Capoeira is a dynamic expression of Afro-Brazilian culture. The game of capoeira derived from a variety of ceremonial dances and ritualized forms of combat, that most likely came from the western nations of Africa. Capoeira became an activity that drew together people of African descent, becoming a nucleus for maintaining African traditions in the Americas. From the 1900’s on, capoeira began to cross ethnic backgrounds and cultural borders. Today capoeira is an international activity practiced all over the world. It embodies the spirit of community and gives its practitioners a means to personal growth and liberation from social and personal constraints.
We understand capoeira to be a martial art form that has maintained dance-like elements and music, to become a deceptive fight and enjoyable means of personal expression. 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 and challenging process of personal expression, self-reflection, and growth.
”a dance-like fight, a fight-like dance, a song, a way of life!”