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Capoeira takes both martial arts and break dancing and combines them into a style that resembles a dance and plays out like a game.


Two combatants stand in the middle of a circle “roda” formed by other participants and perform a dance/game consisting almost entirely of kicks and sweeps. Participants take turns sparring and playing instruments.
The tempo of the music defines the tempo of the “dance”, a slower tempo will look more like Tai Chi while faster tempos can get very acrobatic!
Combatants don’t usually punch or kick the other person, instead choosing to stop their attacks short to prove that they could have attacked. This makes Capoeira resemble a game of sorts, with each person constantly attacking or strategically evading an attack. Illusion and trickery are key concepts to Capoeira as they are essential for getting the upper hand on your opponent.


There are two main forms of Capoeira, Angolan and Regional. The truth is that most groups practicing Capoeira will mix the two and come up with their own style. Similar to how a language can differ based on where you live, so can the styles of Capoeria practiced in your area.

  • Angolan Capoeira is the more traditional style and tends to have a closer proximity to your opponent.
  • Regional Capoeira is a more modern version with less of the acrobatic movements.


Created by African slaves brought to Brazil, Capoeira is almost entirely kick-oriented. Their masters outlawed martial arts, so the slaves disguised their training as a dance and would even use certain beats of the music to warn when police were approaching. Capoeira was outlawed in Brazil until 1928, ever since then is had been increasing in popularity and spreading across the world.


Real Life Application

As is obvious from it’s history, Capoiera is a fun martial art to learn but is also effective for self-defense. One of Capoiera’s “games” is for two combatants to stand clost to each other with one arm in the air, waiting for one to make the first move so the other can counter. This teaches reaction and instinct, both of which are essential to protecting yourself on the street. Keep in mind that this art is highly focused on kicking and is best used when confronting an opponent head-on with plenty of space between you. We would recommend combining Capoiera with a ground/grappling style such as Judo or Jujitsu if you want to be able to defend yourself in any situation.


There are a number of different instruments used in Capoeira, but here are the 3 most common:


The lead instrument, sets the tempo for the game/dance.Berimbau


A large drum that can be used in addition to or in place of the Berimbau.



Similar to a Tamborine, this is smaller and more portable than the Berimbau or Atabaque.

To hear what these sound like, go to Capoeirsta.com as they have some great sound clips.

Famous Capoeirsta

Wesley Snipes – Capoeira, Karate (5th Degree Black Belt)


Capoeira4all | Capoeirista | Capoeira

Example Video

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