Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines self-defense, dance, music, and acrobatics.
It's a movement game that is played by 2, surrounded by a group forming a circle, or roda (pronounced ho-da) around them, playing musical instruments and singing to keep the tempo of the game moving along. Many of the songs are sung in a call and response format like Kirtan.
Capoeira does not focus on injuring the opponent, but rather it emphasizes skill. Capoeira becomes an improvisational conversation in which the players maneuver one another into vulnerable positions. Capoeiristas often prefer to show the movement without completing it, enforcing their superiority, so there is often no contact at all.
Only the hands, head, and feet are allowed to touch the floor as the players perform cartwheels, handstands, spinning kicks and acrobatics. The free improvisation of capoeira balances fluid and graceful dance-like moves with speed and cunning.
A Capoeira class increases strength, flexibility, coordination and self-esteem. The classes often include basic skills drills followed by "sparing." When I took a class I couldn't walk normally for a few days - my legs were so worked!!!! You've got to see Capoeira to get a real sense of what it's all about, so check out this video.
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