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History of Capoeira


History of Capoeira by Mestre Amen

These are two possible places of where capoeira originated from, Africa, or Brazil. Many historians found art form that may have been the origin of capoeira. Like  N'golo practiced by the Mucope people near Luanda. This N'golo dance performed by young men on occasion of female puberty rite called eled efundula. The winner  of the zebra dance competition was awarded with a choice to marry a young female without paying a bride price. Also, in Martinique there is a martial art identical to capoeira, called Lagya. I was able to witness a demonstration of Lagya while I was performing in Martinique with the world renowned dance company Viva Bahia in the late 80's. That was the first time that I saw an art that resembles so much of Capoeira. There are several arts all over the African continent that could be somehow linked to capoeira that is why it is extremely difficult to say for sure from which specific area the art came from. I think it is important to understand when we talk about capoeira history, African influences cannot be denied. From my perspective whether Capoeira was brought from Africa or Created in Brazil, it is still an African base art form and as an African Brazilian I believe that it is my duty to teach my students from an African Brazilian perspective.

What does Batuque Means By Mestre Amen: There are many meanings of this particular word such as rhythm, and fighting. Batuque was an African fighting  style that Mestre Bimba used to create Capoeira Regional. Mestre Bimba learned the Batuque Fighting Style from his father during his childhood. Mestre Bimba's father was a champion of Batuque. Batuque was a game played in Bahia in the early part of the twentieth century by African Slaves which were brought to Brazil but now extinct. A similar game, Pernada was popular in Rio de Janeiro around the same time. Players stand in a circle, one player stands in the center in a defensive position, and another moves around him, suddenly attacking. The attacking player tries to throw the defending player to the ground with blows from his legs.