Capoeira is one of the most unique martial arts practiced in the world today. But isn’t most martial arts little more than punching and kicking? Seems like a silly question, especially for someone who practices a martial art, but the simple answer is, yes. Where most martial arts focus on punching and kicking techniques, Capoeira is in a league of its own. The most simplistic description of Capoeira is a combination of martial arts, gymnastics, and dance. By combining music with the other aspects associated with the sport, Capoeira transcends traditional aspects of martial arts ,and actually reaches a high level of performance quality that makes this martial art more of an art form than anything else.
Although it is an amazing martial art to train in, it is also quite difficult to find a school that teaches it. Unlike most martial arts that have become widespread, Capoeira is still fairly small in North America, but more and more schools are beginning to pop up. The other problem that students face when the opportunity presents itself is that it is a very demanding martial art to master. Complete dedication is an absolute necessities, but if new students focus on the fun aspects of music, dance, and singing associated with Capoeira, the sky is truly the limits. Before the decision to dedicate oneself to the Afro-Brazilian martial art, it is important and fascinating to explore this sport’s rich history.
What is Capoeira?
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music, and dance. It was created in Brazil by slaves from Africa by mixing the different fighting styles from their tribes, sometime after the fifteenth century.
Start to Learn Capoeira
Beginning to learn Capoeira may seem to be a daunting task at first because the reason people want to join the martial art is because of the crazy movies they see online. But the fact of the matter is that like all other things in life, you have to start at the beginning and work your way to the top one step at a time. There is no instructor in the world that will expect you to do handsprings and back flips on your first day, so you just have to relax and go with the flow.
The first steep in learning this unique martial art is to find an instructor. Unlike other things that can be learned from books and videos, there is no possible way you can learn this martial art on your own. Sure, you can mimic some of the movements, but to truly understand the movements, you must have an instructor. A good instructor will introduce you to all the elements of Capoeira not just the movements. To understand Capoeira, you must also understand the rich history and music along with the mystery behind it all. Your first step in finding an instructor is to simply do an internet search for Capoeira and your home town. In large cities, there are typically an abundance of instructors and schools, but small towns may prove to be more difficult.
Once you have found your instructor, it is time to start training and learning what Capoeira is that cannot be known from the outside. As a beginner, you will be overwhelmed with information at first, but with concentration and dedication, you will find the absorption of the information quite easy, but you must position yourself in such a way that you will maximize your learning. You must respect your instructor at all times despite their method of teaching or their strange rules they may have in class. Since you are beginning to build a strong bond with your instructor, it is essential to show your respect in order to build a strong foundation.
Your method of training will go a long way to your learning of the martial art. If you truly want to learn Capoeira, it is essential to train regularly, and to also commit your body and mind to your training. By doing this you will learn and improve much faster than someone there half the time and your instructor will learn to respect you in return. More important to training hard in class is training hard outside of class. When sitting at home, there are always opportunities to watch Capoeira videos, listen to Capoeira music, practice singing Capoeira music or playing the instruments. The easiest way to train outside of class is when you don’t want to train. When you’re watching TV, movies, or playing video games, you should be stretching the entire time to increase your flexibility. By practicing on your own time, it only increases how much you learn in class and really immerses you in the world of Capoeira.
The best part about learning Capoeira is there are essentially no costs associated with equipment. At most, a uniform is supplied by the instructor for a relatively low cost to the student, and at certain stages in the student’s development; a new belt is presented to the student to represent certain stages of development in the student’s skills. Like most martial arts, the student wears no shoes, but depending on the school, martial art shows may be worn on the digression of the instructor. The only other cost associated with learning Capoeira is the actual cost of the training to learn the martial art. Since the martial art is still relatively new to North America, new students will find that as new schools open to begin teaching new students, classes will be relatively inexpensive, but as class sizes and popularity grows, costs may rise accordingly.
Capoeira in Popular Culture
Since Capoeira has such a strong performance quality, it seems like its transition to film and television was in the martial art’s destiny. It didn’t take producers long to realize that the martial art is simply amazing to watch and that people would love to see it in movies and television shows. The most influential movie that featured Capoeira from beginning to end is the film Only the Strong. Although the movie was generally poor in quality, it did showcase the sport and its positive influence on its students and society. The movie basically featured out of control teens that are taught Capoeira as a last ditch effort to turn the kids straight. If it is a movie that is unknown to you, it is interesting to note that the movie was recently remade into the film Take the Lead featuring actor Antonio Bandaras and dancing instead of Capoeira. Other influences of Capoeira in movies includes Aeon Flux where Charlize Theron trained and performed Capoeira movements, many of Wesley Snipes’ action films feature Capoeira (one of the many martial arts he practices), and in the film Transformers, Jazz showcases his Capoeira for Sam when they first meet.
It is interesting to note that for some reason or another it is usually the bad guys that are featured practicing Capoeira in television. For instance, in the famous television show Kung Fu, featuring the late David Carradine, encounters an Afro-businessman that is trained in Capoeira. The martial art first entered public consciousness in the Uk from the Nokia Mobile 2000 advertisement showing a Capoeira being practiced on a beach. Once instance where Capoeira is practiced by a good guy is in the hit kids television show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers where the character Zack, the black ranger, uses a martial art style that includes forms of dance.
It is almost impossible to see Capoeira performed and not instantly thinkm Break Dancing! Developed in the 1970, break dancing has many analogous moves , and because many Brazilians had immigrated to the Us during this time, they would practice Capoeira in the streets that highly influenced this new dance form. Although original break dancers claim the dance form is based on kung fu films, the comparison between break dancing and Capoeira is quite apparent.
Capoeira is one of the most fascinating martial art in the world today, and the only reason it isn’t more popular than it currently is right now is because the fluid movements and rhythmic music looks so fantastic. There is a mistaken belief that the martial art is impossible to learn because it appears to be difficult, but in retrospect, every martial art looks difficult from the outside. After training in a martial art for days, months, years, it becomes a second nature to yourself that outsiders think is amazing yet you think it is normal. One of the most compelling reasons to join this martial art over all others is that the focus is on techniques not on using your techniques to hurt another person. In most competitions, there is little or no contact present. In one matched viewed online, one master performs a three minute handstand until his competitor mirrors the image of the first. No contact whatsoever, just skill and love for the sport. But the true fact that most people don’t understand is that every single person is capable of performing the movements, singing the songs, and playing the instruments of Capoeira because with dedication to the sport, anything becomes possible, and everything is outrageous fun.