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Capoeira Clips

Capoeira [ka.pu'ej.ra] is an Afro-Brazilian blend of martial art, game, and culture created by enslaved Africans in Brazil during the 16th Century.
Participants form a roda (circle) and take turns playing instruments, singing, and sparring in pairs in the centre of the circle. The game is marked by fluid acrobatic play, feints, subterfuge, and extensive use of groundwork, s as well as sweeps, kicks, and headbutts. Throughout the game, a player must avoid a sweep, trip, kick, or head butt that may knock him or her on the floor. Less frequently-used techniques include elbow-strikes, slaps, punches, and body-throws.

Capoeira has evolved from one main form, known as "Capoeira Angola", into two other forms known as "Capoeira Regional", and the ever-evolving "Capoeira Contemporânea".


Capoeira 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.

Mestre Bimba made a major contribution to the preservation of the art by opening the first academy for instruction in Capoeira. This was a significant development because it eventually led to the legalization of the art in Brazil, and allowed Capoeira to gain popularity at a time when the art could possibly have died out. A notable example of the influence of Mestre Bimba's system of formal instruction took place in 1937, when he was invited to perform with his students at an event at which Getulio Vargas (the president of Brazil at that time) was present.

Mestre Bimba also had a major impact on the practice and method of instruction of the art, and introduced changes that affect the practice of the art to this day. He called his variant of the form Uma Luta Regional de Bahia (A regional fight from Bahia). Mestre Bimba's Capoeira is now called Capoeira Regional, and subsequently many modern forms of Capoeira not directly derived from Bimba's teaching are also called Regional.
In 1942, Mestre Pastinha opened the first formal academy for instruction in the traditional form of the art, known as Capoeira Angola.

What does the word capoeira mean?
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 game

Capoeira 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 movements.
Capoeira primarily attacks with kicks, sweeps, and head strikes. Some schools teach punches and hand strikes, but they are not as common. The player also uses acrobatic and athletic movements to maneuver around the opponent. Capoeira defenses consists of evasive moves and rolls.

The Chamada means “call” and is a ritual that takes place within the game of Capoeira Angola. One palyer, by using understood guestures is “calling” the oponent to participate in the ritual, who then approaches the player and meets the player to walk side by side within the roda. The player who initiated the ritual then decides when to signal an end to the ritual, whereby the two players return to normal play. During Chamada there is a couple of potentially critical situations, because both players are now very vulnerable due to the close proximity and potential for surprise attack.

/source: wikipedia/



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