Thursday, October 30, 2008

30th October's Class

Today's class was a bit shorter than usual but nevertheless as intensive as usual :)
We learnt a lot of new moves today which are used in Mestre Bimba's Sequencia 4 and 5.
Please refer back to the Sequencia file for the details on how to them. I'll just give a brief explanation on the new moves we have learnt (sorry no videos, can't seem to find on youtube)

Sequencia 4


This is basically a hook similar to boxing except that in capoeira, we use the "heel" of our hand to hit. The swing should come from twist of the hips and remember to stretch your arm out and follow through.


Grab behind the knees of the other player and pull. The pull should be accompanied by a step back from the forward leg. More force compared to just pulling with arm strength. (but of course while practising you need not be so fierce...)

Sequencia 5

Similar to the armada except there's no kicking, just the spin (fake Armada?). Hands are help up as in a surrender position. The other player is not supposed to attack while you are doing this (a form of freeplay).


A knee strike. As if doing a Benção but instead of kicking the leg outwards, we just use our knee to attack. The feet should be pointing downwards while the back is arch a bit backwards.

That's all for the moves in today's class, sorry for being a bit lengthy on the explanations and not being able to find videos for these moves.(If you do find some please post it in the comments)
We learnt one song today which is "O Dona Alícia não me pegue não"
Details of the song can be found in "Every Song has an Agenda..." post.

Quote of the day. "Man are for muscle...", by Alif.

I wonder what woman are for...I'll leave it to you to decide. :P
As in the roda, as in Life.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In the World of Kung Fu, Speed Determines the Winner

This is a clip from Kung Fu Hustle. It's the international English-dubbed version. I find so many great lessons in capoeira, like this post's title, in this movie.

And this is a fan vid.

Yes, I have wasted your time.
As in the roda, as in Life. :P


PS: Please leave in the comments your favourite capoeira quotes from the movie (or any movie!). Remember to add 'As in the roda, as in Life.' at the back!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Capoeira Me Chama Dá Licença Meu Senhor

This is the song EW was teaching us last Tuesday (21st Oct 2008)

Capoeira Me Chama Dá Licença Meu Senhor

Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira me chama dá licença meu senhor
Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira me chama dá licença meu senhor
Capoeira me chama
E eu vou atender
Entro na roda sem medo
Com malícia e segredo
Pronto pra me defender
Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira me chama dá licença meu senhor
Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira me chama dá licença meu senhor

Com um pouco de molejo
Vou de encontro ao berimbau
Quem não canta bate palma
Cabaça arame e um pedaço de pau
Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira me chama dá licença meu senhor
Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira me chama dá licença meu senhor

Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira calls me, give me permission, my Sir
Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira calls me, give me permission, my Sir
Capoeira calls me
And I go to attend
I enter the roda without fear
With malícia and (a) secret
To quickly defend [myself]
Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira calls me, give me permission, my Sir
Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira calls me, give me permission, my Sir

With a little molejo (magic stuffs)
I go to meet at the berimbau
Those who do not sing clap
Cabaça (gourd), arame (wire) and a piece of pau (wood for berimbau)
Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira calls me, give me permission, my Sir
Iê a iê ôô
Capoeira calls me, give me permission, my Sir

Before I end this post, I would like to clarify that the song that i previously posted (23rd Oct's Class) should be Abalou Capoeira Abalou. I had amended the lyrics. So sorry for the confusion.


Friday, October 24, 2008

23rd October's Class

For those who wish to recap or missed the Thursday's class...

Sequência 3
X : Martelo, Cocorinha, Benção
Y : Banda, Armada, Negativa de angola

recap of negativa de angola

*no matter which moves you are making or even dodging, make sure you hand (elbow) is always protecting your face.

Next, floor movements!!!
Cocorinha entrando
Esquiva negativa rolé aú

wondering how to do an aú after rolé?

* when you are performing esquiva negativa rolé aú always remember to keep a lookout, especially at the blindspot before going back to ginga position or aú (after you did your rolé).

The Songs of the day~

Abalou Capoeira abalou
Abalou Capoeira abalou
Mas se abalou, diexada abalar
Abalou Capoeira abalou
Mas se abalou, deixa cair
Abalou Capoeira abalou

translation for this:
It shook Capoeira it shook
But if it shook, let it shake
It shook Capoeira it shook
But if it shook, let it fal
It shook Capoiera it shook

Meu Camarada Venha Ver A Brincadeira
Meu camarada venha ver a brincadeira
O cara planta bananeira, fica de pernas p'ro ar
Ja me falaram que essa luta é brasileira
Que se chama capoeira
Eu tambem quero jogar

Hmmm... this is what we had for today's class (oopps... its pass midnight, should be yesterday's class). this is my first post, please forgive me is there is any mistake. i'll try my best to find links to the songs so that you guys are able to listen to it and also the lyrics too.

To me, Capoeira is so similar to life but yet so different. Different in the way that, in life we have to think before we do anything. In Capoeira, it is more to reflex. What do you think?

First Post,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Every song has an agenda...

Hello meu Camaradas!

we know how to joga (play) in a Roda (circle) to the tempo of the bateria (music band) but did you know the message behind the songs that the lead singer sings?

Take for example the song that we all know, "Oi sim sim sim":

"Oi sim sim sim, Oi não não não
Oi sim sim sim, Oi não não não
Oi não não não, Oi sim sim sim
Oi sim sim sim, Oi não não não
Mas hoje tem, amanha não Mas hoje tem, amanha não
Oi sim sim sim, Oi não não não
Mas hoje tem, amanha não Olha a pisada de Lampião
Oi sim sim sim, Oi não não não"

Translated in English:
"Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no
Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no
oh no no no, Oh yes yes yes
Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no
Today you have it, tomorrow you don't Today you have it, tomorrow you don't
Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no
Today you have it, tomorrow you don't, Look at the footprints of Lampião
Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no"

Lampião was a famous bandit in history who was both ruthless and heartless. Now he is likened to a "Brazilian Robin Hood" in myths. This song would be sung by the mestre when he wants to see change in the roda; Perhaps the capoerista is going out too aggressively or the flow of the game is dying down.

Another song we would be familiar with is "Zum, zum, zum" and the message is clear: "Quero ver bater, quero ver cair"
"I want to see hitting, I want to see

Other songs like "Ô â ô â ei" & "Quebra Gereba" carries similar the similar message calling for a good & rough game.

Lastly, a song, which i hope we can learn, describes players who are too "clingy" to a certain other player and not wanting to play with different capoeiristas

"O Dona Alícia não me pegue não"

ê dona alice não me pegue não, não me pegue, não me agarre, não me pegue a mão
Ê dona alice não me pegue não
não me pegue, não me agarre, não me pegue a mão
Ê dona alice não me pegue não

Hey Ms Alice Don’t grab me, no Don’t grab me Don’t clutch me Don’t grab my hand
Hey Ms Alice Don’t grab me, no
Don’t grab me Don’t clutch me Don’t grab my hand
Hey Ms Alice Don’t grab me, no


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Breathe! With Each Strike! Shuh! Shuh! Shuh!

Well, this might not be mixed martial arts, but you must breathe nonetheless. Lots of you forget to breathe when you're upside down (Au, Bananeira) or kicking. Breeathe!

What Sean Faris' teacher doesn't say is that you breathe out when hitting. But the advice is very sound.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

18th Oct’s Class..

For those who missed this Thursday’s class, Joe was back! Yeae!!!

After some killer stretching and even-more-killer warm-up we got down to trying out a couple of new sequences.

The main focus of this class was on how to move within the Roda. You know the seniors always advice us not stick to the same position (or “angles” as they phrase it) within the roda? On how we should continuously shift or position within it?!? Well, we learnt a couple of sequences for such movement. The individual moves as such are not new to us, but the sequence in which it is coupled maybe..

Sequence 1:
Esquiva fronte. Negativa. Negativa again( this is the tricky part). Role. Au.

When your doing the second Negative, we don’t really have to pronounce each action of the Neagtiva, cos honestly this will take way too long to complete. From your first negativa position, slightly bounce on your feet, swap your legs and hands to produce the second negative.

Jus a couple of pointers.. when doing the role, you maintain yourself in a ball (you don’t need to stretch your legs) and keep yourself low. At the end of the Role, keep yourself low. This will help in the transition to Au.

Sequence 2:
Entrada, followed by Sequence 1.

We also learnt a couple of transition moves, just to move around the Roda and makes the game more aesthetically appealing! But erm, we did not know the name to it. Once I do get the names,I shall try posting videos on how to do it. (Sorry, typing down the sequence is gg to be pretty complicated, but you’ll can ask me during the next class and I’ll be more than willing to teach you’ll)

But that was pretty much it for the class!

Oh... and ya, jus rmb this, playing capoiera is like being in a relationship.. Its all about the eye contact!! (cant believe i jst typed this, nvm..)
for capoeira.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Your Nome de Guerre

In the underground period of Capoeira, capoeiristas referred to each other by--and probably were only known through--nicknames to avoid police persecution. These are referred to as apelidos (appellations) or nomes de guerre (names of war).

Technically, the capoeira teacher who baptises you (with the floor, not with water) will name you, but sometimes your style is so distinct, you earn it all on your own. So congratulations! Some of you are already earning your nomes de guerre! So, for starters:

Angeline: Ginga Baixa (Ginga Low)
Swee Lan: Palma no Chão (Hand on the Floor)
Yi Hao: Pilar (Pillar, Post)
Mona: Queixada Matador (Killer Queixada)
Amanda: Chutada Alta (High Kicker)


For your information:

Ting Kuang: Bambu (The Long One)
Pek Hong: Wolverine (Wolverine) [Kidding! But he was almost called that! His real name is Caburé, a kind of pygmy owl. I can't remember why]
Ian: Cabeça (Head) [Actually, Mestra Mara wanted to call him 'Intelligente'. The other masters wanted to call him something much less glamourous, so they settled for 'Head' instead].
Jia Min: Piaba (Death's Smile)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Will Slow You Down!

Some of you may have, in your gullibility, consumed a slice or two of carrot cake. Well click on it and weep, people, because one slice is 583 Calories! Yup, as a sedentary student, you only require 2000 (ladies) or 2400 (gents). That was a WHOLE MEAL you warfed down your throats! You might not feel it at first, but three years down the road when you are running after that infrequent bus 95, your heart will give up the ghost and you'll just keel over and die. Looks like you had better not skip classes anymore. You'd better go down to Sundays' Sentosa rodas as well.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Capoeira Fundamentos

A 'fundamento' is a foundation, principle or basic tenet. So as you can see, that is quite a cocky title, no? Them's fightin' words! Hah! Well, capoeira was never about humility anyway. The following is a hodge-podge of excerpts from books which I personally find unburdening. We have a few of them in our NUS Capoeira Sub-club library (bet 'cha didn't know we had one, did 'cha?). Ting Kuang will post in the comments section which ones we have. You can also get limited previews on Google Books. Perhaps you might even read them during the holidays when you're not so busy.

This is another one of those posts where someone tells you what they think Capoeira is. And you know my opinion on that matter.

1) Control Space
Almeida, Bira. Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form. History, Philosophy and Practice .Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1993. pp:174-5
"One must create space with a give and take attitude, never suffocating the game with constant pressure, but attacking and defending, jumping forward and backwards, biting and soothing, coming and going, trapping and faking, moving up and down, and always trying to encircle the opponent. ... This sphere [the movements of a capoeirista] envelops the energy of the fighters and the best capoeirista controls the inner space [of the roda]. His or her opponent must be handled carefully, as if inside a bubble of gelatin that needs to be moved around intact. An abrupt movement of attack that is mistimed will shatter the harmony of the jôgo. A centrifugal movement made too fast or a startled defense could break that surface tension of the sphere, making control of the game difficult. Experienced capoeiristas will make the jôgo flow smoothly event at a fast speed while attempting to control the action."
2) Esquiva, pôrra!
Capoeira, Nestor. Capoeira: Roots of the Dance-Fight-Game. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2002. pp. 240:
As the late mestre Canjiquinha revealed to us once, “You can block the blow of a very strong man but you can’t block a truck at 100 mph.”
3) Life is tough, Groove with it
__. ibidem. pp.20
Life is a struggle?
Life is a battle?
The player sees that capoeira is teaching him to dance within and during this fight.
And the grooving of this 'dancing while fighting' has a lot to do with malícia.
4) Get over oops
__. ibidem. pp.26
If by chance you hurt somebody or get hurt by somebody, this must not bring you guilt or remorse. Capoeira, similar to life, has its danger. In order to die you simply need to be alive.
Almeida, Bira. Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form. History, Philosophy and Practice. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1993. pp: (I can't find the page number. Let me know if you find it)
... If you get hit, it's your fault. If you hit someone, it's your fault."

5) The fearless do not exist.
Capoeira, Nestor. The Little Capoeira Book (revised edition). Berkeley, California: Blue Snake Books, 2003. p. 56:
Of all the proverbs, though, perhaps the best one for the beginner to keep in mind is that "valente não existe,' which can be translated as 'There's no such thing as a tough guy' or 'the fearless do not exist.' It is important for the beginner not to be fooled by the outward appearance of 'tough guys,' and to realise that we all feel fear, and that we are all--to greater and lesser extents--insecure: "The fearless do not exist."
6) Keep your cool.
Lewis, J. Lowell. Ring of Liberation: Deceptive Discourse in Brazilian Capoeira. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1992. pp 129:
During one bout, one player had snuck a kick in through the guard of his opponent, stinging him, and the offended player became angry, attempting to retaliate. The more he tried to hit the first player back, and could not, the angrier and more frustrated he became. The sneaky kicker responded with a series of mock cringes, each of which served to emphasize the other player's emotional state and telegraph to the audience the fact that he had landed a blow, which most had not seen. These cringes angered the attacking player even more, since they highlighted both the fact that he had been hit (which he could have covered up if he hadn't lost his temper) and that he was impotent to counterattack. I suddenly realised that I was witnessing the cringe being used as a weapon!
7) This is a game, make-believe.
Downey, Greg. Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. pp. 112:
Mestre Squisito, (quoted in Downey):
"Capoeiristas put their lives in a game and stage death in a playful theatrical form. "Here is a mortal attack," smiles one of the players; to which the other responds: "You struck me fatally..." negating the attack. And the game recommences. It is the game of life. It is life and not death that is interesting, that the capoeiristas seek." ... [H]owever ... the play 'bites' in capoeira can grow in intensity until they shatter the game's restraint. Playing at fighting may turn abruptly into just fighting, capoeira teachers often warn. But that danger is one reason why 'cunning' or malícia is the most admired trait in capoeira.
8) People are full of shit.
Capoeira, Nestor. A Street-Smart Song: Capoeira Philosophy and Inner Life. Berkeley, California: Blue Snake Books, 2005. pp. 104:
"Humans are medicre, mean, limited, false, full of prejudice, and full of shit. The society we live in isn't much better ... Capoeira's fundamento is the knowledge of all these things, the knowledge of this panoramic and global picture, seasoned with a strong dose of "good humour" (for lack of a better word) and "dressed" in the colours of Brazilian Afro and underground culture."
9) You have to live with them anyway
__. ibidem. pp.105:
"... Have you ever seen very young kids playing by the seashore on a beautiful day? The run. They jump. They dance as if they were crazy. They wet their feet in the breaking waves and run away from them yelling. This energy is what I call being in a "good humour".

Happy reading,

Friday, October 10, 2008

9th October's Class

What we've learnt.
recap of Martelo:

Take note of the entrada where the foot points outwards. This makes it easier for you to swing your hips to the side.

Banda/Rasteira em pé :

Here's another video which shows the whole sweep in action (and another move).

So this cool move is used to counter the Martelo. When executing try to put your weight towards the bent leg.

Other moves which we practised:
Au com Negativa (Au to negativa)
Negativa to Rolé

Also in today's class we learnt how to sing these songs:
É de couro de boi
É de couro de boi, é de couro de boi
Olha o meu Atabaque é de couro de boi

Translation (courtesy of Eng Wen):
"Look at my Atabaque,
It's [made of] the leather of the bull"

and the first part to the Zambiacongo Theme Song

"Sou Zambiacongo de Geni sou da Bahia"

I am Zambiacongo, which came from Mestre Geni who is from Bahia

"Sou Regional do Bimba Angola de Canjiquinha"

He learnt Regional from Mestre Bimba and Angola from Mestre Canjiquinha

So that's all for my first post. If there's anything to be added or rectified please post your comments (Lalitha, Tiang Tiang, EW please edit the post if required).

First post,

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Capoeira Angola Videos

As people who first learn Capoeira Regional (well... IMHO, we are actually learning Capoeira Contemporanea), we have a tendency to caricaturise Capoeira Angola: we understand it as what Regional is not. Regional is high, objective, acrobatic (well, again, acrobatics is something in Capoeira Contemporanea), fast. So, Angola must be low, ludic, scrunched up and slow.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. I don't know much, but I do know it isn't just. When we delve into a body of knowledge, structure (i.e. Regional vs Angola vs Contemporanea vs Benguela vs Iuna vs...) is there to facilitate learning. But ultimately, as the postmodernists rightly claim, structure is there to be dissolved. Take everything with a pinch of salt, especially capoeira, which resists (hey hey!) being put into a box.

How you know not to trust a barber:

Actually, the rhythm that should be played in not Angola, but Santa Maria. It sounds like this:

French Capoeira Documentary with Mestre Pastinha in 1963. This was probably while Regional (and Angola, for that matter) was still being polished. Notice how the game is not very pretty. Then again, this is a documentary, so beware of editing (and the players 'acting up' for the camera.

Mestre Cobra Mansa vs Mestre Acordeon (~1990). They used magnetic VHS tapes back in those days to record things. Excuse the distortions and no music. Yes, this is violent (you can almost feel it seething, about to erupt, no?). Yes, this is Angola (or rather we should say, 'Capoeira is Capoeira'--no boxes, please.).

Samba de Roda (nothing to do with Angola--at least directly)

Woo!!! (fans self)Yes, I've noticed--that butt has a person attached to it.

Heh heh, sorry, just letting off some steam.


Guys: Yes, macho men dance. Ladies: Don't learn how to dance from straight men.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The ZambiaCongo Grading System

Dear fellow Capoeiristas,

This is quoted off the ZambiaCongo Webpage, I hope this information helps you all understand better about the belts and please do not worry, YOU WILL GET A BELT ( the beginners belt of course )

"Official Grading System
The capoeira grading system was first introduced by Master Bimba. In his academy, the students had to learn 8 basic sequences of attack and defense before they could play capoeira in the roda. Students also had to learn a sequence of throws called 'Balao' or 'Cintura desprezada', designed for the students to gain skill, agility and control over their movement. Once the student had learnt all the sequences and passed the 'exam', Master Bimba would organise a ceremony he called Batizado (Baptism) which symbolized the first time the student would play in the roda. On that special day they would receive the blue scarf, the first grading step, becoming 'aluno formado' (graduated student).

The tradition and style of Capoeira that Master Bimba created in the late1920's are the fundaments of today's Capoeira regional. Over the years, Capoeira has developed a lot, respected Masters who were students of Master Bimba and others who were followers of his teachings have adapted the techniques to further improve its efficiency and flow. The grading system has also changed to suit the ever increasing number of Capoeiristas and to ensure the level of competency and experience necessary to become a Aluno Formado, Professor or Mestre.


Beginner belt
1. Light Green

Single colour belts - beginner levels
2. Dark Green
3. Yellow
4. Blue

Binded colour belts - advanced students
5. Green and Yellow
6. Green and Blue
7. Yellow and Blue

Aluno Formado
8. Green, Yellow and Blue

9. White and Green

10. White and Yellow

11. White and Blue

12. White with blue tip

13. White

The first beginner belt (light green) represents the first time the student plays in a official group roda. The next 3 levels of beginner belts are awarded according to the improvement and experience gained throughout the year of training. Students are assessed on their individual development on all areas of Capoeira as well as keeping up with the standard of each level within the group. At this stage students may go up a level once a year or once every two years, depending on their development and involvement with the Capoeira group.

Intermediate belts (i.e. green with yellow tip, Yellow with blue tip, etc.) are awarded to students who might be exceeding at a particular level but are not experienced enough to go into the next belt.

The binded colour belts require a minimum of 3 years experience and significant improvement on technique, knowledge of the fundaments of Capoeira, music skills as well as experienced gained by visiting rodas from different groups and involvement in the Capoeira culture. Students must keep up with the standard of Zambiacongo group in Brazil and higher level students are expected to train visit Brazil and experience Capoeira over there as well.

The requirements for each belt are not as specific as learning a certain move or knowing a number of kicks. There are lot of different aspects in Capoeira which need time to be developed and that varies from person to person. During the week leading up to the grading day there will be many workshops hosted by guest masters and teachers. We encourage everyone to participate in the week of the grading regardless of what level experience you have. The most important thing when learning Capoeira is to be involved with the art and absorb as much as you can, everything else will follow naturally. There will be more about the grading on the newsletters to come. If you have any questions about Capoeira please don't hesitate to ask you teacher or email it to us. Asking questions is also a great learning tool!

See you in the roda,
Professor Caracol"

Love Love

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let's Worship THESE People!

After a year or two in capoeira (or any human endeavour for that matter), you will encounter someone who will tell you what capoeira is. And really, one fine day, you'll have to decide for yourself what it is.

But today, I'm going to tell you what it is.

In capoeira there will always be people who have been in it longer than you. They are more knowledgeable; they can do fancy things. Because they are obviously superior, we should kowtow at their feet and respect--nay, worship--them. We should idolise and pedestalise (yes, I made that word up--that's what Arts majors do) them. They can do no wrong, for they are superior in capoeira, and are therefore superior human beings. If they are upset, it must be because we, as inferior human beings, are at fault. We must be to blame.

Yes, it's quite ridiculous when it's written down, isn't it? But I bet it didn't seem so when it was a latent background semi-formed thought.

Do you worship these people?

Impressive crazy skills, no doubt, but a skill is a skill is a skill. Just because you want to learn it doesn't make a master of that skill worship-worthy; it just means that you ought not to upset that person if you want him to teach you.

And you'd be surprised how full of sh*t people can be, in any human endeavour. Does a Ph.D make your professor a better human being? No. Even if it's legit, all it means is that he's spent more time studying than you. You don't look up to him because of his title. You're nice to him because he controls your grades. And just maybe, if you're lucky, he's a nice human being who cares about your growth in his discipline, and he does things beyond what is necessary to help you.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we should judge people by how useful they are. We should use people depending on how useful they are, certainly (come on, admit it!), but perhaps we should judge people's humanity by how much they acknowledge it in others.

umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu,

2nd October's Class

You learnt:

Au Batido:

Er, I know the video calls it 'Bananeira' (Banana tree), and it is correct. The 'Au Batido' that you learnt is switching the legs while doing the Bananeira. This is the first step to learning the handstand bananeira. It is also the first step to learning how to kick while in a handstand.

The name of the game is control. Instead of kicking your legs up, you *shift* your weight onto your hands. This way, your legs can still be low to the ground (at first) and you have low risk of falling over, while still learning how to control your weight on your hands.

NO KICK UP! (Your feet can be low.)
SHIFT onto your hands.
CONTROL-grip the floor.

Some of you have forgotten queixada.

Do take note that:
1) you TWIST your upper body FIRST
2) when you kick, you PULL YOUR ARMS AGAINST the kick.

The other guys learnt Au Batido (yes, this movement is also called 'Au Batido' (broken Au) among other things):

Note that the one you learnt has a different starting position.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments section.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Capoeira History 101

Hassan found this video. It's not about Capoeira history, but looks like, as a man says, a 'nice animation'.

I stumbled upon this related video. It's a charcoal drawing of the slavery era of capoeira. It's a very interesting medium because it can convey/evoke so much in so little and in so many other ways than a -AACK!- 'documentary'. In my humble opinion, this is not so much a lesson in historical fact than it is how capoeiristas engage with, reconstruct (because no one alive today really lived through those times), and invoke the past, a lesson in how they feel the past inflects capoeira's present. Ah, nevermind. When we get a history major, we'll get him to type an entire blogpost on historicity (NOT to be confused with 'history').

The lyrics (performed by Mestre Toni Vargas) for the first part can be found here.

I haven't found an English translation, and it's beyond my meagre smattering, so you'll just have to settle with downloading it into your ringtone.

BUT if you need a visual interpretation, I think this video does a pretty good job. It's in-your-face (the video), but that's probably because reality is tough. Fact: People do bad things to each other. So brace yourself; this isn't going to be pretty.

Stay humane,

P.S. - some of you may have accidentally learnt 'S-dobrado'. It means 'double S'. You can search for examples of the move on Youtube, but you should never learn Capoeira from the Net. Seriously. I mean it. Stop it now.

P.P.S. - Here's my translation of the lyrics (take with a pinch of salt):

Slave ship
Floating tomb
My motherland is distant
Pain and desperation

Chorus: Slave ship

Separated on a wandering ship
Sailing, yearning
Africa is distant
Hear my song

chorus: Slave ship

Mother that lost her child
King that lost his queen
People that lost their spirit
While wasting away