Capoeira Styles

Regional or Angola? This question is often asked in the world of Capoeira, but there is more than meets the eye, and, Capoeira cannot be constricted to merely these words. Historically, these two styles emerged with the advent of Mestre Bimba and Mestre Pastinha respectively. The former, seeing the decline of Capoeira, its deterioration and a possible loss of interest from the Brazilian people, who were drifting toward new martial arts derived from other countries, wanted to reaffirm the martial aspect of Capoeira. He therefore incorporated certain movements from batuque (his father was a batuque champion) and from jiu-jitsu, in order to make Capoeira more effective and give it some authenticity. The efforts taken by Mestre Bimba not only helped create a new style of Capoeira, but also made its training legal as long as it was practiced within the premises of an academy. This led to a partial recognition of Capoeira by the Brazilian people. On the other hand, Capoeira Angola is Mestre Pastinha’s “expression”, who wanted to preserve the authentic form of Capoeira. The word Angola comes from the African country, where Capoeira originated. Capoeira already existed before these two Mestres. If we go back to the time of slaves,...

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The Roda

The roda is the circle where Capoeira manifests. It is made up of Capoeiristas, but also could have spectators. In the centre, two Capoeiristas express themselves and have an exchange that is dictated by the sound of the bateria and the choir consisting of other participants. Occupying a portion of the circle, the bateria sets the key and directs the roda. It decides about the beginning, the stoppage, the speed, the intensity and the type of game to be played and also has to foresee a danger. The Gunga berimbau leads the roda. It’s a symbol of control, stability and maturity and is played by the one who is organising the roda, i.e. often the Mestre of the group, who initiates the roda but who can also delegate his role to another Capoeirista who can take his place playing the Gunga. The one playing the Gunga will also be the main singer. He therefore completes the circle of responsibilities to manage the roda. On the whole, the Gunga takes decisions about all the details of the roda, and its energy. Depending on the song he sings, he may recommend something specific or recount what is happening between the two Capoeiristas with a...

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