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Capoeira
Regional, Angola, and Iuna
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REGIONAL, ANGOLA, AND IUNA

 

A.A. Decânio Filho

Translation by Shayna McHugh

 

The importance that Mestre Bimba gave to the “game” (the playful component) of capoeira is expressed by the requirement that the “graduated students” execute the game of Iuna as confirmation of their qualification as a capoeirista.

 

We should emphasize that Bimba created a fast, dynamic and efficient method of teaching for those who did not have the cultural heritage of the Africans.

 

The learning of capoeira obeys a natural order:

 

  1. Basic sequence of teaching;
  2. Sequence of throws (balões);
  3. Coupling of the basic movements to the dynamic of the toques of the berimbau;
  4. Training of the movements and practice under the toque of the berimbau (without the accompaniment of songs, clapping, or other sounds, so that the student keeps all his attention on the command of his body dynamic by the rhythm-melody of the berimbau, which determines the movements of attack and thus guides the movements of the partners);
  5. Graduation;
  6. Free access to practices of the capoeira game overseen by Mestre Bimba in any location, especially secret trainings; participation in the Mestre’s classes with guides or contramestres; the courses of specialization in which the graduate is presented as a disciple of a new category; and rights to which is added the obligation of participating in all games of Iuna in which the student is present.

 

The game of Iuna thus arises as a reward for all capoeiristas graduated by Mestre Bimba. The capoeirista’s diploma of graduation is shown by the choreographic movements of the low game, which is proof of his ability.

 

Of special importance:

-         the applied throw (balão), not combined previously as in pre-determined sequences;

-         the low game (proof of physical fitness, ability, sportsmanship, and respect for ritual);

-         the demonstration of neuro-muscular control, technical perfection, and reflexes, besides the strict obedience to the ritual of the capoeira game.

 

We thus understand that the requirement of the “game of iuna” is the demonstration that the practitioner of the Luta Regional Baiana was an able capoeirista, capable of using the resources of the LRB in defense of his physical integrity or of his honor, when necessary. As such, the practice of Iuna in the roda is the return to the art’s legitimate roots, the game of capoeira, known today as capoeira de angola, since the introduction of this terminology by the Venerated Mestre Pastinha.