Chapter 7 - Final Considerations
Mestre Pastinha used
to say that “the best defense is not to involve oneself in conflicts,” with which I fully agree. I know various
people, including renowned capoeiristas, who in spite of their advanced age always lived in peace without ever having utilized
capoeira as a fight and without ever having suffered an attack, which for them is a source of pride.
I believe that in our
world, where wickedness and consequently violence, the fruit of many peoples’ ignorance of the true direction of life,
prevail, we must prepare ourselves in the best possible manner so that we can defend ourselves, in the hour of danger, against
enemies. If we do not, we will be like a lamb among wolves.
In the face of this
reality, I think that every capoeirista should circle in good and bad environments, so that he can acquire the experience
and, consequently, the malandragem (cleverness) necessary to his development. To know wickedness and not use it. This is one
of our main objectives. That is where merit resides. To have the knowledge of evil and keep it in your innermost, not allowing
it to manifest itself.
The important thing
is to possess the required knowledge to neutralize the evil beforehand, in the key moment, if necessary. In reality, the most
difficult thing is to be provoked and manage to give a denial, to refuse, not in cowardice, but in awareness of the damage
that this attitude could bring about for your opponent and yourself.
Although capoeira angola,
in its fighting form, contains all the elements of defense and attack necessary for use in any situation, we all know that
no fight is complete. All of them, without exception, have their weak point. Capoeira, without a shadow of a doubt, is invincible
with the feet. But let’s see: what fighter of a different style would face a capoeirista in such conditions, in which
the rules only permitted the use of the feet in the execution of hits? And regarding the boxer, what fighter would face him
if only the use of the hands was allowed in the application of hits? It is the same thing with the martial arts that utilize
the technique of linked movements, the example of jiu-jitsu, what fighter would face a practitioner of this art when the rules
allow only body-to-body combat?
In reality, as said
previously, all of them have their limitations. Capoeira is a street fight. It wins primarily through malícia, deception,
and can never be subjected to regulations, specific to competitions in a ring.
Boxing, like capoeira,
does not mesh with the holds characteristic of close grappling fights. Regarding jiu-jitsu and the many similar arts, they
possess fewer resources than boxing and capoeira for facing more than one adversary, since upon securing one of them, the
fighter will become totally vulnerable to the other attackers, who will be able to attack him freely. In addition, there is
the danger of bites in the sensitive points of the body and stabs with sharp instruments, to cite only a few examples, obviously
prohibited in sporting competitions but often utilized in street fights, in which the fact is that “anything goes,”
any alternative is valid, in the anxiousness to free oneself from a dangerous situation.
Once, in a conversation
with Mestre Pastinha, I asked him what he thought of my aspiration to learn boxing, and he responded that “the capoeirista
is an inquisitive person,” meaning by this that all knowledge is important. Adding: “the capoeirista must aim
to learn a little bit of everything, although his base must remain in capoeira angola,
which is the mother of all fights,” thus avoiding, I believe, the loss of identity.
It is very important
for the capoeirista to utilize all possible alternatives in seeking his perfection, including the fighting aspect; however,
he must be attentive to not commit a very grave error that many unprepared capoeiristas and even some mestres are committing.
Preparing ourselves for a possible attack does not mean that these trainings should be carried out openly so that all witness
them, and it means even less the utilization of other martial arts’ movements in capoeira rodas, to the sound of the
berimbaus and the many other instruments that compose the orchestra. This situation would be characterized as disrespect for
the participants in the roda and for the viewing audience, and mainly for the greatest mestre of capoeira: the berimbau, which
commands and dictates the rhythm.
In this way, the music
and the traditional songs as well as the rituals and the precepts would lose sense, cease to be capoeira, and be transformed
into another style of fight. In this type of proceeding, the greatest fault is with the mestre who commands the roda, who
must be conscious of what he really proposes to teach. If he insists on mixing capoeira with other martial arts, he must at
least have the honesty to change the name of the style that he practices and naturally cease to utilize the musical instruments
and the songs that characterize the accompaniment of the game in the roda, and
not the fight, reserved for defense against our enemies, so that he will not be deceiving people who really want to learn
Concluding, in my opinion,
the capoeira fighter must have notions of boxing and jiu-jitsu. Capoeira’s
strength is in the movements of the ginga, the hits given with the feet and with the head, the rasteira, and principally the
knowledge of malícia, which is one of its unmistakable characteristics, mainly in the style of angola; in boxing, we all know
that its strengths are the punches and dodges and footwork; and in jiu-jitsu, the linked hits, mainly when one manages to
take the opponent to the ground. However, the deficiency of each one is covered by the others, making, in my view, the fighter
very prepared, almost invincible. Nevertheless, if in spite of having all these attributes, he still does not have the knowledge
necessary to surpass fear and other negative feelings, generators of almost all the misfortunes in the life of a human being,
none of this will be enough to achieve his objective that, first of all, must be victory over himself. He will only succeed
when he manages to face any dangerous situation with serenity and confidence, even accepting a possible defeat as part of
the learning process.