Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music, and is sometimes referred to as a game. It was developed in Brazil mainly by African descendants with native Brazilian influences, probably beginning in the 16th century. It is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for a wide variety of kicks, spins, and highly mobile techniques.
Capoeira's history probably begins with the beginning of African slavery in Brazil. Since the 17th century, Portuguese colonists began exporting slaves to their colonies, coming mainly from West Africa. Brazil, with its vast territory, received most of the slaves, almost 40% of all slaves sent through the Atlantic Ocean.
Playing capoeira is both a game and a method of practicing the application of capoeira movements in simulated combat. It can be played anywhere, but it's usually done in a roda. During the game most capoeira moves are used, but capoeiristas usually avoid using punches or elbow strikes unless it's a very aggressive game.
The game usually does not focus on knocking down or destroying the opponent, rather it emphasizes skill. Capoeiristas often prefer to rely on a takedown like a rasteira, then allowing the opponent to recover and get back into the game. It is also very common to slow down a kick inches before hitting the target, so a capoeirista can enforce superiority without the need of injuring the opponent. If an opponent clearly cannot dodge an attack, there is no reason to complete it. However, between two high-skilled capoeiristas, the game can get much more aggressive and dangerous.
The Roda is a circle formed by capoeiristas and capoeira musical instruments, where every participant sings the typical songs and claps their hands following the music. Two capoeiristas enter the roda and play the game according to the style required by the musical instruments rhythm. The game finishes when one of the musicians holding a berimbau determine it, when one of the capoeiristas decide to leave or call the end of the game or when another capoeirista interrupts the game to start playing, either with one of the current players or with another capoeirista.
In a roda every cultural aspect of capoeira is present, not only the martial side. Aerial acrobatics are common in a presentation roda, while not seen as often in a more serious one. Takedowns, on the other hand, are common in a serious roda but rarely seen in presentations.
MALANDRAGEM AND MANDINGA
Malandragem is a word that comes from malandro, which means a person who possesses cunning as well as malícia (malice, in English). This, however, is misleading as the meaning of malicia in capoeira is the capacity to understand someone's intentions. In Brazil men who used street smarts to make a living were called malandros. Later the meaning expanded, indicating a person who is a quick thinker in finding a solution for a problem. In capoeira, malandragem is the ability to quickly understand an opponent's aggressive intentions, and during a fight or a game, fool, trick and deceive him. Similarly capoeiristas use the concept of "mandinga". Mandinga can be translated into magic, or spell, but in capoeira a mandingueiro is a clever fighter, able to trick the opponent. Mandinga is a tricky and strategic quality of the game, and even a certain esthetic, where the game is expressive and at times theatrical, particularly in the Angola style. The roots of the termmandingueiro would be a person who had the magic ability to avoid harm due to protection from the Orixás.
Many of the songs are sung in a call and response format while others are in the form of a narrative. Capoeiristas sing about a wide variety of subjects. Some songs are about history or stories of famous capoeiristas. Other songs attempt to inspire players to play better. Some songs are about what is going on within the roda. Sometimes the songs are about life or love lost. Others have lighthearted and playful lyrics.
Capoeira Angola refers to every capoeira that keeps the traditions held before the creation of the Regional style. Existing in many parts of Brazil since colonial times, most notably in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Recife, it's impossible to tell where and when Capoeira Angola began taking its present form. The name Angola starts as early as the beginning of slavery in Brazil, when Africans, taken to Luanda to be shipped to the Americas, were called in Brazil black people from Angola, regardless of their nationality
The name Angola was finally immortalized by Mestre Pastinha at February 23, 1941, when he opened the Centro Esportivo de capoeira Angola (CECA). Pastinha preferred the ludic aspects of the game rather than the martial side, and was much respected by recognized capoeira masters. Soon many other masters would adopt the name Angola, even those who would not follow Pastinha's style.
The ideal of Capoeira Angola is to maintain capoeira as close to its roots as possible. Characterized by being strategic, with sneaking movements executed standing or near the floor depending on the situation to face, it values the traditions of malícia, malandragem and unpredictability of the original capoeira.
Capoeira Regional began to take form in the 1920 decade, when Mestre Bimba met his future student, José Cisnando Lima. Both believed that capoeira was losing its martial side and concluded there was a need to restructure it. Bimba created his sequências de ensino (teaching combinations) and created capoeira's first teaching method. Advised by Cisnando, Bimba decided to call his style Luta Regional Baiana, as capoeira was still illegal at that time.
The base of Capoeira Regional is the original capoeira without many of the aspects that were impractical in a real fight, with less subterfuge and more objectivity. Training was mainly focused on attack, dodging and counter-attack, giving high importance to precision and discipline. Bimba also added a few moves from other arts, notably the batuque, old street fight game practiced by his father. Use of jumps or aerial acrobacies was kept to a minimum, since one of its foundations was always keeping at least one hand or foot firmly attached to the ground. Mestre Bimba often said, "o chão é amigo do capoeirista" (the floor is a friend to the capoeirista).
The Luta Regional Baiana soon became popular, finally changing capoeira's bad image. Mestre Bimba made many presentations of his new style, but the best known was the one made at 1953 to Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas, where the president would say: "A Capoeira é o único esporte verdadeiramente nacional" (Capoeira is the only truly national sport).
Grupo Capoeira Brasil is an organization that practices, teaches, and demonstrates the Afro-Brazilian martial art of Capoeira. Grupo Capoeira Brasil practices a style of Capoeira known as Capoeira Regional Contemporânea. This style is derived from movements and sequences developed and systematized by Mestre Bimba's Luta Regional Baiana, the adapted techniques of Grupo Senzala, as well as influences from the founding Mestres of Grupo Capoeira Brasil, each of whom brought personal contributions specific to their ideology, stylistic methodology and personality.
Grupo Capoeira Brasil was founded on January 14, 1989 by Luis Roberto Simas, Paulo César da Silva Sousa, and Paulão Sales Neto known in the capoeira community by their nome de guerra: Mestre Boneco, Mestre Paulinho Sabiá and Mestre Paulão Ceará, respectively. All three Mestres had trained under Grupo Senzala, one of the most influencing capoeira groups and pioneers of Capoeira Contemporânea during the late 1960s and 70s. Paulão, Boneco, and Paulinho trained under the guidance of Mestre Camisa.
During the late 1980s, as a result of different ideologies, many of Grupo Senzala's "Corda Vermelhas"/"Red Cords" (Grupo Senzala's highest graduation) left to pursue their own work. As such, Grupo Capoeira Brasil was inaugurated in the city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in honor of the recent centennial of the abolishment of slavery in Brazil.
Grupo Capoeira Brasil has spread internationally with over 1.300 groups and 400 instructors throughoutBrazil, as well as, in Africa, Australia, China, France, French Guiana, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Caledonia, Poland, Spain, Canada, Venezuela, Taiwan, Turkey, Colombia, Argentina, Chile New Zealand, and the United States.
LEVELS, BELTS AND COLOURS
Grupo Capoeira Brasil uses eight different colors in their graduation system. They are: Yellow, Orange, Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Brown and Black. Beginner students (before becoming Graduados) have transitional cords between the main cords, for example: Yellow and Raw cord.
The highest-level color should be worn on the top, as shown in the image.
Raw (Beginner/Iniciante): Students begin their Capoeira training at this level. The Corda Crua, translated as Raw Cord, signifies that rather than being seen as inexperienced, students are seen as being full of potential for growth.
Yellow/Raw (Aluno Batizado): Typically, this is a cord given to students to welcome them to the world of Capoeira. Here the students begin to learn the names of techniques and start learning the chorus of basic corridos.
Yellow (Aluno): At this level, students have a basic knowledge of the fundamentals, such as esquivas, kicks and ground movements. They begin to demonstrate a novice understanding of the Capoeira game and application of movements.
Orange/Raw (Aluno): Students begin to understand the importance of developing their game, as well, as the importance of organization in the roda. A comprehension of fundamental techniques, its appropriate name and application begins to develop.
Orange (Aluno): At this level students have a much deeper understanding of the Capoeira game. They now begin utilizing many different kicks and acrobatic movements. Students are also capable of singing solos during a roda. Knowledge concerning the group origins and history of capoeira is important in the student's development. At this level, students begin to learn and develop techniques of Angola.
Blue/Red (Estagiário a Graduado/Monitor): Students earn the title of Estagiário a Graduado/Monitor at this level. Estagiário a Graduado study class from an outside perspective as they themselves begin learning how to teach, and may even be able to teach under the supervision of their instructor. They also aid any lower-ranked students in need of assistance. They have a large repertoire of songs. As Capoeiristas, students at this level have a knowledge of the fundamentals and are able to fully incorporate it, movimentação and acrobatic movements in the roda. Estágiarios begin to learn variations of kicks, cadência do jogo and tempo de entrada. Their Angola games also begin to develop. At this level, they are introduced to Mestre Bimba's Jogo de Balões - Cintura Desprezada.
Blue (Graduado/Instrutor): At this level, students earn the title of Graduado, which means "Graduated". Students have a proficiency in the fundamentals of their Capoeira Brasil lineage, Mestre Bimba's Eight Sequences, Cintura Desprezada, history of the group and capoeira, and a developed game dependent of the toque. In a sense, this is also a new beginning for students, a new "Corda Crua", because, as mentioned before, assessments are based on teaching ability, loyalty and Group expansion. They must learn to share their own knowledge with other students. It is for this reason that students at this level are encouraged to begin teaching a class of their own. Students that teach a class of their own may be given the title "Instrutor."
Green (Instrutor Avançado): At this level, Capoeiristas continue to improve on their overall skills, which now includes the ability to teach. They are very strong in the roda, and are equally as strong when teaching a class. Their strength comes from their ability to incorporate Malicia, or deviousness, into their game. It's malicia that gives Capoeiristas their ability to surprise and confuse their opponents.
Purple (Professor): To reach this level, Capoeiristas must have proven themselves to be skilled martial artists in the roda and outside their Group. They are proficient teachers and trusted to be a representative of the Group. Professors are regarded very highly, as they have come very far and have devoted their lives to being part of Capoeira. Their malicia skills continue to increase, since they now have the ability to apply the knowledge they've gained within the roda to their dealings in the outside world, and vice-versa.
Brown (Formando): In Grupo Capoeira Brasil, brown cords are not referred to as Contra-Mestre (literal translation meaning Against the Master), as in other groups, rather they are correctly addressed as "Formando". Formando means graduating in Portuguese, as the student is reaching the culmination of Grupo Capoeira Brasil's cord levels. They are not only some of the most important figures of their group, but in the world of Capoeira itself. They are the right hand of the Mestres within their lineage, and are so esteemed and honored that, even at this level, they are respected as Mestres. Formidable players in the roda, Formandos can seamlessly combine all of their skills into a fierce and relentless game.
Black: (Formado): The black cord was created as an homage to Zumbi dos Palmares, a legendary figure in the story of the abolition of slavery. This is the apex for students of Grupo Capoeira Brasil; the highest and hardest level to achieve. Once graduated to the black cord, the capoeirista is then titled "Formado", or Graduate. A black cord is known as “Formado” or "Corda Preta" within Grupo Capoeira Brasil. The black cord does not indicate that one is a “Mestre.” A Mestre is not formed nor graduated. Instead, this is something he becomes and is recognized within the capoeira community with time, dedication, loyalty, humility, knowledge of fundamentals and acquisition of political and social conscience. This is the ideology of Grupo Capoeira Brasil. A black cord or “Formado” only becomes a Mestre after being officially awarded the title.
Mestres are legendary for their skill, wisdom, and tact both inside and out of the roda. They have solidified their Capoeira by consolidating all of the physical skills they've learned through their years of training with the cunning and trickery they've learned through their life experience. Mestres work to preserve the teaching of the founders, legacy of the grand fathers and "Velha Guarda" of Capoeira's past and the heritage of Capoeira's Afro-Brazilian roots. They impart their wisdom and experience in creating students and professors of quality and character. Mestres comprise the top echelon of all Capoeira groups, and it is therefore their right to oversee and supervise the on-goings of the group they lead.
In Zanzibar our grand Mestre is Mestre Juruna and other two mestre under him is Mestre Biriba and Mestre Popoban. Only one of our Mestre is Zanzibari born and that is Mestre Popoban with the collect knowledge as Mestre of capoeira we believe that Capoeira brasil have a lot to offer to Zanzibar and as well as te whole nation. We aim to create a groups around the island as Capoeria Brasil has done all over the world to embrace the culture, tradition and philosophy of this traditional sport of Capoeira.