The Beautiful Tradition of Capoeira

Of all of the wonderful cultural traditions in Brazil, capoeira is one of the most interesting. A beautiful blend of martial arts and dance, it also incorporates drums and singing at the same time. This type of martial arts originated from enslaved individuals in Brazil who would combine their own cultural elements from their home countries with those from other cultures.

Tremendous physical and mental discipline is needed

This marital arts tradition requires extensive physical stamina and training, and participants spend time in the gym training in strength, mobility and acrobatics. Because of the risks associated with this activity, the government prohibited it until early in the 20th century. Although it does involve many dance and musical elements, it is best to describe capoeira as a sport.

This is a demanding and potentially dangerous activity. Participants will swing their legs at an opponent, coming very close to striking his or her head, legs, groin, or stomach. Sometimes participants will attach blades to their ankles or hold them between their toes while fighting. The intent of this is to move with grace and agility while avoiding contact with the other person. While now considered a game or cultural display, it is possible for capoeira to cause significant harm.

An amazing scene of grace, agility and entertainment

During the game, the opposing parties will stand and face each other within a circle of other fighters. They will typically time their movements along with the beat of the music, likely played by live musicians and singers. As capoeira has gained popularity in Brazil, clubs and training facilities have begun offering classes in this activity. 

This unique form of artistic expression and athletic skill is unique to Brazilian culture, and it is a wonderful way to engage with the many dance-related traditions there. If you are able to visit this beautiful country, take the time to see capoeira for yourself and experience this beautiful tradition firsthand.