Capoeira: African or Brazilian?

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The origins of the illusive art form of Capoeira have always been a controversy. Different parties have argued many sides and have come with sufficient information to found their arguments. Is Capoeira a dance, a ritual, or a fight? Is it from Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, or Pernambuco? Is Capoeira Brazilian or is it African? The answer to the question whether Capoeira is a dance, ritual or fighting style is simple. Capoeira is a ritualistic fighting style disguised as a dance. Knowing or learning whether Capoeira came from Rio, Bahia or Pernambuco would be a very difficult task being that most records and accounts post-slavery were destroyed. Capoeira history is passed through word of mouth, folklore and most commonly through music. All have made similar claims that Capoeira developed in all three states around the same time. The argument of whether Capoeira is African or Brazilian, though it may be controversial, is just a simple as the statements above. The art of Capoeira was developed over a half of a millennium ago in colonial Brazil, making it Brazilian and not African. The lack of written documentation will always prohibit the one hundred percent sureness of Capoeira being Brazilian but understanding what is known and a little common sense can give one enough evidence to support that statement. The opinion of Capoeira’s roots varies between the two styles of game, Capoeira Angola and Capoeira Regional. Angoleiros (Capoeira Angola players) have a very different view compared to their Regional counterparts mainly because of the structure of the two games. Capoeira Regional is based on the practice of sport and combat where Capoeira Angola focuses on the keeping of traditions and rituals from Africa. True Angoleiros believe and follow the words of the legendary Angola master, Vincente Pastinha, when he said “…Capoeira came from Africa; the Africans used

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