What is Capoeira?
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art developed in the 1500s by African and
indigenous slaves in Brazil as a form of self-defense from their oppressors. It is marked
by its agile and tricky movements that may be executed anywhere from an upside-down
position, to a gravity-defying kick. It has a strong acrobatic component in some styles
and is always played with music. The word Capoeira is an indigenous word meaning ‘tall
grass’. If slaves managed to escape, they would often use this grass to hide in and
ambush their masters.
Styles of Capoeira
There are two main styles of Capoeira, along with many other less distinct ones. One is
called Angola, which is characterized by tricky, low play with particular attention to the
rituals and tradition of Capoeira. This style is often described as slow. However, it may be
just as fast as the next style, but with different rituals. The other style is Regional, known
for its fluid acrobatic, high-flying kicks and powerful attacks. Speed and agility are
common traits of this style. Both styles of Capoeira are marked by counter attacks,
feints, and use lots of ground movements along with elbows, hands, kicks, head-butts,
sweeps and other take-downs.
What is Capoeira not?
Capoeira is not easy. Nor is it “just for super-fit people.”
Capoeira is not “break-dance fighting.” Yes, we've seen that episode of Bob’s Burgers.
Capoeira is not ineffective. If you hold such a belief we encourage you to come find out
Is Capoeira for regular people?
Yes. Anyone of any age, gender, or body type can be successful in Capoeira. Once you
know the basics you can mold the game to your abilities and do things you never
What are the benefits of doing Capoeira?
In addition to the obvious increased cardio health, flexibility, balance, self-defense, and
strength, we offer this expanded list of benefits:
Improved conversation-starting ability
Learn a new language
Develop music skills you never knew you had
You’ll be a smash at parties
Are you a smoker? Not any more.