How can I become an Angoleiro?

Once upon a time… I was biking to a Regional training and a girl who was riding with me asked me: “Why do Regionalistas admire Angoleiros ?”

Well, I think I was the wrong person to ask, because I am an Angoleiro and before I came into contact with regionalistas I didnt even know that there was some kind of admiration there (and I met a couple of Capoeiristas who were braindead saying things like “man, you are doing granny-stuff” – they never went into the roda with me). Maybe I should ask you people: What is so special about Capoeira Angola?

Well, of course I know the differences between the different styles of Capoeira. And I know what I miss when I see a Regional game. I miss a lot of aesthetics, interactions and trickery. I miss the surprise element and I miss the magic (yeah I know, very precise word, magic…) in it.

And while I was thinking about this, some other question came into my mind. What if somebody came to me and would ask the question given as title of this post: How do I become an Angoleiro?

Well, the easiest way to become an Angoleiro is to exclusively train in a Capoeira Angola group. Be careful: I am not saying that it is the only way and I am definitely not saying that, if you like to train in a modern Capoeira group, that you should stop immediatedly. What I am saying is, just, that it is the easiest way. I did play 6 years of Capoeira Angola before I started taking lessons in Regional. And I realize that I will stay an Angoleiro forever, because it is imprinted in my body. I move like an Angoleiro, I play like an Angoleiro, I am an Angoleiro!

If you did train in a Regional group first, it takes time to get the Regional out of you, if you want to be an Angoleiro. And the longer you played Capoeira Regional before, the longer it takes to get rid of that “imprint”. In that case, it does help for the first few years to stop playing with regionalistas completely and focus on the Capoeira Angola training. Once you move and play like an Angoleiro without having to think about it, then it is not a problem to play Regionalistas anymore. Otherwise playing Regional while still learning Angola will inhibit your progress in learning Capoeira Angola.

But is it impossible to learn both? When I apply pure logics to it, I’d say no. It is not impossible. But you have to understand first that the difference between Regional and Angola is not the speed and playing low. Some people do make this mistake and are then quite surprised or angry when another Angoleiro playing with them does have a different opinion. I will just mention some things one has to keep in mind when he wants to be an Angoleiro.

  • moving in Capoeira Angola is different than moving in modern Capoeira. The amount of relaxation of the body in Capoeira Angola is higher, coupled with a high concentration because we might look like we are relaxed but we are not stupid – we are still in the Roda, eh?
  • expression, play and magic is of ultimate importance. You cannot just exchange movements.
  • It is not about speed and force of the movements. it is also not about hitting the target or not. Rhythm, beauty and timing of the movements are of (at least) equal value in Capoeira Angola.
  • The music in Capoeira Angola is not only background rhythm for the players. It is part of the Game. It can interact with the players and vice versa.
  • Rituals are not just certain movements you do with your hands. Rituals do have an effect, if you believe in magic or not.

Another thing I have to say is: whatever you are learning. If you are learning Capoeira Angola, Regional, Contemporeana or any mixture of these. Do not forget that you only have one body. So everything you learn stays in that body, gets mixed up or overlayed by new knowledge, but never really vanished. That is the reason why you can always see if you have an Angoleiro in fron of you or not, even if he is playing “regional”. My first trainer stopped playing Regional almost 10 years ago and he had serious difficulties to get into the Angola style at all. He is a very good Angola teacher and his tyle is great. But I am not unjust if I say that compared to full-flesh Angoleiros you can see that his style (and consequently my style, because I learned 99% of my knowledge from him) is more upright, agonistic, faster and less playful. On the other side. I am training with a Regional group since a year. And you dont have to know anything about Capoeira and you will still see that there is a huge in-play difference between me and most of the players in the group.

And one thing you should never forget is: even if you want to be an Angoleiro, do not underestimate or ignore everything you learned till now. In a Capoeira Roda, and especially in a Capoeira Angola Roda, everything can be an advantage (including a loose shoe!) and some Regional experience is sometimes quite useful.

So, coming back to the original question. You are a Regionalista and you want to become an Angoleiro? It is never too late. Go, find yourself an Angoleiro. Try to imitate him, try to learn from him. Do not forget what you already know from modern Capoeira, but do also see that there are a lot more differences to Capoeira Angola than just speed and height. If you want your progress in becoming an Angoleiro to increase, do stop playing Regional for a while. Do not worry that you will never be able to play Regional any more. It is just to get the Angoleiro in you awake faster.


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