Antonio Carlos de Menezes (Mestre Burguês) was born on the 6th of September 1955 in Laranjeiras – Sergipe – Brazil. When he was only 3 months old, he moved with his family to Rio de Janeiro. His first contact with capoeira was at the age of 12, when he was going through the 6th grade at the Escola Evangelica in Ramos, RJ, Brazil, next to Escola de Samba Imperatriz Leopoldinense. He used to play football in a neighbourhood where there was a capoeira player nicknamed China who would always cause trouble and beat him and his friends. One day he decided to begin practising capoeira so that he wouldn’t suffer any more assaults from China or anyone else.
His first master was a book, which his friend Nelson bought and together they began training their first capoeira moves in the Morro do Alemao, Ramos, RJ, Brazil where Nelson lived. After some time their enjoyment grew and so they felt that they needed a tutor in order to improve their knowledge in the art. They began attending Mestre Mentirinha’s Rodas, and from the beginning they identified themselves with Mestre Paulão, Mestre Mentinha’s brother, who was also beginning to teach along with Mestre Silas in the “Clube do Bolinha”.
Before starting to take part in the classes they had no money to pay. They gathered copper, lead, old bottles and paper which they managed to sell all, earning enough money to pay for the classes 3 months in advance. This was so unusual at the time that Mestre Paulão and Silas thought they were rich and gave them the nicknames of Conde (Count) and Burguês (Bourgeois).
Later on, his friend Conde ended up putting capoeira aside, while the boy – Antonio Carlos de Menezes – became Mestre Burguês .
Mestre Burguês, after going through very hard times of cold, hunger, financial difficulties, prejudice and discrimination, managed to face several obstacles and to establish Grupo Muzenza in the South of Brazil which is nowadays known throughout the world.
Mestre Burguês took part of the foundation of Federação Paranaense de Capoeira (The Parana State Federation of Capoeira) in 1985; he was one of the founders of the Confedara ção Brasileira de Capoeira (The Brazilian Confederation of Capoeira) in 1992; he helped to found and is still the president of the Superliga Brasileira de Capoeira (Brazilian Super League of Capoeira) since 1998; he published 2 books: The Study of Capoeira in 1978 and Capoeira Lyrics in 1982; and he released 19 Capoeira CDs, including one which was recorded in Canada. In 1995, he created a newspaper in which the purpose was to bring back the tradition of capoeira and to help all capoeira players. He has also lectured several workshops in more than 25 different countries.