What is Capoeira Angola?

Capoeira Angola is a dance of fighting that originated in Portuguese Brazil during its colonization in the 16th Century. It preserves the aboriginal traditions of slaves- Brazilian and African, mixing dance and rituals. The Capoeira was used by slaves to fight against their oppressors to obtain in such a way, their freedom.

Many years later, with the abolition of slavery and the acceptance of Capoeira as a national sport in Brazil, it began to be taught at formal academies. The first person to create a group of Capoeira Angola and preserve the traditions was Joaquim Vicente Ferreira Pastinha (1889-1981) , better known as Mestre Pastinha.

Angola is as much a dance and a game as it is a fight. No part has more emphasis put on it than another has. It is also much more than solely self-defence. Capoeira Angola is never taught with the intentions of use for fighting, although this has played a major part in its history and development over the years. Mestre Pastinha classified the teaching of Capoeira Angola in 1937 when he set up his first academy in Salvador, Bahia. His teachings came from love and respect for others but with a developed understanding of the human condition- it’s emotions, its personalities; the way’s of the world and its people.

Capoeira is a language – it is a manifestation of corporal, mental and spiritual expression. The teacher or mestre teaches his students the ‘words’ so that they might communicate, and with time and experience they can develop their own ‘phrases’ and ‘sentences’ with their own unique style.

Theories of diverse anthropologists indicate that the Capoeira obtained its movement copying the actualities and ways of animals like the monkey, the camel, the crocodiles and the fight of the cobras amongst others.

Traditional Capoeira is characterised by concentration and attention to ritual and music, and by the jogo de dentro or ‘inside game’. Players spend most of their time in a close game of dextrous moves of cunning and entrapment, often at a slow or medium pace. Faster jogo’s do occur with sudden explosive trips, kicks or head-butts (but these are rarely executed to completion! You should only show your partner in the game that you could of caught them out).