Mestre Bimba                     (1900-1974) - 
Creator of Capoeira Regional, 
the modern style of capoeira

Capoeira (kah-po-AIR-uh) is an Afro-Brazilian art form--a fusion of self-defense, acrobatics, dance-like moves, culture, song, music, tradition, and philosophy.  It's at the same time a graceful fight-dance of attack and defense movements, and an athletic game with the objective of using wit and skill to make the opponent lose their balance and fall. 

Capoeira developed in Brazil over 400 years ago in response to slavery.  An estimated 1.3 million Africans were imported into Bahia as slaves, double the number imported into the USA. These displacd Africans adapted cultural traditions and disguised fighting techniques with dance-like moves, music, and singing as a way to resist oppression and aid in their struggle for identity, survival, and freedom. Capoeira was an effective means of self-defense that was practiced on the plantations and was used to defend freedom in quilombos, or runaway slave communities.  The most famous quilombo was Quilombo dos Palmares, which had 20,000 inhabitants and resisted attempts by the Portuguese and Dutch to destroy it for over 65 years, finally falling in 1694.

After slavery in Brazil was abolished in 1888, capoeira developed a reputation as a street fight, and often involved the use of weapons such as knives and razors.  It became outlawed by the Brazilian government in 1890 and carried a 2-6 month jail term for those found guilty of practicing capoeira. 

It nearly became a lost art form until it was rescued by Mestre (Master) Bimba, whose work helped to "legitimize" capoeira.  In 1932, he opened the first registered capoeira academy, developed a distinct learning method and modern style of capoeira calledLuta Regional de Bahia (Regional Fight of Bahia) or more commonly known today as "Capoeira Regional."

Capoeira became officially recognized by the Brazilian government as the national sport of Brazil in 1972, and today is Brazil's second largest sport after soccer. Through a lifetime of research and dedication to the preservation of the art by grand masters such as Mestre Bimba and Mestre Pastinha, capoeira has gained respect and admiration in Brazil and throughout the world as a genuine Brazilian martial art, folkloric dance, fight-sport, cultural manifestation, and educational tool. 

    background and history of the afro-brazilian martial art


Mestre Pastinha               (1889-1981) - 
Father of Capoeira Angola, the traditional style of capoeira

Salvador, in the northeastern state of Bahia, was the first capital of colonial Brazil (1549-1863) and is the homeland of capoeira. Today, it is the cultural capital of Brazil, rich with African influences and a population of over 2 million. 

what is capoeira? ‚Äč


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