Video: Capoeira

Hi all – Oops, like like this post didn’t post on Monday! Excuse the delay.


Hi all,

Hope that you had a good weekend. We had a marvelous one we, sunny during the day and just a bit cool at night.

Today’s video is about something uniquely Brazilian: Capoeira.

Defining capoeira is a bit tricky. It is kind of a dance, kind of a stylized form of hand-to-hand fighting, maybe a bit like the katas found in many forms of martial arts, but very rhythmic and practiced to a unique style of music which generally includes a funky instrument called the berimbau, which looks like a bow with a gourd attache – which is essentially what it is. Capoeira has today become popular as a form of exercise (for those younger and more flexible than I).

The origins of capoeira are somewhat in dispute. Certainly in Brazil it grew in the northeast, where it developed among slaves brought from Angola, Congo, and Mozambique. Whether capoeira is a transplanted African phenomenon or something uniquely Brazilian is likewise open to debate.

What is not in question is that a genuine exhibition of capoeira is impressive, and something you are not likely to forget. Oh, you’ll see wannabes on the streets of Copacabana trying to get tourists to toss money into a hat. But go to a school here, or better still in Salvador, and you’ll see the real thing. Students often begin quite young. While the sport (I’ll use that term for lack of a better one) is dominated by men, women also are finding their way into it.

Capoeira displays can be by individuals, but the most impressive demonstrations are when two “combatants” face off and begin their synchronized movements, sparring and feinting. You’ll see leg sweeps, roundhouse kicks, and acrobatic flips, as well as impressive displays of strength and balance.

The video today was shot at a school, and many of the practitioners are kids. Still, you will see some impressive moves.

A genuine capoeira display is a joy to watch. If I were a younger man, I’d like to give it a try myself.


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