Capoeira - Brazil: (pronounced Capo-wa-ra) is a Brazilian art form and self-defense; with strong aerobic and dance elements. It is a mixture of body and soul, fighting and dancing, of music instruments and voice requiring the use of mental physical and emotional agility. The emphasis is not on how well you sing or perform but on how much energy you commit to trying. It is a harmony of forces that gives you power, flexibility, endurance and self-discovery. Participants form a circle and 2 people at a time exhibit their skills in eluding and striking their opponent. The blows are not landed. What results is a highly aerobic, and fun mock fight with some very impressive moves.
Capoeira is a fast and versatile martial art which is historically focused on fighting outnumbered or in technological disadvantage.
The ginga (literally: rocking back and forth; to swing) is the fundamental movement in capoeira, important both for attack and defense purposes. It has two main objectives. One is to keep the capoeirista in a state of constant motion, preventing her from being a still and easy target. The other, using also fakes and feints, is to mislead, fool, trick the opponent, leaving them open for an attack or a counter-attack.
The attacks in the Capoeira should be done when opportunity arises and must be decisive, like a direct kick in the face or a vital body part, or a strong takedown. Most Capoeira attacks are made with the legs, like direct or swirling kicks, rasteiras (leg sweeps), tesouras or knee strikes. The head strike is a very important counter-attack move. Elbow strikes, punches and other forms of takedowns complete the main list.
The defense is based on the principle of non-resistance, meaning avoid an attack using evasive moves instead of blocking it. Avoids are called esquivas, which depend on the direction of the attack and intention of the defender, and can be done standing or with a hand leaning on the floor. A block should only be made when the esquiva is not possible. This fighting strategy allows quick and unpredictable counter attacks, the ability to focus on more than one adversary and to face empty-handed an armed adversary.
Here is a video clip from YouTube showing some talented practitioners demontrating Capoeira
Please refer to our references as we have used a few different sources for the basic explanation of each martial art discipline. Many of our direct links, images and text will be from the site Wikipedia which is not known for the most accurate information when it comes to doing a thesis or studying for ones P.H.D. but does have a large collection of data that is well organized. Much of the text regarding martial arts styles on Wikipedia seems to generally sum up each discipline as good as many other sources. We do not intend to re-invent the wheel, but we do want to roll you in a good direction in order to get a glimpse of each style.