Welcome to Escola Banto de Capoeira
Capoeira is a brazilian martial art which draws its roots from the combat methods and percussion of the african population in the times of slavery in Brazil. "Capoeira" means "clearing" or "very short grass". The escaping slaves were often seen training in these types of places in order to defend themselves against the masters attempting to recapture them.
A sport, a game, a fight, a dance, a music, a culture, a philosophy, all in one, Capoeira appeared during the 16th century in Brazil. It was exclusively practised by the black slaves.
During the Capoeira "roda", the "capoeiristas" form a circle. It is a friendly and festive moment. The instruments give the rhythm, which is followed by the songs whose choruses are sung by all present. The music and liveliness give the capoeiristas energy. At the center of the roda, two capoeiristas "play" together after having positioned themselves at the foot of the "berimbau", the instrument at the head of the roda. The game is a dialogue where attacks, feints and dodges occur one after the other; the capoeiristas use the "mandinga", cunning and malice, used to mislead the adversary. The game also symbolises combat, bodily expression, and non verbal conversation between the two partners. Contrary to general belief, Capoeira is fully a martial art where there is physical contact. However the defense in the discipline, oriented on dodging attacks, limits the number of strikes between players and give the combat an air of simulation.
There are two types of Capoeira. In "Capoeira Angola", movements are very close to the ground. The accompanying music has a rather slow pace, and the songs tell of the life of ancient capoeiristas. The slowness of the movements allows for subtlety and malice in the game. "Capoeira Regional" is distinguished by its rapid movements which are often aerial and spectacular. The music for this type of Capoeira is much more dynamic and pushes the players to surpass themselves.
Capoeira is an art of oral tradition: listening, observing and patience are the basis for learning. Lessons develop flexibility, agility and body resistance, which are necessary in order to carry out the movements, but also teach the songs and instruments used.
Forbidden and repressed for a very long time, Capoeira was practised on the street. In the 1930s, Mestre Pastinha and Mestre Bimba founded the first schools, which were at first tolerated, and later officially authorised, so long as it stayed indoors. All other schools and street Capoeira continued being repressed. Only in 2008 was Capoeira officially authorised and recognised by the Brazilian Government as being part of the country's Intangible Cultural Heritage.