Comprising of a unique fusion of “dance, acrobatics, and musical elements” is a South American martial art form known as Capoeira. This “traditional” form of combat is said to have originated in Brazil mainly during the beginning of the 16th century. Apparently, this form of martial art was developed in the country by the “Angolan” slaves. Furthermore, the word “Capoeira” which literally means “jungle it was” is derived from a native Brazilian language called Tupi. In addition, on 26th November 2014 this form of martial art was officially granted the “intangible cultural heritage” status by UNESCO.
a. History/origin of the Capoeira:
According to the cultural history of Brazil, the Capoeira was first developed during the 16th century in the country. It was during this period that Brazil was under the colonial rule of the Portuguese. Furthermore, the colonial masters from Portugal during this period began recruiting slaves mainly from the African continent into Brazil. This recruitment of slaves by the Portuguese led to a formation of a large “Angolan community” within this South American country. It was thus, due to the basic need to survive in an unknown land that this community belonging to Angola in Southern Africa developed this martial art form which was eventually named “Capoeira”.
b. Weapon used in the Capoeira:
Since the “Capoeira” is essentially a combat form, the lower body part in the form of the leg is mainly used as a weapon. Furthermore, this form of martial art is renowned for “quick and complex” leg movements.
c. Technique involved in the Capoeira and training availability:
In terms of technique, the fighter must lay emphasis on using the lower body (i.e. the leg) with power, speed, and precision. Furthermore, this Brazilian martial art form comprises of a basic step known as “Ginga”. Now, the “Ginga” which literally means “rocking back and forth” is a crucial step in Capoeira, and is useful in both “attack and defense”. In addition, this step also serves to fulfill two main objectives for the fighter. These objectives are as follows:
Objective 1: Provides Stillness
This basic step called “Ginga” enables the fighter to be constantly on the move, thereby preventing him (fighter) from being a sitting target.
Objective 2: Allows use of body feints:
The “Ginga” also allows the fighter to be flexible and use “body feints” to confuse opponents.
As for training centers/schools, there are many available around the world for those interested in acquiring knowledge in this “traditional” Brazilian form of martial art.