Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, music, and self-defense. It originated in Brazil during the colonial period when African slaves developed it as a way to preserve their culture and resist oppression. Capoeira has deep roots in African traditions and incorporates elements of various African martial arts and dance forms.
Key features of capoeira include fluid and agile movements, kicks, sweeps, dodges, and acrobatic maneuvers. It is characterised by its unique style of play called "jogo," where two practitioners engage in a rhythmic and strategic interaction within a roda (a circle formed by fellow participants). The jogo involves exchanging attacks, defenses, and evasions while maintaining a continuous flow of movement. Capoeira is not solely focused on combat; it is also an expression of cultural identity, creativity, and camaraderie.
Capoeira is accompanied by music played on traditional instruments, such as the berimbau (a musical bow), atabaque (drum), pandeiro (tambourine), and agogô (double-bell). The music sets the rhythm and energy for the movements and interactions within the roda, and participants often sing traditional songs in a call-and-response style.
Over time, capoeira has evolved and gained international recognition. Today, it is practiced by people of diverse backgrounds, both as a martial art and a form of physical exercise, cultural expression, and social engagement. Capoeira classes and academies can be found in many countries around the world.
It's worth noting that capoeira is not just a physical practice but also encompasses elements of philosophy, history, and cultural heritage. It promotes discipline, respect, resilience, and community bonding among its practitioners.