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Legacy of Capoeira

Capoeira is an Afro Brazilian Martial Art that mixes combat, game, music, philosophy and acrobatic movements. Capoeira was created during the 16th century by the slaves in Brazil. The "game" of Capoeira was played by the slaves who were forbidden from fighting as a way to resist the oppression and maintain there own culture. A circle of people gather and sing and clap while the game is played inside the circle, this circle is called the Roda. As well as the clapping and singing an instrument called "Berimbau" is played which dictates the rhythm, speed and type of the game.

In Brazil the slavery was abolished in 1888 and the Free-Slaves could then practice Capoeira with no restrictions. However the practise of Capoeira was outlawed in 1890 due to an apparent association with criminal gangs and the punishment for practising Capoeira was the cutting of the tendons in the back of the feet of a Capoeirista (person who practises Capoeira). Despite the harsh punishment for those caught, Capoeira was still practised. As a further method of maintaining anonymity from the law Capoeiristas chose nicknames to hide there identities.

For over 40 years Capoeira was treated as an illegal form os sport, but in1937 Manuel dos Reis Machado, Mestre Bimba, performed to the Brazilian Presidente Getúlio Vargas, his "new form" of playing Capoeira called "Uma Luta Regional de Bahia" (A regional fight from Bahia) impressing the President who then announced Capoeira as the unique and only genuine Brazilian Sport putting Capoeira back to legality.

Capoeira has in its essence two names who are responsible for the spread of the Art around the world and who are also the biggest names of their respective styles, they are:

Vicente Ferreira Pastinha - Mestre Pastinha (1889 - 1981)
Manuel dos Reis Machado - Mestre Bimba (1900 - 1974)