Monthly Archives: May 2008

Jogo de Dentre, Jogo de Fora – the Beauty of an Angola Game

This topic is quite difficult to handle, because it is about things which are hard to explain or to grasp rationally. It is about beauty. You hear a lot of people say that this or that game in a Capoeira Roda was expecially cool, exciting or beautiful. And we should all know that when you are playing in the Roda yourself, your aim is not (only) to defeat your partner or to show your dominance, but much more to display a beautiful game.

I will for now concentrate on one part of the beauty of an Angola game: Jogo de Dentre and Jogo de Fora.

These two words should be familiar to most of you people, because there is actually a really nice and much known song about it, going like this:

“Jogo de Dentre, Jogo de Fora, jogo bonito é Jogo de Angola”… and so on.

So what are these two games? Roughly translated they are “the Inside Game” and “the Outside Game”. The easiest explanation is that in a Jogo de Dentre you are very close to your parter. And I mean very close. Actually you can smell the other person, do maybe feel his breathe and you are usually in the reach of a couple of inches. A head-butt is an alltime possibility in such a game. And the Jogo de Fora is the Game when you are in a distance to your partner. Still in a distance where you can hit the person (as in Capoeira Angola you have to be close to your partner), but also in a distance, where just a slight step backwards or to the side does save you from a kick.

There are other general differences (although they sometimes only partially apply):

The Jogo de Dentre is usually played in a low position, with a lot of Queda de Rins, Tesouras, Au de Cabeça (Cartwheel with your head on the ground), Rabo de Arraias, Cabeçadas, Negativas de Angola (that’s basically being flat on the ground…) and so on. It is also usually played in a slower speed, but can rapidly change its speed. So don’t rely on it. The Jogo de Dentre is also considered a more complicated and harder game than the Jogo de Fora.

The Jogo de Fora is a Game where the players are more upright. Meia Luas, Martellos, Esquivas and things alike are more likely to happen here. Basically it is the kind of game which is much more compatible with modern variants of Capoeira. it is also likely to be played to a faster rhythm.

But the true beauty of the Capoeira Game does not come from the different parts, from the Jogo de Dentre and the Jogo de Fora, and all the other things related to Capoeira Angola, like the Chamada, the music, the ladainhas, the rituals and so on. It is the dynamic change between these parts. Especially the dynamics between Jogo de Dentre and Jogo de Fora. A game which does consist of only one of these types of games is usually not existing. Jogo de Dentre is a hard game and really nice to see, but it is also exhausting. A Jogo de Fora is maybe fast, but easy – you always have the possibility to escape. On the other side it is technically not very complicated.

So a beautiful Angola Game does (for example) begin with the two players entangling in a Jogo de Dentre, slowly checking the limits of the other person. Seeing how the other is responding, creating the space between you and your fellow Capoeirista. After a while the room the two Angoleiros have achieved will grow, until there is actually space between them, space for some far-reaching kicks and some fast escapes. In this game for space at some point the other person will get closer, maybe hoping to trap the other one, maybe because he is smaller and is not able to handle the other person. And suddenly the room shrinks again, leading to a Jogo de Dentre. And sometimes in between, all this is given up and a Chamada takes place.

The dynamics between Jogo de Dentre and Jogo de Fora can be imagined like an invisible elastic band between the two players. Once in a while it gets stretched because the two players are far from each other. But this will automatically lead to the players getting closer to each other again. Until the tension of the band is so little that they can create room between each other once again… and so on.



Filed under The Game

A Chamada – the Game in the Game

The Call

Before I start telling you things about the Chamada I have to explain why I am doing it.

In the last few years I have seen many Capoeiristas, students learning Capoeira Regional, Contemporeana AND Angola, being quite surprised when the other one lifted his hands to the Chamada. Most of them usually did not know how to react. Some did not even know what was happening at all. Those where the ones who never saw a Capoeira Angola game at all. In Capoeira Angola, there is a subroutine, a game in the game itself, and that is called Chamada. I am able to explain aspects of it, but definitely not everything around it, because it is like trying to explain Capoeira. It is nothing for words, more something you have to see, or – and this is the best – to experience yourself! I tried to find some online material about the Chamada, and found either surface information, or throughout bad information. I already have written little things about the Chamada, but not really detailed. So I decided to write another post and make you comment and add information – so that more people have at least an idea about the Chamada.

What is the Chamada?

Chamada can be translated as “The Call”. It is the situation when the Capoeira Angola game changes it´s pace and one of the players stands in a ritualistic stance, calling the other player to come to him and engage into a ritual-like dance. The Chamada is one of the least understood and least explained parts of a Capoeira Angola game. Yet, a Capoeira Angola Roda without a Chamada would miss a lot of its fascination.

Why do people do the Chamada?

There are about a zillion reasons, why you could start a Chamada. Usually it is one of these reasons:

  • You got tired and want to have a breath, the Chamada will give you a couple of seconds of rest, although (as I will explain later) rest does not mean that you can relax…
  • The players did not have a compatible game. Sometimes two players have difficulties getting along with each other and do entangle themselves in ugly little trouble. To calm down a situation like this, a Chamada comes in handy.
  • One player got hit. If unintentionally, the Chamada will help focus the concentration, if intentionally, the Chamada will help calming down the mood.
  • One player wants to test the abilities of the other. Usually a beginner or not-so-advanced player wont see and know all the subtleties of a Chamada. So the Chamada is also a good test, how good and advanced a player really is. There are a lot of youngsters out there who are able to do the fanciest movements or don’t have to be afraid of any opponent, but they get lost in a Chamada.

Are there rules about the Chamada?

Shortly said: there are no real rules about the Chamada. There are actually different ritualistic positions for the Chamada and it is good to know as much of them as possible. As there are many different positions it is good to try to remember every position – and the possible dangers of those. Generally, a Chamada is divided into the Intro, the Dance and the Leaving of the Chamada. All these are ruled by the one who “calls”. He calls the other player, who has to come, he does give the Dance its speed and rhythm, and he does say when the Chamada goes to an end and in which direction the game shall go on.

Oh, I forgot, there is one rule-of-thumb which is just very smart for the average player: do not call the mestre. As I said before, the Chamada is also some kind of test. Some Mestres do have issues with students calling them into the Chamada, and you don’t want to find out the hard way, do you?

The most important thing…

…is that the Chamada is still happening in the Roda. And in the Roda you have the general rule: be aware. Nobody says that the Chamada will end a peaceful way. There is always a possibility that a Tesoura is coming in the middle of the Chamada. And if you approach, be aware, that the knee, the elbow or the head of the caller are always very close. You come into close contact with the other person. You actually do touch the person for a longer time (which is not very common in an Angola game). So every step during the Chamada is dangerous and does call for a high level of attention by the player (so much about relaxing, as I said earlier in this post).

The approach

You are playing in the roda. Suddenly your partner does make a couple of steps away from you and lifts both hands, facing you, waiting. You have to approach. There is no rule how you should approach. It is mostly group-specific. Some groups do have the rule that the one who is called can show his acrobactic abilities for a while and then approach. Some teachers do attack you when you do not respond to their Chamada immediately. In most cases it seems to be ok to move on the ground, approaching slowly.

It is always important to be highly attentive when you approach. It is sometimes said that the approach and the leaving of the Chamada are the most dangerous situations. I disagree. As long as you are in close contact to the other player, engaging in the Chamada, attention and alertness are the things you have to rely on. And this is not only the fact for the approach and the leaving, it is also important between these two situations.

While you are coming closer and closer, do use your arms to defend yourself against upcoming knees, feet or downcoming elbows, until you are in a position when you are very close to him and are still quite save.

The Dance

Then the Dance begins. If you have the passive part, you follow your partner. Be alert, he might set up a trap. If he sees that you are alert, he might refrain from trapping you. You will feel the tension in yourself, and if your partner is good, he will seem not to be tensed at all!

Getting out

And the end of the Chamada, the person who called will show the Way. He will point to the direction in which the game should continue. You are not obliged to go that way, because it might be a trap, too. But most people still follow the game, of course being alert (again).

Which types of Chamadas are there?

When I think about it, I might know something like 6 or 7 types of Chamada. I know there are much more, but I think I know the most common ones. Describing them is impossible. I will just post links to different types of Chamadas. But while watching these videos, do mind that there are the little subtleties which are very important for the Chamada. When you go into the Chamada, you usually know and think about the exact position of your hands, your feet and your head – and the position of the same of your partner. Especially if you are the one who has been called AND if the one who called you is a Mestre!


The first video does show a teaching session, showing one of the classic Chamadas. Mind that the way this guy teaches this is not reaaaally the nicest. A Chamada has much more of a dancelike and ritualistic appearance than just five steps forward and back, and showing to the ground. The second video, which is displaying three Chamada situations, is much nicer (at least for an Angoleiro 😉 ). It does show two other common types of Chamada (the one where the Caller turns his back to the called person and the one where the called person has to bow down and is in close proximity and in the ideal position for a knee hit). The video does also show that not only the person calling can attack. Both persons are in danger of getting a take down or a serious hit. The third video I found about this is really nice, cause it shows Mestre Joao Grande in action. In this video you see the 4 most common types of Chamada. But there is also another lesson to learn from this game. At 2 minutes 30 you see that he lifts his hands into the air, calling the other player into the Chamada. What the other player was supposed to do is also lift both his hands, which is of course quite a danger. And Mestre Joao Grande does directly show why, because then you are vulnerable to a Cabecada. Much more interesting for us here is that the Mestre called the other player, let him approach, and directly attacked him, thus stopping the Chamada ritual and continue playing “normal”. A Chamada doesnt have to end in the normal ritualistic way. It can end at any given time with an attack.

More information?

Is there more you know about the Chamada? Other things I forgot to tell cause I got lost in this huge bulk of text (hey, I’m not a professional writer!)? Is there anything I could learn about the Chamada and you could tell me? Please do! It’s kind of sad that there is so little information online to be found about the Chamada. And if some of you did find good information, Just post the link! That would be great!

I hope this post did help you understand a bit about the Chamada. I know that it is also pretty undetailed information and that it does not really go into the philosophy of the Chamada (and there is most definitely a huge bulk of philosophy behind it), but hey, at least I set a beginning with this post, right?


Filed under The Game

The ups and downs of Capoeira life

I remember the words quite well. “Be careful, you are too much into Capoeira.” I heard this sentence sth like 2 months ago. In those days I bought my new berimbau, started learning new songs, new ladainhas, read a couple of more articles about Capoeira, and started a Blog, in which I write down things that are important for me as an Angoleiro. I was completely into it, again! It’s not the first time and I believe won’t be the last time I had that in my Capoeira Career. I remember at least 2 other times where I was on a permanent high. Usually those times were the times in which I learned most. The last few times I started learning how to move. This time I started getting into the music even better. I started getting nice, clear compositions on the berimbau (of course I believe my teachers would say something different, but I noticed the difference). But whatever the improvement is you get out of you Capoeira High, usually the high will vanish after a while.

I realized this last week. I was playing in a park, cause these days are the first nice and warm days in the Netherlands. And while I was playing I realized that I was not really enjoying it. Ok, it will definitely be due to the game itself, to the person involved and so on. But it was not only that. I also felt that I didnt want to play much. I just did, well, because I initialized the roda. I also realized that I dont really want to go to training these days. Today, for example, there is a training, and I am still in doubt. Maybe I should just enjoy the weather.

I think everything in life has its ups and downs. In Caopeira it is the same. And I dont really think that it is a bad thing. Usually, after having a Capoeira Down, I started getting a nice game, much more creative, much more interesting, for me and for the person I play with. The longest time I had was 3 months. 3 months of no Capoeira training at all. My teacher started asking me if I still wanted to train Capoeira at all. And the first game I had after this offtime was against a professor or contramestre (I dont really remember his name, just saw him once in a roda and played with him) and well, as far as I can remember that game was not too bad!

So my question to you people is: Am I the only one having this irregular ups and downs in Capoeira creativity? And what do you do when you feel an Up or a Down coming. Do you still force yourself to go to training although you’re not motivated at all? Or do you force yourself to do something else although you cannot think of anything else than of Capoeira (while you are having a Capoeira Up?)


Filed under Capoeira Today