What is capoeira?

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art-form that combines elements of martial arts, music and dance. Its origins have been traced back to the  the early 16th century, a time when African slaves had begun arriving in Brazil. Forbidden from fighting or training, the slaves would disguise the practice with music and singing to make it look like a game.

Today, Capoeira combines quick moves, kicks, acrobatics and leg sweeps. There are two main styles of Capoeira: Capoeira Angola and Capoeira Regional.  Capoeira Angola involves low, close to the ground movements, using “malandragem” and trickery to beat the opponent. It is the ‘original’ style that closely reflects how Capoeira was exclusively played until the early 20th century. In the 1920′s, the legendary Mestre Bimba created Capoeira Regional. Building on Angola traditions, Mestre Bimba introduced new teaching methods and brought in elements from other disciplines. Regional consequently has more martial arts  and acrobatic movements, and uses less musical instruments.

The mix of these two styles is called Capoeira Contemporânea, which draws inspiration from both Regional and Angola.