the art.
Young warriors, who entered into battle with each other, represented zebras. One way or another, the origins of capoeira have always been associated with the name of the legendary hero Zumbi, who became a symbol of resistance for the Brazilian people.
As for the name, there are also several versions. According to one of them, from the Indian language tupi it is translated as “a field overgrown with bushes and cleared by felling or burning.” Probably, the interpretation is relevant, because grounds were needed for dancing, and they probably had to be cleared.
According to another version, in Portuguese, “capoeira” is a “cage for chickens.” But there is a third version, and its adherents believe that the name is a distorted pronunciation of the words “kipula” and “kipura”, which can be translated from the Kikongo language as “fight” and “flutter from place to place.”
By the way, there was a time when capoeira was prohibited by law, and therefore for some time it went underground.
After the military coup that took place in Brazil in 1930 and completely changed the political situation, capoeira was recognized by law and began to develop more actively. And therefore, several branches appeared, each of which can be considered an independent direction.
So, the main known styles of capoeira:
- Capoeira Regional. In 1932, the first ever officially recognized school of capoeira appeared, the founder of which was Mestre Bimba (Manuel dos Reis Mishado). And he created a new style, giving it the name “Luta Regional Bayana” or shortly “Capoeira Regional”. He managed to systematize the experience of previously existing illegal schools and improve teaching techniques. As a result, a special technique was developed. Also, whole complexes of movements, attacks and counterattacks with legs appeared.
- Capoeira Angola. The second important person in the history of the development of art was Mestre Pastinha (Vicente Ferreira Pastinha). He opened his school in 1941. And his style was named “Angola” in honor of the place from which the slaves who invented the dance were brought. Although this direction appeared later than Regional, it assumed the use of the foundations of art, that is, the ligaments and movements characteristic of African national dances.
- Capoeira Contemporanea is a so-called mixed or universal style that combines elements of both Angola and Regional.
It is worth noting that it is very, very difficult to distinguish between styles, and even for an experienced master, because some movements and elements are inherent in all directions, while others are constantly being improved.
Why is training useful? Capoeira has many undeniable benefits:
- Exercise will help you lose weight and make your body more prominent and attractive.
- Classes are useful for everyone: for men, women and even for children. And although some movements are difficult, capoeira is suitable even for people with little or no physical training.
- Your body will become flexible, because there are stretching exercises in capoeira.
- Exercise is good for your health, it improves the functioning of the cardiovascular, respiratory and other systems.
- Coordination improves, memory and logical thinking are trained, because every movement must be thought out and planned.
- It’s just fun and enjoyable! You will see that after the lesson you will feel a surge of energy, and your mood will improve.
- It is not very expensive. Lessons cost about the same as other sports.
- No additional devices required, no equipment needed. You can do it anywhere at any time.
- Capoeira is new and interesting acquaintances!
There are very few downsides. These include a small number of vocational schools, as well as the danger of some movements.
How is the training going?
It should be noted right away that all lessons are very energetic, at a fairly fast pace. The movements are performed to the national Brazilian music, sometimes musicians are invited to play national musical instruments (although it is quite possible to pick up rhythmic modern compositions).
The training includes many wrestling techniques, dance steps and even acrobatic tricks (they can only be performed by experienced capoeiristas). The game, which is played remotely and excludes any direct and close contacts of the dancers, includes a whole arsenal of movements, such as various supports, sweeps, throws, jumps, and defensive elements.
When one partner attacks, the other defends. As a result, the dance should look harmonious and at the same time dynamic, so that all the elements are performed rather quickly.
First, the coach helps to master the basic elements, they are the base of capoeira. Then they are connected into whole bundles and chains. Then the game with a partner is worked out, interaction with him in dynamics.
What do you need to start classes?
To start fully engaged, you must first find a suitable school and enroll in it. Unfortunately, there are not so many professional and experienced trainers, and often capoeira is taught in fitness centers and is presented as a direction of fitness.
It will take a little for training. First, it’s your attitude. Be ready to give your best and work hard. Secondly, it is clothing. It is not necessary to acquire a special form, any free things will do. And you can give up shoes altogether, without them it is much more convenient to do it.
Get started training and master this art!