Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Capoeira: The Art of Freedom

As a gal wandering with bare feet and an open heart across this lovely planet, my purpose is to meet others who are also on the quest for freedom and to truly express my sense of personal liberty. People search in different places, each in their own unique way. Some spend their lives feeling marginalized for desiring to be free, considering that the common folk love to live in cages! Thankfully, my wandering ways landed me in Argentina and a lust for even more freedom brought me to a class of Capoeira.

Mestre Marcos Gytauna & Mestre Orelha
They are kicking... is it a fight? There are instruments... is it a dance? Everyone is smiling and clapping... is it a game? Ah-ha, that's the beauty of Capoeira ;) I'll let Dias Gomes, a Brazilian playwright, describe it:
“Capoeira is a fight for dancers. It is a dance for gladiators. It is a duel between pals. It is a game, a dance, a struggle, a perfect mixture of strength and rhythm, poetry and agility. The only one where music and singing command the movements. The submission of force to rhythm. Of violence to melody. Sublimation of antagonisms.
In Capoeira the opponents are not enemies, they are comrades. They don’t fight, they pretend to fight. In a very ingenuous way they try to give an artistic view of combat. Above the spirit of competition there is a sense of beauty.
The Capoeira player is an artist and an athlete, a player and a poet.”


The history (significantly summed up): 

Capoeira was developed by the African and Creole slaves that were brought to Brazil by the Portuguese. Slave rebellions were rare due to lack of weapons, and Capoeira was developed by the bold ones who craved the sweet taste of freedom. It arose as a hope of survival for an escaped slave, completely unequipped, in this hostile, unknown land and against the armed colonial agents. During their enslaved days, they disguised it as a dance in order to avoid punishment or execution for learning how to fight and defend themselves, which was forbidden to those who were legally defined as property. The art's trickery and cleverness were able to be hidden in its playfulness. With music and rhythmic moves, they raised no suspicion of escape attempts.

Capoeira's meaning today

Each person that practices the art has a different answer to the question "What does Capoeira mean to you?" Some will say, that it represents happiness, communication, energy, gratitude or community. For me, it expresses pure FREEDOM.

Freedom from the constraints of current human life which have us depending on solely our feet to walk (many Capoeira moves involve being on both hands rather than feet, or using the hand as the anchor to the ground while throwing a kick). Freedom from the rules of gravity that make us believe we aren't meant to do back flips. Freedom from the language and cultural barriers. Social and economic status, race, gender, age and language are put aside once a capoeirista enters the Roda (the circle formed around the two players).

In Capoeira, you need to use cleverness and deceit to trick your opponent, sneak in kicks and also to avoid their attacks. This little bit of malice that each of us has inside is able to be expressed and cleared out of our systems in the form of a good-hearted game. Aggression and competitiveness are used in a positive, product way.

What has always attracted me to learning new languages and traveling to unknown lands is my general interest in human life and the ability to connect with others. Not only through words, but now through body movements, play and music am I able to communicate and express myself. Beautiful! A few months in, and I'm falling more in love with Capoeira every day.

Check out some videos:


  1. muy buen punto de vista sobre este arte hermoso¡¡¡¡axe piolho

  2. Capoeira é arte e beleza!!! Corvo Preto Oriaxé