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What is Capoeira?

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

An introduction to the art.

Some describe capoeira as a martial art, others a dance, others consider it a street fight, or choose to focus on the folklore and culture. In truth, capoeira embodies all of this and more.

Capoeira is everything we want to take from it.

Do you have an interest in music?

Would you like to improve your fitness, flexibility, strength, confidence?

Would you like to explore a rich, interesting culture and history?

Are you interested in learning self defence?

In its entirety, capoeira is a cultural lifestyle, many consider it a way of life, but the real question is, what is Capoeira to you?

Abolição Oxford Capoeira is rooted in the teaching methodology of Capoeira Regional as created by Mestre Bimba.

Capoeira Regional was developed by Mestre Bimba as a way of teaching capoeira. He incorporated techniques from the traditional fight of Batuque and developed a sequence of learning to create an effective process for students to quickly develop the base fundamental techniques needed to play capoeira.

A Brief History

An often told story, is that of African slaves, who were taken from their homelands to work plantations in Brazil, using Capoeira as a fight for liberation.

The slave trade in Brazil created a melting pot of African Cultures, traditional practices from the homelands of these people, including war dances and musicality, were used to keep up morale and to maintain their cultural identities, and very likely, to help in their escape from captivity. In this era, capoeira as we know it, didn't exist. The development of this art has been long and organic, changes along the way came through necessity or circumstance. The history of old capoeira is a complex story of Quilombos, Malandros, famous warriors, gangs, outlaws, and eventually the practice being made illegal in Brazil.

Modern capoeira came from the fight for cultural recognition.

Mestre Bimba's work went a long way to making this happen, he opened the first school of capoeira, teaching 'A Luta Regional Baiana' (The Regional Fight of Bahia - so called, because at this time, capoeira was still illegal) in the Academia - escola de Cultura Regional. From Mestre Bimba's work with universities and government, Capoeira was first allowed in Academies only, at which point other schools were opened (notably the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola of Mestre Pastinha), then later went on to be made fully legal, and eventually gained the recognition it deserves as a culturally significant Afro-Brazilian art form.

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