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Finding the True Capoeira



A.A. Decânio Filho

Translation by Shayna McHugh


Original Message

From: Juliana


Sent on: Saturday, August 14th of 1999, 23:03

Subject: capoeira


Hi!! I am a student and capoeirista, I am impassioned for this art and I want to compliment you on your page. I really like the tradition of capoeira, which is becoming very rare to find lately, because of this I would like to ask a suggestion of how I can find the true capoeira!!

I would like to know about what Mestre Bimba said, and also if it is still possible to find his CD.

I thank you in advance and once again compliment you for rescuing the true capoeira (I almost cried when I saw the manuscripts of Pastinha!).

An embrace, and Salve!




Thank you for the message.


The true capoeira of each one of us is

That which lives in the body of each one.

Musical, ethical, and technical standards exist,

However capoeira is the behavioral manifestation

Of each being

Great expression of human individuality.


It is only the capoeirista who frees himself from all the cultural ties and psychodynamic blockades, including from the mestres, and leaves only “capoeira” to flow freely and smoothly throughout the body itself, appearing in his movements and state of spirit.


The strategic fundamentals of capoeira are simple

Music, esquiva, partnership and love.


Without any doubt, the first place belongs to love...

For life, for capoeira, for art, for the pleasure of just “playing” with the purity and innocence of the eternal child that exists hidden in the heart of each one of us.


The behavioral posture of esquiva from the impact of movements, simulated or not, of attack, or movements that involve danger of whatever nature, results in the safety of capoeira’s practice, plus unconscious reflexes of preservation of physical integrity and of life, generating a system of self defense, “instinctive” in the words of Mestre Bimba.


Partnership is fundamental.


Without partnership capoeira can neither be played nor learned.


Only the presence of partnership allows the development of self-confidence in the ability to improvise movements of esquiva when faced with the movements of the other player, someone whose will and intention we do not control. To recognize the thoughts and subsequent movements of someone we need to see them as a partner-adversary.


The music is the very essence, the mystical root of capoeira. Music is responsible for and the guide of the capoeirista’s modified state of consciousness, commanding the nature and dynamic of his movements. It controls aggressiveness, undoes psychodynamic blockages, and generates the playful pleasure of capoeira’s practice.


The association of these primary forces commands ritual,

Guarantees the courteousness and sportsmanship of the game of capoeira!

The mestre is only the maestro,

He commands the ballet of life that we call capoeira!


There exists on the market a CD “Curso de Capoeira Regional,” digital reproduction of the original disk of Bimba, with some technical difficulties. For your personal training I recommend the CD of Moraes, “Capoeira Angola de Salvador,” which I use for the individual practice of capoeira as an aerobic workout and maintenance of physical fitness. You will find the words of Bimba in “The Heritage of Mestre Bimba.” Our commentaries on selected passages from Mestre Pastinha are found in “The Heritage of Pastinha.” “Falando em capoeira” (Speaking of capoeira) encompasses my personal observations, testimonies, research, experience, and lessons (that I received from mestres, from capoeiristas, and from life) as a doctor and as an individual.