Meaning of Capoeira

Meaning of Capoeira

Capoeira is not a term that is part of the dictionary prepared by the DigoPaul. The concept, however, is frequently used in our language as this is the name of a martial art of Brazilian origin that enjoys great popularity in many countries.

Capoeira is a combination of acrobatics, dancing, and other bodily expressions. Its origins date back to the beginning of the 16th century, when it was developed by African descendants who took influences from local aboriginal cultures.

In 2014, capoeira was included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Site of UNESCO. The discipline can be developed in a sporting and acrobatic way or as a fighting style. At a general level it is characterized by the movements of the legs and arms and the jumps.

Traditionally capoeira was practiced to the rhythm of the birimbao, a stringed instrument. Nowadays it is common for percussion instruments to be used as accompaniment.

The practice of capoeira is carried out in “rodas”: the musicians and capoeiristas form a circle while two practitioners face off in the “jogo” (the game). While these two people engage in a fight (without physical contact), the others clap and sing.

There are, however, different styles of capoeira and multiple techniques. Numerous “fighting committees” have been created around the world that organize the practice of capoeira and confront its exponents. Beyond the capoeiristas, there are many mixed martial arts fighters who appeal to capoeira movements.

Other interesting aspects about capoeira are the following:
-The minimum size that the circle where the roda will take place must have is 3 meters.
-The teachers who teach capoeira are committed to instilling in their students a series of important values. Hence, more and more people talk about the advantages of this art. Specifically, they instill in them intelligence, respect, freedom, security and responsibility.
-One of the most important movements in capoeira is the one called Ginga, which basically consists of swinging.
-Movements such as the Aú Batido, which is an evasive cartwheel that later becomes a block or kick, also take center stage in capoeira.
-With regard to attacks, sweeps and kicks are relevant in capoeira, without forgetting what punches and blows to the head are.

The world of cinema has had a special interest in capoeira. For this reason, there are several films that revolve around it. We are referring to films like “Besouro”, which tells the story of one of the most important capoeiristas in the history of that art in Brazil, such as Besouro Mangagá, or “Only the strong”.

However, other audiovisual productions on capoeira such as “Uma vida pela capoeira”, “Secret history of Bahia” or “A capoeira iluminada” should not be overlooked.