What is Capoeira Angola?

Capoeira Angola is a traditional Brazilian Art form involving dance, martial arts, acrobatics, music, culture, balance, style, strength, co-ordination and conditioning.

Capoeira Angola emerged in the XVI century with the arrival of African slaves in Brazil especially from the regions of Congo and Angola through Portuguese colonisation. Knowledge of the origins has been lost due to the destruction of archives and documents because the governors of the time did not want the participation of the Negro slaves in Brazil’s history.

Several anthropologists expound different theories about the beginnings of the Capoeira. Nevertheless, the theory closest to reality is one which suggests that Capoeira Angola originated from an African ritual called N’golo. Two African warriors fight, representing the battle between two zebras, to win the right to choose a virgin woman for marriage. The movements of other animals have also been adapted and integrated into the game.

The slaves practiced and trained Capoeira at the senzalas, small huts made of palm, located inside the haciendas where they toiled. They used Capoeira as a fighting instrument in order to obtain their freedom by rebelling against their oppressors. They escaped to the jungles and with the passing of the years, small illegal communities were created (known as quilombos) where they finally reached their spiritual liberty. Capoeira Angola continued to evolve as a mixture of art, dance, fight, culture, education, and as a philosophy and way of life.

Many years later, with the abolition of slavery and the acceptance of Capoeira as a national sport in Brazil, it began to be taught at formal academies. The first person to create a group of Capoeira Angola and preserve the traditions was Joaquim Vicente Ferreira Pastinha, better known as Mestre Pastinha. At the same time, another great character of Capoeira was Manuel Dos Reis Machado, Mestre Bimba. He incorporated movements from other oriental martial arts, creating the so-called Luta Regional Baiana, also known as Capoeira Regional. Thanks to these movements, now Capoeira has been extended all over the world.