What is Capoeira? Capoeira is a martial art that was developed by enslaved Africans who were brought to Brazil from West Africa by Portuguese colonists in the mid-1500s. Capoeira seemed to be different things depending on the situation. Under the watchful eye of the slave oppressor, Capoeira appeared to be a harmless dance, but in reality the slaves were preparing their skills for the freedom they desired.
Many enslaved Africans escaped bondage, hid in the back lands of Brazil and formed free communities called Quilombos, the largest one being Palmares. Here, thousands of Africans, people of mixed backgrounds and conscientious objectors lived as free citizens. Portuguese and Dutch armies were sent to destroy these free cities. For nearly one hundred years, they were successful in fighting off the invading oppressors. Quilombo dos Palmares had two reigning Kings (Ganga Zumba and Zumbi), making it the only known African Kingdom outside the continent of Africa. The Kingdom was not founded on colonial desires, but rather on the need for liberation from the harsh unethical system of slavery perpetrated by the Portuguese and the Dutch.
In 1888, slavery was finally abolished in Brazil. African-Brazilians moved to the towns and cities, bringing with them their culture and traditions. Capoeira survived in the poorer neighborhoods despite harsh persecution by the police.
In the early 20th century, the first Capoeira academies were opened. The guarded tradition was passed from elder masters to young disciples. Capoeira has become an art form that can now be found across all ages, classes, and backgrounds.
What is Capoeira Angola? It is the traditional form of Capoeira, which emphasizes freedom of movement, wisdom over force, and strategy over speed. Capoeira Angola also has an array of different games to play and to choose from.
“Capoeira in the roda. Capoeira in your life.” – Mestre Nô
“Capoeiristas are like chameleons, blending and adapting to their environment. The best Capoeiristas appear calm when they play. Their game flows without resistance, defies gravity, and at the right moment, they strike.” – Mestre Ombrinho
“The street is the university of Capoeira” – Mestre Pinóquio