Capoeira (pronounced Kapo-way-ra with soft vowels and a rolled ‘r’ ) is a fighting art integrated with music, dance-like movement, gymnastics and theatrics. It was created by Africans, taken to Brazil and forced to live under a brutal system of slavery.
Capoeira is practiced and expressed in a performance of the entire art form. In fact the fighting aspects of the art are deliberately kept ambiguous and many outsiders remain unaware of its intricacies. The ‘fight’ is practiced as a game but without winner, loser or the scoring of points. The emphasis on escaping untouched to counter attack leads to the weaving of kicks and constant dance-like motion. There is joking, taunting, theatrics and gymnastics and just when everything appears fine, the sudden explosive attack.
Besides the ambiguity of the ‘fight’ there are other aspects of Capoeira that keep people mystified. The gymnastics, something that looks like a waltz and the music and song all add to the deception. Many martial arts practitioners look at a capoeirista standing on their head in a game and just roll their eyes at the golden opportunity they could have taken. It is important to remember in viewing and in practicing this art that capoeira is not just about fighting skills. All art forms, martial arts of course included, have intricacies undetectable to outsiders or beginners and capoeira is certainly one of those. It is an art of deception, full of malice and so beautiful to watch.
Our school, Capoeira Pasifika Mandinga, will be hosting our Second Annual International Capoeira Encounter, the largest capoeira event ever held in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. There will be several expert Brazilian teachers including the international head of our school Mestre Marcelo Caveirinha who will be returning for the third time. Marcelo was the model for the Sony Play Station Tekken III character Eddy Gordo. Mestre Jogo de Dentro will also be returning. He is the head of a large traditional school of capoeira and is the senior student of one Capoeira’s oldest practicing masters. Two senior students of another Capoeira elder will also be there. We are also intending to hold classes on traditional Maori weaponry, patu and taiaha.