In my gym, THE ATACX GYM STREET WARRIOR CAPOEIRA, we strike alot with our hands, elbows, knees, heads, shoulders, fists, and use animal hand techniques. We use a wide assortment of throws and grabs, locks, breaks, chokes and more. And we insist that all of these techniques are in fact founded in authentic Kipura...miscalled "Capoeira"... itself. This insistence of ours is founded in incredibly rigorous, accurate, invincible scientific data, research and knowledge which directly contravenes and destroys the popular fictions that anyone referring to the Afrikan art of Kipura by the Portugues name of "CAPOEIRA" given to Kipura by its blood enemies is simply unaware of, because these well meaning but thoroughly manipulated and misled people credit the propaganda and lies of the Brazilian government of Ditador Vargas of nearly a century ago, as well as the governments both preceding and posterior to Vargas.
Most of the comments that I get from my "capoeira" brothers and sisters are very positive regarding my far more street oriented capoeira expression. These forward thinking "Capoeiristas" are--imho--to be lauded and applauded for seeing how seamlessly and flawlessly the kinds of distinctly non-Roda saturated, real world street fighting self defense techniques and sequences [ yes we have our own sequences, following the tradition of Bimba's secuencias even though we're neither Angoleiros or Regional ] that I practice and teach fit into every aspect of Capoeira from the roda to the street to her spiritual teachings and more.
However, many disagree, and claim that the roda-centric, noncontact, dysfunctional acrobatics, non-punching, etc. movement in the roda is more reflective of "genuine" Capoeira. Every scintilla of relevant factual history roundly repudiates any position embracing such a flawed perspective.
I have always found the crucial bonding brought by the songs, the exaltation of Kipura/"Capoeira"'s warrior, factual, and day to day history and philosophy to be absolutely indispensable. And those movements in the roda are beautiful and fun, social and artful, excellent for fitness and important for the spontaneous shadowboxing and dialogue in Kipura/"Capoeira". That's part of the reasoning that has me preserve that practice in our Gym. However, without the context that sparring and fighting and comprehensive, innovative functional self defense training provides? Capoeiristas will not only be wholly dysfunctional and useless in self defense encounters, they will even spread such brain dead, historically bankrupt notions as the idea that Capoeira wasn't created to fight.
Yes it was. Capoeira was 100% and without a doubt crafted to battle to the death the slavers attempting to enslave the original Capoeiristas, as well as the corrupt police officers and more. First and foremost, beyond and above all other considerations, CAPOEIRA WAS CREATED TO FIGHT FOR THE FREEDOM OF THE AFRICAN CAPOEIRISTAS. Literally. Capoeira came about as a martial combat expression fusing already existing African martial arts into a single martial expression literally within the midst of Europeans and Arabs homicidally focused on enslaving Africans, and Capoeira was forged first in The Kingdom of Kongo as Kipura. Full stop. Centuries before Brasil existed. The art is also older than Portugal.
This is the most elementary and obvious fact that many so-called "capoeiristas" completely overlook. Capoeira is a warrior art that not only is rooted in battle, combat, self defense and bloodshed, but capoeiristas were so deadly that the Brazilian government outlawed Capoeira all the way up until the middle 1930's. People who practiced Capoeira were literally branded as outlaws and hunted down, maimed, jailed and/or killed...if the Brazilian government could catch and overcome them. The fact is, they oftentimes could do neither, whereas the Capoeirista could do either or both to the Dutch, Portuguese, French, USA, Brazilian etc. police and/or government official with slightly lesser regularity while using far far more restricted resources.
That means that...person for person...the Capoeirista was more dangerous than their adversaries were and are. Unfortunately, the Capoeirista was oftentimes heavily outnumbered, and was betrayed by their own African brethren oftentimes to their capture, enslavement and death.
The noncontact roda dancers--while being sincere, enthusiastic, dedicated, wonderful, intelligent, good people--by and large have no chance whatsoever of using Capoeira for self defense. In fact? Most of them don't even think of Capoeira as viable for self defense, and don't practice Capoeira with self defense in mind. The primary reason for the attitude of these noncontact roda dancers stems from the fact that most "Capeoira Mestres" have neither any idea how or any desire to practice Capoeira for self defense, promote or protect Capoeira's actual warrior lineage and practices, or anything close to what other actual MARTIAL arts do. Instead they are wholly invested in the highly dishonest but financially lucrative drive to present a vigorous, acrobatic, cultural, social, musical, athletic, sexy workout that is INFLUENCED BY authentic Kipura miscalled "Capoeira" as if it is ACTUALLY THE WARRIOR ART OF KIPURA/"CAPOEIRA"...when it most emphatically is not at all genuine Capoeira.
One can jump rope, hit mitts and the heavy bag, do situps pushups squats etc., bob and weave under ropes strung across a room at head height, become an expert at the speed bag, etc...and none of that means you're an actual boxer. You are NOT a boxer until you strap on the gloves and mouth piece, get in the ring and by God use your boxing to hit somebody who is by God using their boxing to hit you back. Then and only then are you actually a boxer.
On the other hand, at least the people working boxing equipment at least know that boxing is a fighting art. They embrace that aspect of the Sweet Science, and would not tell somebody who actually fights that they're not boxers until they ONLY hit mitts and do stuff that has nothing to do with fighting...only some crowd friendly variant of fighting. Well, some people who think they're capoeiristas will tell people like me who fight with Capoeira that we're not Capoeiristas because we actually fight, and don't spend the overwhelming majority of our time doing stuff that doesn't advance our self defense and combat Capoeira skills, or acknowledges and promotes our warrior and spiritual heritage along with the social, fitness, musical, etc. benefits of Capoeira.
If the responses to my videos are any indication, most people would adore Capoeira even more if they are exposed to the self defense teachings and spiritual teaches of this wonderful African and Afro-Brazilian [ for lack of a better term ] martial art, along with its other unique benefits.
And yes. Ifa...the Afrikan spiritual art of Nigeria and other Western and Central Afrikan kingdoms...Is the veritable spirit of Kipura. From Ifa springs its offspring such as Santeria, Umbanda, Candomble, etc.
Because roda dancers don't functionally and rigorously spar, they absolutely lack the vital, indispensable, central necessity of combat context to make genuine sense of their techniques and promote genuine understanding of its application.
In short? If somebody's not trying to hit you with those techniques, you will never develop any genuine skill in technical application and never develop any genuine combative understanding. Period. So...bluntly put...you really don't know what the hell you're doing, if you had to fight with the dancer stuff that your Mestre likely taught you. And you know that you don't know what the hell you're doing, if you had to fight with it. Because you know for a fact that you weren't taught to fight with it. That's why you DON'T fight with it. You gotta fight with your Capoeira...so you can learn to fight with your Capoeira. And you have to have a Mestre who fights with his/her/their Capoeira and shows you real self defense stuff so that YOU can learn how to use your Capoeira in real self defense situations.
Do you honestly think that our ancestors would face a group of slavers and/or police men...guys with with clubs guns swords nets whips and knives, dogs, riding horses, dozens of hard, oftentimes evil men...and start doing the ginga? If I point a gun at you, do you think doing your Roda ginga will help you? If I tackled you to the ground, and tried to knife you...would you rather have a Coach who can teach you how to use your Capoeira to deal with that? Or would you rather have one of these noncontact dancing Mestres who never even bring up the subject of self defense...all the while telling you that Capoeira is a martial art?
Do you honestly think that our Capoeira ancestors do anything like what your noncontact nonfighting nonself-defense oriented acrobatic Mestre does when it's time to fight? Do you think our FIGHTING Capoeira ancestors even did the ginga like your Mestre does?
If you do, you're historically and factually wrong.
The research of our esteemed Nestor Capoeira has noted that the first acknowledged use of what seemed to be a rudimentary ginga wasn't until the 1800's...centuries after Capoeira was being used to fight off slavers, invading armies and lying, corrupting priests sent by the slavers to try to break down the mental and spiritual resistance to their armies. "First we send in the priests, then we send in the armies" is a famous quote and famous tactic of European slavers. Armed with Candomble? We repelled their corrupting spiritualism. Armed with Capoeira? We repelled the rest of them, too. By their own account. For more than 600 years. Starting in The Kingdom of Kongo, around 1200 AD.
Think upon the staggering significance of that.
Do you honestly truly think that our street fighting Malta brethren didn't punch each other and their tormentors with their closed fists? Do you truly think that when the Portuguese referred to the Capoeiristas as "champion wrestlers", that these deadly Capoeira warriors didn't know how to apply chokes and locks? That's a very tenuous and frankly ridiculous position to take. Especially since locks throws and chokes are part of self defense and survival wrestling...Which Afrikans invented.
Most importantly, those of us who actually use Capoeira for self defense can see the many ancient and modern applications of armlocks, sweeps, escapes, ground fighting, and firearms positions in the Msimamo Ochosi ( Miscalled "negativa" ), the throws in the Kisasi miscalled "vingativa", throws locks blows weapons use etc in the transitions, and many many many techniques for self defense in Kipura/"Capoeira" that most so-called 'capoeiristas' of today will insist are NOT a part of the Capoeirista's arsenal when history and survival absolutely insists that they must be and are.
How many capoeiristas did the ginga on the battlefield in Brazil's war against Paraguay? How many Capoeiristas actually DIDN'T strike slavers and policemen with their closed fists when in close quarters? How many Capoeiristas DIDN'T use guns that they captured from Brazilian, Portuguese and Dutch mercenary and national armies sent to destroy their quilombos? Use your brains, my gentle readers. There is NO WAY that such elementary self defense matters like punching and other basic attacks were not addressed and applied for self defense successfully by our Capoeira fighting ancestors...especially since the slavers themselves acknowledge that the quilombos defied their armies for about 100 years and the Capoeiristas themselves were never extinguished, which is why we are able to practice Capoeira today.
To conclude anything other than what the historical record unquestionably proves is...scathingly disrespectful and inexcusably ignorant. Especially for those who claim to be or wish to be actual Capoeiristas. What an insult to African intelligence, what an affront to the basic requirements of survival, what disrespect to the outstanding, monumental achievements of Capoeira and her Capoeiristas.
If there is anyone...and I mean, ANY ONE...Mestre, Professor, whatever whoever...who disagrees with me regarding any part of any of the things I have written above? Please speak up and specify which parts of what I have said are not factually correct. If there is anyone...anyone at all...who agrees with me? Please, like, comment, and share this writing with your friends. Let us have a healthy, brisk discussion that will help to shine the light of facts and history and logic and mandatory evolution upon Capoeira and most capoeiristas worldwide.