Talk the Talk

Though the two main styles of the art are Regional and Angola, in recent times some capoeiristas have blended the two and/or added new movements to their arsenal.

Any style that does not strictly stick to the two main systems are commenly known as Capoeira Contemporânea and while frowned upon by some more traditional capoeira mestres, are seen by others as fundamental in the future evolution of capoeira.

Walk the Walk

Modern capoeira arts combine to provide what is thought of as a game with no winners or losers as such, just two players demonstrating their skills, agility and control over their own bodies.

However it should not be forgotten that the capoeira moves being practiced are deadly techniques designed to hurt, subdue or even kill an opponent.

 Mestre Pastinha and Angola Capoeira

As a young boy growing up in early 20th century Brazil, Vicente Ferreira Pastinha decided to learn martial arts in order to stop bullies picking on him.

He found an African Mestre known as Benedito to teach him the various aspects of the capoeira arts and within a short space of time, the bullies learned to leave him alone.

Pastinha soon became popular as he would demonstrate his new found skills and teach capoeira to his school friends.

This set the stage for him to later become one of the best martial arts instructors the country has ever seen, respected and loved by capoeiristas across Brazil.

Traditional Brazilian Capoeira

The history of Brazilian capoeira is a turbulent one and traditionally the art was illegal until in the late 1920s, it was legitimized by Mestre Bimba, who introduced a system known as the Regional style.

However Mestre Pastinha believed that the set sequences and training schedules taught in the Regional style detracted from the true spirit of capoeira, which was for each capoeirista to find his or her own style.

This was more akin to the type of fighting practiced in the early history of the martial art, when slaves used dance to hide the fact that they were practicing deadly moves.

The best way to become prolific, according to Pastinha, was simply to watch other capoeira fighters, to get into the thick of things and learn by trial and error.

The Rise of Mestre Pastinha

Pastinha’s way of teaching really began to gain recognition in 1942 when he led one of the ‘Sunda’ rodas at the ladeira do Gengibirra. In the same year, the first Angola school, the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola was opened, changing Brazilian capoeira forever.

Music is a crucial part of the Angola style and sets the tempo for the capoeira fighters. Songs will also be sung and can refer to what is happening inside the roda, calling for more action, a more cunning battle, or both.

Further Reading

Mestre Pastinha.  [Internet].  2008.  Calunga.  Available from:  [Accessed February 27, 2014].

Mestre Pastinha and Angola.  [Internet].  2012.  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Available from: [Accessed February 27, 2014].

Shrewd Game: Capoeira Angola.  [Internet].  2002.  University of Florida.  Available from:
[Accessed February 27, 2014].

What is Capoeira?  [Internet].  2013.  Abolicao Oxford Capoeira.  Available from: [Accessed February 27, 2014].

 More Capoeira History

 Fighting Systems

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