I wrote this page as a “sequel” if you will, of the “KNOWLEDGE IS EMPOWERMENT” PAGE.
As I explained you on that page, in a bit of a roundabout way, enslaved warriors were taken all over the “New World”, and although many of them may have “Gone along to get along” , many also resisted, fought, and many times, they WON…
Now, I want to go a bit further. First, Let me “Type” a bit about the title of this page:
“Capoeira was not created in a vacuum”
Okay, for some of you, that may be totally obvious. To others, not so.
Somehow, they think that capoeira was the ONLY martial art developed by “African Slaves” in the new world.
Well, that’s just not true.
During the African Holocaust of slavery many Africans were brought all over the “New World”.
Among those Africans were many warriors, and with them came their Martial Sciences. For obvious reasons most of the arts went underground or died out.
However, many have survived.
On this webpage, I’m gonna cover some of these martial arts, as well as some martial arts still practiced in Africa, and then we’re gonna end with some Hybrid arts that were developed here in the Diaspora in the 20th century.
And a BIG SHOUT OUT to Da’mon Stith of AUSTIN WARRIOR ARTS, who is my main inspiration in creating this particular page.
Although I’ve never met him, his work with learning and “recreating” the way warriors may have used the African Martial Sciences in the past, and now even forging some of these BLADES, has been a HUGE inspiration for me…
Now, let’s get started.
African Diasporic Arts of South America
These arts were developed by the enslaved Africans who were brought to South America.
You’re probably wondering why I’m including a section for capoeira on this page, considering the fact that this WHOLE WEBSITE is dedicated to capoeira.
Well, I do have a reason.
Until now, I focused on capoeira forms from the state of Bahia in Brazil, because that’s where nearly all the capoeira styles practiced around the world comes from.
However, there are forms of capoeira from other parts of brazil, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Particular, and I’m gonna use this section to shine a light on them.
Capoeira Carioca refers to the type of capoeira played in Rio De Janeiro during the 19th and early 20th centuries (Carioca means “born in Rio”).
in Rio de Janeiro, maltas, or street gangs, recruited thugs that the newspapers called “capoeiras” and used them to extort money from people. Politicians employed these same thugs to persuade people to vote for them, and eventually election reforms led to new bans on capoeira.
I typed about the MALTAS of Rio in much more detail on another PAGE.
Apparently, Capoeira in Rio was a vicious fighting style, and its teachers eliminated all the pretty moves that were not much use in real fights. Capoeira Carioca also included training in weapons (Although there is also weapons training in Bahian Capoeira, not too many schools teach them nowadays). These weapons were straight razors, canes, and wooden sticks which I go over a bit on another PAGE. Not firearms, because those were expensive.
And also, this was the first capoeira form to be documented in a military manual. It was written in 1907 by a naval officer who preferred to stay anonymous (Capoeira was still illegal after all), and was entitled “The Guide of Capoeira — Brazilian Gymnastics.” The idea was probably to introduce a national form of fighting into recruit training, as the British had done with boxing, the French with savate, and the Japanese with judo.
In 1916, Captain Ataliba Nogueira and Lieutenants Lapa and Leite, all of them members of the Military Police, published another “Manual of Capoeira.” Intended for military personnel only.
I’ve added this video playlist to showcase some of the practitioners of Capoeira Carioca (Capoeira From Rio De Janeiro) as well as Historical Information about the gangs in Rio de Janeiro (Maltas) who practiced capoeira in the 1800’s.
These videos are in Portuguese, so if you don’t speak the language… well it’s a good time to learn, is it?
I also want to show you this video of Dennis Newsome, AKA Mestre Preto Velho. Not only is he a Mestre in Capoeira, he is also one of the leading practitioners of African martial arts here in the United States.
He has served as a technical advisor and fight choreographer for “Lethal Weapon” and other blockbuster hits, and he’s the subject of many articles appearing in national and international martial arts Magazines, News Papers and Books.
The style of Capoeira that he teaches is CAPOEIRA ANGOLA de SAO BENTO GRANDE, an aggressive form of capoeira from Rio de Janeiro, which he learned from his Mestre, the Living Legend, MESTRE TOURO…
For more information about Mestre Preto-Velho and what he does, go to https://www.malandros-touro.com/
So, what is Tiririca exactly?
Well, you can read more about it HERE (If you can read Portuguese…)
If you can’t read portuguese, below is an english translation of the same article, from WWW.PORTALCAPOEIRA.COM
CHRONICLES OF CAPOEIRAGEM TIRIRICA: The “Capoeira of São Paulo”
By: Pedro Jungers Abib
September 2, 2010
An old discussion that seems to have no end is that eternal dispute over the origin of capoeira: Bahians swear it was in Bahia, Cariocas rage saying it was in Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, in turn, don’t even want discussion: the capoeira is from Pernambuco, see !!!
I personally prefer not to get into this fight and say that capoeira, like samba and other manifestations of Afro-Brazilian culture, does not have a birth certificate. They appear in various places and regions of the country, taking different forms and even known by different names. We can even say that wherever black Africans arrived, some cultural movement was organized there to remember their homeland, through dance, music, drums, rituals. This is how most of the cultural manifestations of our popular culture of Afro-Brazilian origin arose, in several different places and times. Capoeira is Brazilian… and that’s the end of it !!!
In the city of São Paulo, for example, there are news and reports of a very popular manifestation in the first decades of the 20th century, known as Tiririca. According to the elders, in the region of the Bom Retiro neighborhood and its surroundings, there was a very large contingent of recently freed black workers, and in their meetings in Largo da Banana, in their free time, the drumming “comia loose”. Now, where there is drumming and a lot of black people gathered, you can only play samba or capoeira…or both together.
That’s what happened, and many times, according to a famous rogue from the area who is still alive – Toniquinho Batuqueiro – the drums were improvised in shoe shine boxes making the marking, and the grease cans acted as tambourines, as well as to this day, another famous samba rogue from São Paulo – Germano Mathias, performs at his shows.
Toniquinho says that when the drumming started, the roda was formed and “the Creoles would go to the center of the roda to tap, and then only those who were bamba would stay in the roda, because every time someone came in to challenge, jump, kick, to debunk whoever was in the center of the circle”. This was the famous Tiririca, which, not unlike capoeira, was a dispute between bambas in the roda, where skills and bodily dexterity were used to measure courage. And be careful with the police, because “…when it came down, it was just a rush” explains Toniquinho Batuqueiro.
Nowadays we no longer have records of the practice of Tiririca in São Paulo, leaving only a few living testimonies of that time, all linked to the samba of São Paulo, such as Osvaldinho da Cuíca and Carlão do Peruche, not to mention a great samba singer who has passed away, who was also a excellent practitioner of Tiririca, the great Geraldo Filme.
This is an excellent topic for capoeira people from São Paulo to research, in an attempt to find more information about the origins of capoeira in the “land of drizzle”.
Now, here are some clips of TIRIRICA that I put together from YouTube. I hope you enjoy them.
– JOGO DO PAU
Jogo do pau, (The stick game) is a Galician and Portuguese martial art which developed in the regions along the Minho River: Minho, Trás-os-Montes, Pontevedra and Ourense, focusing on the use of a staff of fixed measures and characteristics.
The origins of this martial art are disputed, but its purpose was primarily self-defense. It was also used to settle arguments and matters of honor between individuals, families, and even villages. While popular in the northern mountains, it was practically unknown elsewhere, and those who did practice it were taught by masters from the North of Portugal and Galicia.
However, when some of these stick-fighters immigrated to Brazil, I believe that this art mixed with stick fighting arts from enslaved sub-Saharan Africans, creating a hybrid form.
MACHETE Y BORDON
There are many different variations of Colombian Grima and they differ throughout the country. These different styles are called “juegos”. Juegos differ in utilization and movements.
Styles of Machete Y Bordon
- Español Reformado was played at long ranges with long erect stances and linear footwork.
- Palo Negro was practiced at close range and trained in circular walking patterns.
- Relancino was similar to Palo Negro but emphasized deceptive attacking combinations and the defensive utilization of low-crouching positions and double handed blocks.
Other examples include; Sombra Caucana, Cubano, Español, Venezolano, Costeño and many others. Each style slightly differs in stance, range, footwork, tactic, and choreographed sequence, but follow the same eight common core strikes and defenses.
For more information about this martial art, click HERE.
African Diasporic Arts of North America
These arts were developed by enslaved Africans and their descendants in North America.
-Knocking and Kicking
A fearsome kicking and head-butting art developed by the African slaves.
During the African Holocaust of slavery, many African warriors were captured and with them came their traditional fighting arts. Stick fighting to a very limited degree and the art of kicking and knocking were sometimes permitted. I added this clip from the film, “MANDINGO” to illustrate what these “boxing” matches on the plantation may have been like.
If you want to know more about this art, click on the title below to read this article from VICE SPORTS:
Jailhouse rock or JHR is a name used to describe a collection of different fighting styles that have been practiced and/or developed within US penal institutions. I already posted a bit on this art in another PAGE, but I’m posting this video playlist showcasing the art here, because, I like this art, and it was created in the U.S. of A., where I’m from.
KOKOBALE is an Afro-Puerto Rican Martial Art that utilizes the stick and machete. For more information about this Martial Art, click HERE to read the article, “Reclaiming the Past: The Afro Puerto Rican Art of Cocobalé”, by Miguel Machado.
Mani, a dance-fighting martial art much like Capoeira, was spread in 19th century among slaves of sugar plantations in Cuba. Only the men take part in it. The dancer in the circle does movements simulating fight, and chooses a protagonist among the others men of the circle. Then the elected “adversary” comes in the circle, and, in harmony with the other dancer, executes a choregraphy of movements, beetween fight and dance.
(or Bénolin) a fighting art of Guadeloupe.
(or Mayolé) Mayolet is a stick fighting martial art from Guadoloupe.
A Haitian martial art developed by the African slaves residing there.
Tire Machet is a Haitian martial art; a form of fencing with machetes.
The origin of the practice lies in the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804, in which rebel slaves, many armed only with the machetes they had used to cut sugarcane, defeated the French colonial army. Tire machèt combines traditional African combat systems with elements of historical European fencing. It is traditionally practiced in secret.
Jeu de bâton (Stick game)
This tradition that has existed since the colonial period in St Domingue, was also a means of combat used by the native army during the war of independence. It is also a martial art inspired by the forms of African combat. A variety of stick styles such as : “Baw Blan”, “Migel” and “Pati kola” were used during this activity. An intangible cultural heritage strongly practiced and preserved in the Artibonite.
-Esgrima con Machete Dominicana
-Danmyé (a.k.a. “Ladja”) is the first martial art to ever be practiced in Martinique. Some slaves from Senegal and elsewhere, that were on there way to the island of Gorée created a fighting art inspired by the initiation ceremony of “Ngolo”, which symbolized the passing from adolescence to adulthood and included a confrontation which took the form of a fight. Fights were practiced in festivals, village fairs, and appointed fights until 1947, when the authorities banned Danmyé. There are many places to practice: in pitts, in front of a bank during a carnival, and bèlè events (what ever that is). The wrestler has to get the upperhand of his opponent while respecting the drummer’s pace. A fighter can win by referee’s ruling afte a decision blow, one of fighter being hit more than the other (amount of points in a 2-minute fight), lifting your opponent off the ground, or being immobilized on the ground (Kakan). It combines strikes with wrestling and grappling skills. The wrestlers determine the fightin space by dancing around in a ring to the rhythm of the drum, known as the introductory stage of the fight. The wrestler then draws an invisible circle which represents a magic space and any person entering the circle is an opponent. However, all strikes must be restrained and given without intending to hit. They can only be given to drive the opponent to refuse a hand-to-hand fight. The wrestler has to hit and move in harmony with the rhythm or the guilty party would be disqualified. The main goal is to score more points than the opponent does and hit without being hit.
Bajan sticklicking (often spelled stick-licking) is the traditional form of stick fighting in Barbados. It is a stick fighting martial art that has its roots from Africa, where two participants used fire-hardened wooden sticks, varying in length as weapons and carrying out fighting techniques. This art most likely came to Barbados during the 16th century through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
(or Kalinda) It is believed that kalinda began around 1860 when the freed slaves organized themselves into competing bands and held performances. Men, women and children gathered to sing, dance and be entertained by stick fights. The aim of each stick fighter was to deliver a blow that would hit the opponent on the body – any part above the waist – hard enough to fell him to the ground. Blows were usually aimed at the head and damage to the skull was a very common occurrence in stick fighting. The rules of the game were few. Hitting under the belt or striking a player when he fell or was forced to kneel was an infringement. Again, as long as a player’s skull was cut he had to retire and drain the blood into the “blood hole”, a hollow made for this purpose in the ground in the center of the fighting ring. The stick used was between three and four feet long and was about seven-eighths of an inch in diameter. It was made of cog-wood, the wood of the yellow poui tree or even the sour guava.
These Martial Arts were developed in Africa.
This Angolan art’s sole purpose is to immobilize the opponent. However, because of the high risk of injury, the modern objective is to only knock them down. A predecessor of Capoeira.
An Angolan martial art and predecessor of Capoeira, this art is much like modern Slap Boxing, it consists of bashing your opponent open-handed.
(or Ngolo) An Angolan ritual martial art (used by the Bantu and Mucupe peoples) in which two males would fight in order to win a bride presented by the parents of the girl (apparently). The fight uses both hands and feet all to knock the opponent down. The winner would prove his bravery in order to recieve his wife. A predecessor of Capoeira.
Libanda is a form of Marital Arts practiced by the Mongo people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, It is believed to have originated from people trying to emulate the fighting style of the Gorilla. It is a wrestling style that involves multiple fighters positioned in a circular ring with the goal being to body slam an opponent into the ground. The grappling style of Libanda is also believed to be an ANCESTOR of Capoeira taken to Brazil by slaves.
Tahteeb is played mostly in the Northern regions of Egypt by tuff men young and old who enjoy the challenge of a good fight, also it is a great way to show machismo and rack up potential brides. Like Surma stickfighting of southern Sudan, Tahteeb is played only by men and can get very bloody when two opponents do not particularly like one another. When Tahteeb is played nicely one man will attack and the other will only defend and then vice versa, but when men do not like each other and they play together suddenly the rules change and the real rules are announced, there are no rules. Due to the fullcontact aspect of Tahteeb, parrying and blocking are essentials to survival when playing the game, striking is the norm and joint locking is almost unheard off.
An ancient Egyptian boxing art still used today. The basis for Hikuta is the ancient art of Kuta. Today Hikuta is used for very modern reasons, mostly for Self-Defense.
GKP is a modern system of combatives developed by Simohon Giaquinto, an italo-eritrean International respected Master of Martial Art. This system is based on fusion of Knife Eritrean fighting and long experience of combat of Gran Master Alessandro Giaquinto and Master Simohon Giaquinto.
For more information about this art, Visit the Official You tube Channel of Simohon: http://www.youtube.com/user/MrSIMOHON
Testa, or Riesy, is a brutal Eritrean headbutting art. It may also include kicks, hand strikes, parries, grabs, etc. Hand, foot, and grabbing techniques are very intricate and are solely used in order to strike the opponent with the Big Knuckle, or head. A Testaman may even bite the opponent’s windpipe or groin out of pure desperation.
(Note: I could find no video of this system, But I’m gonna still leave the art description here.)
the stick fighting art of the Oromo people of Ethiopia
An Ethiopian martial art that is used as a way to convey cultural identity through a fighting system.
I could not find any videos of these particular fighting styles, so I posted this video depicting the BATTLE OF ADWA, when the Ethiopian forces defeated the Italian invading force during the First Italo-Ethiopian War.
-Surma or Donga Stick Fighting, is a test of nerves and brute strength. The Donga of Ethiopia is fought to prove masculinity, settle personal vendettas, and most importantly, to win wives. The 50 or more men who participate in each tournament represent different villages. The contestants fight in heats, with the winners going on to the next round until the competition narrows to two finalists. The winner of the last bout wins the entire contest
-Gambian Wresting (Borey)
Gambian Wrestling is an African martial art that is a deep-seated tradition and national sport. The warriors wear loincloths called “Juju’s” and strut, dance, spar, and brag in challenge of noisy support from the drums. The fight continues until a contestant is brought to the ground. Punching, kicking, spitting and flinging sand in the eyes is all legal. After sundown, the atmosphere builds with excitement as the champions come out to fight. Note: May be the same as Borey.
The fighting techniques and disciplines of the Massai people of Kenya. (Yes, I know their traditional homeland is also in Tanzania)
Moraingy (Malagasy) or Moringue (French) is a weaponless, bare-fisted striking style of traditional martial art that originated during the Maroseranana dynasty (1675–1896) of the Sakalava Kingdom of western coastal Madagascar. It has since become popularized throughout Madagascar, but particularly in coastal regions, and has spread to neighboring Indian Ocean islands including Réunion, Mayotte, Comoros, Seychelles and Mauritius.
is a Malagasy martial art focused on kicks and stick fighting.
– El Matrag (meaning “the stick”) a muslim martial art of Morocco.
Dambe, or Hausa Boxing, is a fist fighting system from Nigeria consisting of kicks, punches, knees and headbutts. Dambe is a savage method of empty hand combat and a testament to the creativity of African warriors.
Kokawa is a martial art practiced by the Hausa people of Nigeria
Igbo Traditional Wrestling
A kind of Wrestling practiced by the Yoruba of Western Nigeria
A martial art native to Nigeria
Laamb (a.k.a. “Senegalese wrestling”) is a wrestling art that takes place in Senegal. Before the event the beating of the drums along with the mellow voices of the singers will alert everyone that it’s about to start. The crowd would gather around a sandy pit and watch several bouts before the final bout of 2 champions. The fighters would wear “wrappers” around their waist, which would be provided by their fiancés or female relatives, and the rest of their body will be naked. The winner must knock his opponent’s knees, shoulder, or back to the sand. Strikes and slaps are allowed nowadays.
A martial art practiced by the Venda people of South Africa. It consists of punching, headbutting, earslaps, and knees.
-Nguni Stick Fighting
Stick-fighting in Nguni-speaking areas of South Africa has an educational role, it teaches young members of society social values, gender roles, the worthy nature and respectability of physical endeavors. Zulu and Xhosa boys begin learning at an early age the utilitarian function of sport, sharpening physical skills and mental attitudes necessary for hunting game and combat. The rise of stick-fighting as a physical contest created a stage for young boys to assert themselves within a specific age-group, achieve a social identity in competition with others, and, possibly, achieve a degree of ‘independence’ unavailable to the common person.
I typed a bit on South Sudanese wrestling on another PAGE. However, I want to show you this video, which has some wrestling and bracelet fighting, among other things.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…
Okay, I posted this video here because I believe it’s a pretty good comparison of the weapons and fighting tactics of both tribes, and besides, I’ve always wondered.
NEO-AFRICAN MARTIAL ART SYSTEMS
Neo-African Styles – Styles that aren’t native or traditional to Africa, but were developed recently from African martial art techniques and principles.
An Egyptian martial art that is based on totem animal movements and spirit dances.
Egbe Ogun Traditional African Martial Arts System.
PIPER is a system that is based on the knife fighting methods developed by the “number gangs” in South African prisons and the street gangs in the impoverished urban areas of Cape Town.
Originally consisting of snakelike body movements, strategy and footwork that tries to do harm to the enemy whilst maximizing your chances of surviving and initially being just an assortment of individual techniques and targets, this knowledge was systematized by Nigel February of Cape Town, South Africa and handed on to a number of Master Guardians and Guardians.
Mshindi Vita Saana- “Mshindi Vita Saana” is Kiswahili for “Champion War Art” or Victor(‘s) War Art. Mshindi Vita Saana is a system of self defense developed for and by people of African descent (African Americans.) Using an African frame of reference, Mshindi Vita Saana approaches self defense using rhythm, strategy, coordination and agility to highlight traditional and contemporary movements. At its core, Mshindi Vita Saana reflects the graceful elaborate polyrhythms found in African dance and music.
is a program opened as a workshop to teach Africans. It is based on Afro-Brazilian Dance, martial arts, culture, discipline, and philosphy.
-Afrikan Kimarekani Kutia Kivuli Ngumi
African-American Shadow Boxing. Derived from Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa. Used as somewhat a Revival for its predesescor and as tribute and as rembrence of the enslaved Africans
-Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa
Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa is a deadly fighting art that can be used as an educational system, a competitive sport, and a form of self-enlightenment. Although Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa attempts to remain consistant with the fighting systems of ancient African warriors, it does not emphasize the traditional methods of guerrilla warfare (Ambush, Assassination, and stealth). Instead emphasis is placed on internal development, meditation, breath control, and healing which includes medical gymnastic (self-defense techniques).
Kupigana Ngumi- Known as the “Essence of African Martial Arts,” Kupigana Ngumi is a comprehensive term that is inclusive of all Afrikan Martial Arts systems. Recognized for its rhythmic dance like movements, Kupigana Ngumi was founded in the 60’s by Shaha Mfundishi Massi and Nganga Mfundishi Tolo-Naa. Kupigana Ngumi Is a complete system designed around four areas of training they are: Cultural, Emotional, Mental and Fitness.
-Kiungo Cha Mkono
(a.k.a. “Shackle Hands” and “The Shackle Hand Style”) is an art developed by Master Nganga Mfundishi Tolo-Naa from traditional African arts. The hands are linked together based on the concept that two hands are better than one. It is also symbolic of Africans in slavery. It takes traditional blocks and strikes and combines into one action. This defense can be practical in application, but it is more flashy than anything. There are three levels, 1) hands joined at the wrist, 2) hands are separated, and 3) hands are crossed as the Egyptians are often depicted. The last being the highest level and symbolizes spiritual cultivation.
The family martial art of the Maasi Family, headed by Mfundishi Maasi
And last but not least, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine. I’ve included him and his style here because though he uses the word capoeira in his social media, he doesn’t consider what he does Capoeira, instead choosing to use the term “Kipura”, to describe what he teaches.
His name is Ras, an he’s a head coach of his family’s system, which he calls, “NJIA UHURU”, which means “The way of freedom”.
He’s a very controversial figure in the Capoeira world, basically because he has no problem telling people that 90% of what capoeiristas do has ABSOLUTELY NO VALUE in self-defense. He calls us “Cardio Capoeiristas”, meaning that what they do is great for exercise, folklore, and to get pretty girls to dance with you, but that’s all it’s good for.
He freely shares his knowledge on his social media, he makes videos doing what he does, and he has a good understanding of history. He doesn’t do what most capoeiristas consider to be Capoeira, which is another reason why people don’t like him.
However, others out there do like what he does, so for them, and for him, I’ve made this space for him here.
Below, I’m posting this small playlist that I made of some of his videos, specifically who he is and what he does and why he does it, so you can all see for yourself what he’s about.
Like I said, he’s very controversial, and though he has many supporters, he also has many haters. If you want to watch some videos one of his detractors made about him, you can do so by clicking HERE, but personally, I’m not about all that negativity. Some people like him, some don’t. It is what it is.
Below, I’ve posted links to all his social media. Here, you can contact him yourself, and see what he is about.
Website: https://sites.google.com/view/atacxgymcapoeiraYoutube:ATACX GYM STREET WARRIOR CAPOEIRA
Facebook Group Page: NJIA UHURU KIPURA SELF DEFENSE, GUNS, KNIVES, YOGA, POLITICS
Blogger: CAPOEIRA THAT WORKS
Quora: RAS NJIA UHURU
Once again, anybody can watch his videos, check out the links I just provided, and judge for themselves if he’s someone they want to learn from or not.
Now, this is by NO MEANS a complete list of the Martial Arts developed and practiced by the African people, or the diaspora. I left out quite a few martial arts, like BATUQUE, because I couldn’t find any videos of them. Others, like BROMA, I left out because I couldn’t find anything but the name itself.
But it doesn’t matter. The reason I created this webpage was NOT to show you these arts. The reason was to show 2 things. 1st…
A fundamental concept of slavery, To quote TJ Desch Obi, is that slavery says that the Slave master is the master of the slave’s body.
(And if that person accepts that concept, then “MASTER”, will be able to do anything he wants to HIM or HER.)
However, Capoeira, and the other Martial Systems that I described above, teach us inherently that WE ARE THE MASTER OF OUR BODIES.
And when we have that awareness, we realize that we are also THE MASTERS OF OUR MINDS AND SOULS.
And it is that spirit, in my opinion, which lead our people toward our liberation.
And, liberation comes in many forms.
For example, on the KNOWLEDGE IS EMPOWERMENT page, I typed that Capoeira was in part, developed as a response to the trauma that black people suffered during the slavery era.
Allow me to explain.
In neoropsych and neurobiology, the concept of play is important and has been studied to help people heal from traumatic experiences and other mental and physiological health related symptoms.
Learning through experience, failing and succeeding, and experiencing the consequences of one’s actions are considered to be the most important influence in achieving lasting change. In Capoeira, practitioners will experience failure as they learn to succeed, both individually and as part of a community.
Using the consequences of failure as motivation to succeed, positive outcomes are increased. In the Roda, progress is measured within the context of the community and against that community’s expectations.
For instance, all Capoeira Angola movements are done based on the ability of the student. For example, a AU (cartwheel) is a basic capoeira movement. A total begginer will only lift their legs a few inches from the ground keeping both hands on the floor. As the student advance, they will eventually be able to do a full cartwheel on one hand, or even NO HANDS. We begin with basic movements and progress learning the philosophy and culture of the art.
It’s community, working with each individual, which accomplishes the positive change in the capoeirista. The successes in the micro community of the Roda can be taken as an important measure of the ability for the capoeirista to succeed in the larger society outside of the Roda.
Capoeira Angola offers a way to channel aggressive energy into a positive experience. Capoeira mimics life’s interactions and teaches strategies, particularly that of overcoming hostility from a disadvantaged position. Capoeira as a art of liberation offers perspectives and strategies for dealing with social inequalities and personal obstacles.
There is even the spiritual aspect of healing in ceremony, collective group healing, etc…
…And this is why you have a mestre, contra mestre, prof etc… In the western sense these are therapists (or shamans, if you will). When things are performed right, these guides can use the technology that has been passed on for ages to access what it’s ‘subjects’ need…
Politics aside, I believe this is the reason people say that this art, this technology, if you will, takes about 20 years to learn under a qualified master.
Below, you will see on this playlist, some examples of how capoeira can change lives for the better.