Archive for marital arts

Capoeira of Brazil

Posted in CULTURE, HISTORY, South America with tags , , on June 9, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Capoeira was created more than 400 years ago by enslaved Africans from Angola who were brought to Brazil. Capoeira was a means of defense from the violent enslavers. It was formed to disguise their training as mere singing and dancing. They incorporated music, dance and flexible movements into combat theories. It used techniques brought from African such as call and response in songs that inspired freedom and gave tribute to their homeland. They also used instruments brought from Africa such as the tambourine (pandeiro), bells (agogo), and the berimbau.

Training took place in the middle of a circle (roda). Two capoeiristas would practice at a time so to further the disguise of dancing. The mask used indirect contact and non-threatening moves because slaves were not allowed to show any aggression. Thus, slaves learned the art of maladro, or trickery.

Capoeira was used for revolts against slavery. It was taught to men, women, and children alike. In 1892, Capoeira was outlawed in Brazil. Teaching, practicing, or using capoeira was severely punished. In the spirit that kept capoeira alive for 400 years, it became a underground movement. Capoeiristas took on nicknames that were descriptive of their style or body type. Rodas  were practiced in concealed places.

In 1937, Capoeira was legalized for promotion as a Brazilian sport. Today, Capoeira is a popular form of martial arts for the young and old, men and women. It is practiced all over the world. It has been incorporated into popular dance, it seen in television and movies.

Austin Capoeira Foundation

Posted in CULTURE, North America, South America, Spotlight with tags , , , , on January 20, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

“joga bonito que nós queremos ver”

Austin Capoeira Foundation, ACF, is a nonprofit organization founded by Seitu Beck, also known as Instructor Feijᾶo. ACF is focused on developing an awareness of Brazilian culture by providing affordable instruction of various arts. Capoeira is an African Brazilian art that combines martial arts and music with dance. ACF teaches Capoeira Luanda, a form of Capoeira that was created in 2007 by Mestre Jelon Vieira.  Mestre Jelon is a world renowned master and teacher from Bahia, Brazil. Instructor Feijᾶo began his training under the instruction of Mestre Jelon’s nephew, Professor Lalo. Instructor Feijao also teaches Samba and African Brazilian percussion.  ACF holds Capoeira classes for both students and adults on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, from 7pm to 9pm. Saturday, music classes are held from 1pm to 2pm and 2pm to 4pm for Capoeira. All classes are located at the Pan Am Recreation Center, 2100 East 3rd St., Austin, Texas. Joga bonito que nόs queremos is Portuguese and roughly translate to we want to see it played beautifully. Austin Capoeira Foundation is in the Spotlight.

Find out more about the Austin Capoeira Foundation at

Photo by Ming Gong