Capoeira An Introductory History

Brief Description Of Capoeira

Capoeira is an art form hat involves movement, music, and elements of practical philosophy. One experiences the essence of capoeira by “playing” a physical game called jogo de capoeira (game of capoeira) or simply jogo. During this ritualized combat, two capoeiristas (players of capoeira) exchange movements of attack and defense in a constant flow while observing rituals and proper manners of the art. Both players attempt to control the space by confusing the opponent with feints and deceptive moves. During the jogo, the capoeiristas explore their strengths and weaknesses, fears and fatigue in a sometimes frustrating, but nevertheless enjoyable, challenging and constant process of personal expression, self-reflection and growth.

Historical Background

During the Middle Ages, Portugal suffered a drastic decrease in its labor force as a result of human loss in the war for independence from Castile, and from a series of epidemics of devastating proportions. Moreover, a huge deployment of people to Africa and India in Portugal’s colonial endeavors intensified the crisis (Pinsky1988: 14). Gomes Eannes de Azurara was one of the first to register Portugal’s incipient attempt to replace its productive hands, narrating how Antáo Gonçalves in 1441 captured and took the first Africans to the Infant D. Henrique, King of Portugal (in Rego 1968: 1-2). By the early 1500s, Portugal had begun extensive human trafficking from Africa to its South American colony of Brazil.

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Capoeira is a Brazilian art form which combines fight, dance, rhythm and movement. Capoeira is a dialog between players – a conversation through movement which can take on many shades of meaning. The details of capoeira’s origins and early history are still a matter of debate among historians, but it is clear that african slaves played a crucial role in the development of the artform. Some historians claim that slaves used capoeira’s dance-like appearance as a way to hide their training of combat and self defense. Capoeira’s many styles come out of the context of two principle branches that were formalized in the first half of the twentieth century following capoeira’s legalization. This is only the beginning of the story – look below to find out more.

Fight Science Snip-it:


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