What is Capoeira?

June 21, 2024


Capoeira is a unique Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music. It is a cultural phenomenon that has gained popularity around the world for its dynamic movements and rich history. In this glossary, we will explore the origins of capoeira, its techniques, and its significance in Brazilian culture.

Origins of Capoeira

Capoeira has its roots in the African slave trade, where enslaved Africans in Brazil developed the martial art as a form of self-defense and resistance against their oppressors. The movements of capoeira were disguised as dance to avoid detection by slave owners, allowing practitioners to train and practice without drawing attention.

Techniques of Capoeira

Capoeira is characterized by its fluid and acrobatic movements, which require strength, agility, and flexibility. Practitioners use a combination of kicks, sweeps, and spins to outmaneuver their opponents and maintain control of the game. The game of capoeira is played in a roda, or circle, where two players engage in a dialogue of movements and music.

Significance in Brazilian Culture

Capoeira has deep roots in Brazilian culture, serving as a symbol of resistance, freedom, and unity. It is often performed at cultural events, festivals, and celebrations, showcasing the rich heritage of Afro-Brazilian traditions. The music of capoeira, played on traditional instruments such as the berimbau and atabaque, adds a rhythmic element to the martial art.

Capoeira Styles

There are several styles of capoeira practiced around the world, each with its own unique techniques and traditions. Some styles focus on the acrobatic and flashy movements of capoeira, while others emphasize the martial aspects of the art. Popular styles include Angola, Regional, and Contemporânea, each with its own distinct characteristics and philosophy.

Training and Discipline

Training in capoeira requires dedication, discipline, and perseverance. Practitioners must develop their physical and mental abilities through regular practice and conditioning. In addition to learning the movements and techniques of capoeira, students also study the history and philosophy of the art, gaining a deeper understanding of its cultural significance.

Capoeira Community

The capoeira community is a tight-knit group of practitioners who share a passion for the art and its traditions. Many capoeira groups and schools offer classes, workshops, and events for students of all levels, creating a supportive and inclusive environment for learning and growth. The camaraderie and friendship within the capoeira community are an integral part of the experience.

Benefits of Capoeira

Capoeira offers a wide range of physical, mental, and social benefits for practitioners of all ages. It improves strength, flexibility, and coordination, while also enhancing focus, discipline, and self-confidence. The rhythmic music and dynamic movements of capoeira provide a unique and engaging workout that promotes overall health and well-being.

Capoeira in Popular Culture

Capoeira has made its mark in popular culture through movies, music, and television, showcasing its dynamic and visually striking movements to a global audience. Films such as “Only the Strong” and “Besouro” have brought capoeira to the big screen, while musicians like Mestre Bimba and Mestre Acordeon have popularized the art through their music and performances.

Capoeira and Globalization

As capoeira continues to spread around the world, it has become a symbol of cultural exchange and diversity. Practitioners from different backgrounds and nationalities come together to share their love for the art, breaking down barriers and building connections through movement and music. Capoeira’s universal appeal transcends language and borders, uniting people in a shared passion for creativity and expression.


In conclusion, capoeira is more than just a martial art – it is a way of life that embodies the spirit of resilience, creativity, and community. Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or a curious beginner, capoeira offers a unique and enriching experience that celebrates the beauty and diversity of Brazilian culture. Join the roda, feel the rhythm, and discover the magic of capoeira for yourself. Obrigado!

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.