Capoeira is an art form initially practised in Brazil only, but today practised all over the world. Scholars and non-Brazilian students alike are being more and more intrigued by it. Its incredible aesthetic is usually the main attraction. To the onlooker, Capoeira appears as a simple pass-time or a harmless activity. However, to the initiated it is much more than that. It combines martial arts with dance, acrobatics, music and rituals. Capoeira is a fight, a sport, a performance, music, a song, a school and a way of life. It is at the same time a weapon, an illusion and deception. Capoeira is a metaphor, a conversation, an improvisation and a repository of tradition. Playing Capoeira is to enact, solve, and confront real life situations in a scaled down and supportive environment.
Capoeira includes many styles and approaches to the game. However, most capoeiristas acknowledge 2 broad forms of Capoeira: Angola and Regional. Capoeira Angola is thought of as the traditional form of Capoeira. This game is slow and close to the ground. It often requires the players to balance on their hands and head. It is a mischievous and agile game. Capoeira regional is the ‘modern’ version of Capoeira. It is a game that is high and fast and requires great fitness and strategy. Lewis describes a 3rd form which he calls atual or contemporary or even post-modern. This is a form where players borrow elements from both forms, the traditional and the post-modern (Lewis, 1992).
The game of Capoeira happens to the sound of music in a circle called a Roda. Capoeiristas, musicians and onlookers form a circle around the Roda. Music is crucial to Capoeira as it leads the game. It is played by an orchestra of berimbaus (a metal string attached to a long piece of wood, hit with a stick and stone which resonates through a gourd), pandeiros (tambourine), atabaque (drum) and agogo (cow bell). Two players enter the roda where they interact and improvise with each other according to specific rules and using attacking, defensive and acrobatic moves. They end their game with the entrance of another 1 or 2 players or by order of the master.
The object of the game is for the capoeiristas to use finesse, guile and technique to maneuver one another into a defenseless position rendering them open to a blow, kick or sweep (Dossar, 1992, p. 7).
Capoeira Academy teaches modern Capoeira – using elements of Angola and Regional.