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Friday, May 31, 2013


If you don't train to develop effective self defense skills with your Capoeira, then whatever else you do? It's not Capoeira. Period.

Capoeira is more than a fighting style, more than a martial art, but it started off with the single focus and purpose and goal of developing powerful, lethal warriors trained in an amalgamation of African martial arts that matured not just in Brazil but in various important places in the Western Hemisphere like Martinique, Belize, Haiti, Cuba, etc for the single purpose of defeating and overcoming slavers and oppressors of all forms and stripes. Period.

The spiritual component--which materialized as Candomble in Brazil--is ever present in African martial arts. But at no time does it supersede the mandate to develop potent, functional, efficient, effective fighting skills and lethal warriors trained in the use of martial skills. In fact? Such spiritual training of the quality and ilk that Candomble provides vastly enhances the chance of the Capoeirista or anyone...martial artist of any stripe at all...to develop themselves more completely as a human being.

Therefore. If you don't train to develop effective self defense skills? You are not in keeping with the history of and single most compelling reason for the creation of Capoeira: Self Defense.

When you think of Capoeira legends, names like Zumbi dos Palmares, Besouro, Pastinha, Bimba, Gigante, Madame Sataa, and others spring to mind [ I note the distinct dearth of female fighting legends in Capoeira's history, although there certainly were potent female capoeiristas throughout the entirety of Capoeira's history. This chauvinism is something that I dislike intensely ]. All of them had their own unique style of Capoeira. Unlike nowadays...where almost everyone has the same style of play...each of these men had their own distinctly divergent expression of Capoeira. Notice how nobody proclaimed that so and so "isn't doing capoeira" because "so and so" doesn't do things the way that whoever is berating "so and so" does. Besouro would not say that Gigante isn't doing Capoeira, just because Gigante carried an axe and used that weapon as his first line of defense. Unfortunately, some people nowadays--who DO NOT focus on self defense and generally DO NOT develop self defense skills--say that I am not practicing Capoeira because I DO focus on developing self defense skills and DO NOT practice like them.

And you know what else literally all of our Capoeira legends have in common?


Literally every single Capoeira legend of yore was known as a FIGHTER. Literally every single one. To be a Capoeirista means to be a fighter, as they are one the same and indivisible. One can no more separate being a fighter, a self defense skilled warrior, from being a Capoeirista than one can separate the notion of  "a potent pulling force" from the idea of "gravity". 

The spiritual and social components of Capoeira are so important that each of them requires a different blog entry, imo. However. Make no mistake. The self defense, warrior skills take precedence over and give indispensable context to the spiritual and social and intellectual aspects of Capoeira. Because you can't develop spiritually if you're dead. You can't perform socially unfettered good acts if you're dead. You can't bequeathe your community with the benefits of your intellectual labor if you're dead. Or jailed. Or enslaved. Or co-opted. You have to overcome and continue to rebuff and repel hostile forces as you develop yourself in these other areas. Which mandates self defense skills. Mandates the existence and perpetuation of the Warrior.

I must emphasize. I am not partitioning any aspect of Capoeira. I am insisting upon and emphasizing the fact that the Warrior Tradition and Warrior Training of Capoeira is central to and the life giving root of every other aspect of Capoeira. Period. And it's this warrior tradition, these self defense skills, which have been wholesale removed from Capoeira as Capoeira spread to the United States, Europe and other areas. This Warrior Tradition and Warrior Training must be returned post haste and wholesale into the very central fabric of the practices of people calling themselves capoeiristas worldwide, or else they are not practicing Capoeira AND genuine, authentic, Capoeira [ which maintains develops and evolves from Capoeira's warrior past ] will be lost forever. The slavers and haters of Capoeira will have won their greatest victory. We would have helped them to overcome us. Enthusiastically. Willingly. Stupidly.

Therefore, these countries and these Mestres who don't practice self defense as a central and vibrant, irreplaceable part of their training are NOT training historically viable Capoeira...they are contributing to genuine, authentic Capoeira's demise by NOT training Capoeira and TELLING PEOPLE THAT THIS "NONCAPOEIRA" THEY PRACTICE IS ACTUALLY GENUINE CAPOEIRA. They are conflating a Capoeira influenced, musical and social workout regime aka CARDIO CAPOEIRA with the actual full spectrum self defense martial art of Capoeira. That's like confusing Taebo with the Warrior Monks of Shaolin.

There it is.

Your Mestre lied to you if he/she/they said anything different.