Mixing styles: Can you train both Angola and Regional?

This is one of the most controverse topics in discussions between Angoleiros and Regionalistas. And it is a question which is coming up more and more often since several groups claim for themselves that they a) practise both or b) that the dichotomy between Regional and Angola is artificial and thus, that they are training “Capoeira só”. Capoeira e uma so, I agree. But most of the time this sentence is used to downsize the existing difference between the styles. Isnt it possible that there is one Capoeira, but with two different styles? Can you intermix those styles?

Capoeira e uma so?

First I want to talk about the difference between Capoeira Angola and modern variants of Capoeira. The question I want to ask is: how big is the difference? Because, if there is no big difference between the two styles of Capoeira, than the issue is not that big, right? We have to keep in mind that these styles are not monolithic constructs. They did develop over time and under the influence of different mestres and different schools, thus both evolving into artforms with a lot of variants. Thus the issue get’s more complicated than you think.

Let’s chose the most simple solution to this problem. Below I posted 6 videos of Capoeira games and you people will make a self-test and see if you can see the difference between an Angola game and a Regional game.

Ok, so most of you were able to distinguish the different styles here, right? Good, for me that’s proof enough that there is not only one Capoeira, bBut two distinguishable styles.

Enter: Capoeira Angonal

Can you intermix the styles?  As supporters of a mixed Capoeira do say over and over again, there was no dichotomy between Capoeira Regional and Capoeira Angola before Mestre Bimba and Mestre Pastinha started teaching these. So logically there should be the possibility to get back to the traditional “pre-forms” of Capoeira by mixing Capoeira Angola and Regional, right? Although this logic seems to be intriguing, as an Angoleiro I have to say that there is one basic mistake in this assumption. That is to see Capoeira Angola as something which did evolve from the old Capoeira and which is significantly different from it, as different as other modern variants of Capoeira. We Angoleiros do insist on the fact that Capoeira Angola is the traditional Capoeira (or at least what comes closest to it). The dichotomy did evolve when the modern form of Capoeira Regional did come to existence. So if somebody wants to rely on tradition, why doesnt he play Capoeira Angola?

Thus, when you try to intermix the modern form with the traditional form, then what you wont get back to a traditional form. Present mixes of Capoeira Regional and Capoeira Angola are sometimes called Capoeira Contemporeana or Capoeira Angonal. When you search for both terms you will find modern Capoeira groups, Angoleiros still would still call them Regionalistas. Check it yourself on Youtube by typing in Capoeira Angonal. Some of the videos do sometimes resemble an Angola game, but as an Angoleiro (and I assume also as a modern Capoeirista) you will be able to see the difference. On the other side I have to admit that it is hard to name the differences. There is a lot differentiating the Angoleiro from the Regionalista: the ginga, the way of moving, the use of malicia (there is also malicia in modern Capoeira though), the expression, the speed, the proximity of the players to each other and much more. Although we might not be able to pinpoint it, we can tell if we see an Angoleiro playing or not.

But what is with those old Capoeiristas who did say that they were neither Regional and neither Angola like Mestre Canjiquinha or Mestre Leopoldina?

With these Mestres it is more difficult to put them into certain categories, as they are clearly no Regionalistas, but they seem to differ from the typical Angoleiro style. To answer this you have to remember that most Angoleiros nowadays are in the tradition of Mestre Pastinha and his students Mestre Joao Grande and Joao Pequeno. But there were other mestres, and those played different. For Angoleiros there is no contradiction. The other old mestres might play differently, but for an Angoleiro they are clearly traditional Capoeiristas, thus: Angoleiros. On the other side, supporters of the “Capoeira e uma so” idea do bring these examples as evidence that present day Capoeira Angola is also just a new style and that by practising Capoeira Angonal, you are actually really traditional! Angoleiros, seeing themselves as protectors of the traditional Capoeira, see “Angonalistas”, their game, and start getting suspicious. Is Capoeira Angonal just a marketing idea, brought up when being “traditional” started to be cool again? Because, Capoeira Angonal did not exist (neither as word nor as idea) when traditional Capoeira was threatened by extinction, when being modern was all, and being traditional was considered antiquated or plain stupid. Only when people started realizing that being traditional is not equal to being old-fashioned and antiquated, and when traditional Capoeira did start to rise in reputation again, only then the “true” “pre-forms” of dichotomy free Capoeira did come up.

Can you train both and keep them separate?

So, for an Angoleiro you can’t intermix the styles and make a Capoeira Angonal. That would be just taking over some of the traditions, but keeping the modern changes in it. Thus, it would still not be traditional Capoeira Angola. It would be more like taking your favourite pieces to spice your game up again, but denying the rest.

On the other side there are other groups who say that they train both, but separated from each other, having Capoeira Angola classes in one week and Capoeira Regional classes the other weeks. At first thought, there cant be a big problem with this, right? The only thing you have to do then is to define when you are going to play Regional, and when you are going to play Angola. I have met people who did say that they train both and yes, you could see that. It was still not the game of an Angoleiro. The following video is an example where you see a group of Regionalistas training Capoeira Angola.

But be careful: It’s not that Angoleiros dont appreciate when modern Capoeiristas do show interest in Capoeira Angola. I love it and I wish much more modern Capoeiristas would do that! But you should be aware that everybody will see the difference between a pure Angoleiro and a Capoeirista who learned to play Capoeira Angola.

At the end: it is one body and one brain we are training. And if you have seen people from other martial arts training Capoeira you know exactly what I mean. What you learned before, does influence your game. Be it another martial art, be it Capoeira Regional or Capoeira Angola. I trained for a year with a group of Capoeira Contemporeana, and I have observed two things about my game: One, if I would want to play the same way as the students of that group, I would have to train years with them, and concentrate on not using what I learned before. Only after years people will have a hard time seeing if I was an Angoleiro before or not. And on the other side, only after a year of training with a modern Capoeira group my first Capoeira Angola teacher and other Angoleiros could see the difference in my game. Less than before I was going into Jogo de Dentro, I was kind of restricted in my game. Had problems seeing through the malicia of my teacher, and so on.

I dont say it’s bad that I trained with a group of modern Capoeira. Life is a learning process and for sure I have learned things in the last year. But I realized myself that my game started to change, and develop away from my Capoeira Angola skills. That is why I now start focusing on Capoeira Angola again.

Is it impossible to play both?

No it’s not, when you see Mestres play you can see that there are a lot of Mestres who can play both styles of Capoeira. With some of the bigger Mestres it is impossible to see if they are Angoleiros or Regionalistas. They blend into any Roda. And that’s something admirable for sure. One nice example is the game in the following video.

But to be able to blend into both styles does not only need the will to do it, but also the coordination and the experience to do so. For the usual student of modern Capoeira, like most of my readers, it is impossible to play Angola Angoleiro style. And for me it is impossible to play Regional Regional style.

At least not with a few years of experience.


So what does it mean for us? First, we have to decide on what we are gonna be. Do we want to be Angoleiros or Regionalistas? Do we want to concentrate on one, or do we want to learn both? It’s not a mistake to chose to learn both styles. I can see that there are different qualities in the different styles and that you want to learn and experience them both. I as an Angoleiro dont want to recommend on training some kind of mix of the two styles, because these mixes have not proven themselves to be a real alternative to the established schools and styles. And I would also recommend you to learn the two styles in different schools. Not because one school might not be able to learn you the basics of both, but because the chance to learn both properly is higher when you go to a modern Capoeirista for modern Capoeira, and to an Angoleiro for Capoeira Angola.



Filed under Capoeira Today

42 responses to “Mixing styles: Can you train both Angola and Regional?

  1. Soldado

    Excellent! This really is a constant topic of discussion even at our academy. It seems that a lot of regional schools attempt to incorporate, to some degree, angola style movements and thinking to make their players more well rounded. Thanks for another thought provoking post 🙂

  2. Xixarro

    You’re so right; you can’t mix both styles into one new style. I do think playing both is a good idea, even if it’s only for variation. But you can’t expect to have an angolagame between regionals. I see it over and over on our festivals, high graded regional players entering an angola roda. Most of them just hurt my eyes. But I see no reason to stop them from playing like that, like you said, it’s a good thing that they show interest towards angola.

    But the one thing I hate, and with hate I mean ‘don’t understand, disrespect and hate’ is when these regionalplayers start playing like a regionalplayer whenever they can’t ‘beat’ the angoleiro. And the angoleiro can also be a regionalplayer like myself trying hard to stick to angola.


    PS: I do not agree with your comments on that last video. I have no idea who these two players are, but it is clear to me that the guy in white is not an angoleiro, but probably a CDO (cordão de ouro). His moves are typically CDO and especially from the game miudinho. I’d rather say that the play well together by accident than by his angolaskills. He never gives me the impression to be playing angola or even giving the other one a hard time. He’s just using all he learned to escape and… show off to be honest.

    And also, why does that angoleiro do a volta ao mundo in the wrong direction? I thought that was not allowed in the capoeira tradition?

  3. Another great and amazingly relevant post, Angoleiro! Although, I have to say—“Capoeira Angonal”?! You’ve got to be kidding me. That is some messed-up etymology (let alone “jogo-ology”!). ><” Is it just me, or does it even seem slightly…tacky-sounding?

    To me, what makes the most sense is to call “mixes” capoeira contemporanea—since then you’re not restricted to strictly defining the angola and/or regional involved…it’s just “contemporary” capoeira, which I think in itself already connotes the fluidity in the treatment of both styles.

    I also think the way for a group to give its students experience of both regional and angola with the most “integrity” to each style is what you suggested, concentrating on one but teaching the other on its own as a different style altogether and specifying so, including background, context, etc. On the students’ side, I think it is possible to become good in both, but yes, only with many, many years of training and experience in each, and probably not ever at the same time. (I think Shayna would have lots to say on this topic!)

  4. Just saw Xixarro’s comment. This point really struck a chord with me: “when these regionalplayers start playing like a regionalplayer whenever they can’t ‘beat’ the angoleiro”. I think that idea alone is worth a post of its own, also because it’s not just a regional/angola thing but can happen within each style itself. Once someone in my group said that he thought smaller capoeiristas eventually become better players in the roda because they don’t necessarily have brute strength to fall back on anytime, as opposed to bigger guys who sometimes might turn to brute strength when they’re cornered game-wise. Definitely a thought worth chewing on!

  5. okay… there is definitely a lot to answer to I see, and I am glad about it 🙂

    first of all, thanks for your comments people. I was actually not sure if I can get this issue into one post. There is a lot in there which is worth a post for its own, but well…

    @soldado: I guess it makes a player more rounded to add movements out of Capoeira Angola into his repertoire. But by doing so you are ripping the movements out of their context, capoeira angola, and do apply them in a game of Capoeira Regional. There’s nothing wrong with it, but you then have to know that you are still not playing Capoeira Angola.

    @Xixarro: starting to play like a regionalista when you feel endangered/cornered in an Angola roda is one of the biggest mistakes you can do, I agree. you will not make any friends there and will get knocked down cold too.
    the last video is from mestre cobra mansa and pestre poncianinho from cordao de ouro. I have to congratulate you for your eye of detail. yes, I do also see that mestre poncianinho is not an angoleiro, but I have to admit that his game is good and that he keeps up pretty well against mestre cobra mansa (who is challenging him in this roda).
    about the volta do mundo: there are two possibilities. mestre joao pequeno (if I am right it was him) said that you have to walk clock-wise, otherwise the energia of the roda will get lost. most of the people are walking anti/-clock wise though. I think as long as nobody complaints you can handle this relaxed. oh yeah, and if Mestre Cobra Mansa does this I think we can trust on his experience and expertise.

    @joaninha: I am not kidding you. just google Capoeira Angonal. As far as I can believe the stories it started as derogatory word created by Angoleiros to describe the new mixture. I would agree with your definition of contemporary capoeira, trying to keep a distance to the dichotomy between modern and traditional capoeira. though I am tempted to say that keeping up this distance is almost impossible as most contemporean groups derive from the old regional schools (like senzala or directly from the academia of Bimba).
    interesting point on the smaller players, I gotta admit. maybe it’s true. a smaller player cant rely on brute strength or on length, which is why one must rely on agility, speed and timing. that is not that the bigger players cant get better – they just have to concentrate on not following the temptation to use their strength.

  6. Xixarro

    Thanks for the good explenation about the volta ao mundo!

  7. you’re welcome! though I gotta admit that the volta do mundo might have more mysteries to it than only the clock-wise or anti-clockwise walk (it’s a chamada as you people know, and as in every chamada: look out! 😉 )

  8. jason

    Hello folks,
    It is a discussion that is pretty common around Capoeira: Can you train both?
    There are a lot of answers–most of them seem centered around the idea of approaching both with integrity. However, as an angoleiro who has trained with very fine mestres and instructors of the style, the answer I would have to volunteer is “no.”
    Sorry if that makes me a hater…
    For example, as people have questions about things like which way to go in volta do mondo, or details about chamadas, or why you don’t au from pe do berimbau: these are details that one gets from focusing on angola deeply. A narrow path must be forged in order for it to be profound. Angola is a process of initiation and things are only revealed to you slowly and if you are committed. My mestre wouldn’t teach the same thing to everyone, because only those who demonstrate their commitment and “worthiness” to receive the real deal will get it. That is how African tradition is–a process of initiation. It is not characterized by the color of your belt, but rather by your demonstrated understanding.
    It is not in our interest to be relativist about capoeira–that is, to say “They do it this way here, and that way there, so everything is relative and I can do what I feel is a good compromise of the two…”
    Capoeira Angola puts the highest emphasis on respect for the elder–the teacher. What your teacher tells you is what his teacher taught him and so forth all the way back to it’s root. What other people do is irrelevant to your relation to the art. It is therefor of primary importance to have a True mestre and not a make-shift mestre who, as Mestre Pastinha said “…destroy our culture which is so beautiful.”
    Many schools will teach “both,” but only teach angola to advanced students. Makes no sense. Why would you teach the fundamental last? And furthermore, why would you teach something you don’t even know? They play a different game but act like they can do both? We don’t act like we can play regional, much less teach it. That would be condescending.
    Many “mestres” who play both, when you watch their angola game, it is apparent that they only have a superficial knowledge of what to do. It is like someone putting on blackface and saying they’re black. (Ouch!) This is not the person you should be learning from.
    If you want to play regional–good. Play regional and honor your teacher. That is the most “angola” thing you can do–respect your elders and honor the relationship with your mestre and your tradition.
    To confuse a little bit of knowledge with a deeper understanding is only doing a disservice to both traditions and yourself.
    You can’t ride two horses with one ass.

  9. Erfurgem

    I havent read the other remarks, so you might get it twice, but first; there seems to be a contradiction. IF there are mestres who can play in any roda, and you wouldnt be able to tell whether they are angola or regional, that would mean there is one capoeira. And then the distinction between angola and regional is just a matter of preference. You preference to train this way or that way, but it can be blended and mixed in a way that nobody is able to tell which of the two you were and which will make you fit in any game…

    Also I dont think angola is THE traditional capoeira, because they way I see it, you never stop change and progress, it goes unwanted and can go unnoticed. It it has been around too long, and it has spread over the world… so things must have changed in there as well.

    And, I think that maybe, in the quest to be traditonal, angola might have embrached bits and pieces that were already getting extinct in the ‘old capoeira’, or brought back traditions into the game which were already gone, or maybe even imported traditions because they thought it was part of it…. Same as that regional has abandoned the traditions… I think both styles are subject to changes. You can be pro, or contra, but I doubt you can deny it is a fact.

    I guess it is all just a matter of where you come from, what you believe in, and I doubt there is one truth out there on this subject 🙂

  10. Erfurgem

    Oh and, I think we give music too little respect in this subject? Shouldnt the music guide your movements, the game you play and the speed? in that case, you play angola when the music does, and regional when the music does… (ofcourse, that only works if you master both perfectly 😉 ) So then maybe, the split between the styles is strongly lying on music as well….

    Hmm I will have to sit on this one for a while myself I guess 😉

  11. hey erfurgem,

    thanks for your time and efforts to comment on this one. But I have to contradict you in one or two points.
    First,I gotta contradict your contradiction. Maybe you got it wrong. But when a mestre can play both styles and you cannot see by his play which style his first style was, that still doesnt mean that he is not playing two different styles. do you get my point? that’s like a guy who speaks portuguese and spanish perfectly (like a native). although you might not be able to say if he is spanish or portuguese you will still be able if he is speaking one of the languages at the moment. you know. regional and angola are in the same family (capoeira), but they are still different languages.
    I do get your point that Capoeira Angola is subject to changes and that some “traditions” might be not at all traditional. But what is true for Capoeira Angola is that it is the style which is committed to keep the traditions as they were. and although there might be changes over time, the difference might be not that big. we are not talking about the difference between the african n’golo and todays capoeira angola, but between the way mestre pastinha learned it and the way we angoleiros learn it. after all, there is only 2 generations of mestres between us and mestre pastinha. and not only this, but it’s also a fact that not only pastinha did teach us the traditional capoeia, but also others (so we cant assume a bottleneck-effect by having the traditions tought only by one person). so all in all: capoeira angola is the most traditional way of capoeira you can get!
    the argument about the music you brought up is actually an argument which mestre canjiquinha once brought up. he said “when the berimbau plays angola, I’ll play angola. when it plays regional, I play regional.” By mentioning this you actually do admit that there are two capoeiras. but by mentioning it you also forget that capoeira angola and capoeira regional are not merely dependent on what the berimbau says. the bateria of the two styles is different, the structure of the songs and the set-up of the roda is – and even if that wouldnt be important: you cant just switch from regional to angola and forget everything you learned from the first while playing the second. at least not if you are not a mestre (and here I have to add that jason is right in one point, most of the mestres are really able to do the switch, too!).
    the point of my post was that it’s not possible to just mix them and think that you are still playing both. it’s another style then, neither regional, nor angola. and for an angoleiro that is as good (or as bad) as any other modern form of capoeira. I mean, mestre bimba did also merely do this: he mixed capoeira (angola) with other movements and added a structured teaching method. e voila… regional.


  12. Erfurgem

    OK I think indeed I got you wrong the first time. And I do agree, there is 2 styles, and mixing is not thesame. Would be sort of a 3rd style.
    I dont agree with angola being so traditional. I think no matter how hard you try to keep something the way it was, it will still be subject to change. Maybe not as much, but still. I also dont agree with capoeira angola being THE traditional capoeira. It will maybe come close to it. But then, if you go further back to Rio, capoeira was more violent, more fighting. So, then you can wonder, what IS exaclty THE original capoeira? When did it stop being some pre-capoeira-dance (like the ngolo which you mention, which is only 1 theory of where capoeira could come from), and start being capoeira? And so, when do you say it is modern capoeira, and when not? I mean, for people that lived in the time when capoeira was just created, there were probably also people saying, ‘no I want to preserve that pre-capoeira-dance’. Others liked the newer capoeira and played it. Etc etc.
    Personally I think capoeira angola is just as non-original as capoeira regional. Capoeira angola just pays more respect to the african roots of capoeira. Which I like, dont get me wrong! I like it more than the more cultural deprived regional. But, I think it is wrong to think that has more value because it is more authentic. Because, authenticy is all a matter where you come from. If you grew up in Rio, you think angola is the sissy-ass capoeira, because in your old days, capoeira was used by street fighters and thugs. However if you’re from Bahia, you say that capoeira angola is the more traditional way…

    I guess, as with anything, the truth will lie in the middle. Sure, angola today has more traditional aspects than regional, if you compare it to the beginning of last century. But who knows how accurate it is for the times before that…. (do you get what Im trying to say?)

    Anyway, Im also just having a brain free flow. It is not like I had a preset point about this. The discussion forms my opinion here…. 🙂

  13. Erfurgem

    I hate that you cannot alter your post after you posted it. I see now some sentences that I want to change, to bring my point across better. Well, whatever 🙂

  14. I am sorry for that. Sadly I wont let you change what you have written so far 😉

    anyway… what you did describe in terms of traditional/non-traditional is actually not so far away from my point. I did already say that Capoeira Angola might not be all-in-all the traditional one but the closest thing there is to a traditional Capoeira. It is indeed only traditional in terms of going back a hundred or hundred-fifty years. The Capoeira before say 1850 might have been very different from the “traditional” one we have now.
    But, I dont agree with the saying Capoeira Angola is as non-original as Capoeira Regional. You forget that since Mestre Bimba a lot of Mestres and other Capoeiristas did actively take over techniques from other martial arts and add also a lot of acrobatics and thus did change modern Capoeira. Whereas the changes which might have come up in Capoeira Angola where limited to a minimum (due to the self-image of Angoleiros as being the keepers of tradition…wouldnt make sense to actively incorporate new things and say “hey, we are playing the old style!”).
    and another thing which is a common misunderstanding about capoeira carioca (rio capoeira) is that “in the old days it was much more violent”. that it was violent is ok, but there was also still the game of capoeira and people enjoyed watching it and so on.
    and…finally one thing I gotta admit: the Capoeira Angola we are playing today is mostly in the tradition of Bahian Capoeira. There were other forms of Capoeira in Rio and Recife, but those died out (mostly). Thus, when I say Capoeira Angola is traditional I mean Bahia ca. 1900 (+/- 30 years).
    But well…this discussion did change now to the question Capoeira Angola traditional or not. It actually should have been about mixing things up. But as you are of my opinion there (more or less) I cant add anything to the discussion anymore! 🙂

  15. Erfurgem

    OK, I guess we are indeed on thesame page. I ment with as non-traditional as the other, that indeed it is only traditional for Bahia 1900’s. You that you can wonder how traditional that is in comparison to the overall tradition. But if you look the other way around, it is defintily more traditional than regional. Matter of standpoint.
    And now I will stop hijackig this discussion 😉

  16. how traditional capoeira angola or bahian 1900 capoeira is in comparison to overall tradition? there is no good record for this. those who wrote about it usually didnt play it, those who played it usually didnt know how to write. one of the richest sources about capoeira is the oral tradition (with all its drawbacks). and that’s what we rely on.
    but yeah… stop hijacking this discussion! 😉

  17. Erfurgem

    dude… it was a retorical question…. 😉 I know that. Im just stating that you can discuss in howfar it is traditional.

  18. I dont know how much you can discuss it. capoeira angola is as traditional as you can get. that’s a fact, no?

    and yes… you are still persistent in hijacking this discussion 😉

  19. Erfurgem

    see email, so I will stop the hijack on the blog 😛

  20. Pintado

    I have to say the “adapt to the rythm”-idea is the most appealing to me. Probably because I’m with a contemporânea group, and we play both angola and regional (but the lineage goes back to mestre Waldemar, not Bimba or Senzala, as Angoleiro said most modern groups’ does. Maybe that often is the situation, but at least not in our case). Although I myself enjoy angola more than regional, I like the idea of listening to the berimbau and play accordingly – to whatever toque is being played. I think it gives a certain richness to capoeira, which you don’t get when focusing on one style. Arguably, it could be said that going in-depth into f.ex angola would give a different, but equal richness.

    If you watch this series of videos of Aula do Mestre Canjiquinha http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vzhS-iCBAk , you can see him going through different rythms (I haven’t got the time to watch it right now, but i saw it some time ago, and if I remember correctly, that’s what he does), where his students play different styles according to the ryhtm. I think one style even is without ginga, and just some kind of jumping ready-stance.

    And think I recall Mestre Acordeon in his Capoeira, a Brazilian art form, listing the old mestres in Bahia and also what rythms they were known for using in their rodas. And also, someone in the same book hes’s describing the different types of games belonging to each rythm.

    I don’t know how it’s with you guys here, but at least it is my experience that today these other toques (half of them seems to be forgotten) are just something you learn to play on the berimbau, but which are never used in the roda. In my group we usually play Angola, Benguela and São Bento Dobrado (which is an easier form of Bimba’s São Bento Grande). These others are just used for practice, and sometimes for background music in training, shows, etc…

    How is it with the rest of you? Do you play different types of games and rythms, or is it always the same, with variation only through tempo.

    As I said, my group is a contemporânea one, and you might say capoeiristas in my group become jack-of-all-trade-capoeiristas who knows a bit about everything, but specializes in nothing (although some specialization occur, because different people have different interests). But I think a capoeirista becomes better the more he knows. And then why would you say no, thank you, to all the knowledge that lies within either Regional or Angola. Of course when you study two things at once it will take twice the time to become proficient in each, so maybe it’s just a matter of preference. Specialization or knowing a bit about everything.

    I realize my post is becoming longer and longer, and there really isn’t any direction in it, but I’ll just say one more thing, and I’ll be done.

    As to the topic question, can you train both, I would have to say yes, you can. But i realize that it will take much longer time for me, doing both things, to reach a high skill level in for example angola (both knowledge-wise, movement-wise and malicia-wise). But at the same time I can enjoy the benefits and joys of both, and if that comes at the price of never becoming the ultimate angoleiro or regionalista, I think I am willing to pay that price… I think…
    Maybe i will change my mind in the future and focus on only one thing, but then I believe my earlier experiences will be of nothing but value to me. Capoeira is not an uniform art, every individual has his or her unique style, and that in my eyes is a good thing.
    Look at Mestre Cobra Mansa and Mestre Jogo de Dentro. Both angoleiros, but with as different a jogo that is possible within the same “style”.

    (Sorry for the way-too-long post, but when I write English, I am not that good at expressing myself and getting to the point.)

  21. A couple of thoughts: since Capoeira Angola got its name after Mestre Pastinhas school and ideas and other teachers continued to teach the same good old stuff he did (with maybe even lesser degree of innovation) we should be using its former names Vadiacao and Capoeiragem, if we are arguing what has the longest tradition.

    As we gathered in Capoeira.com, anti-clockwise volta do mundo is inspired by the prevailing natural order of spiral movement pioneered by the good old Blue-Green Spaceship itself. So the reason is not only logical but cosmological.

    And Angonal really is a horrible-horrible term, at first I thought it was a typo, but now in my postfestive brain it starts to rhyme with words like diagonal and mangonal and I’m afraid the last one doesn’t even mean anything. I hope I can wake up later and have no memory of it..

  22. Hey people, thank you all for your comments. Obviously I have hit an interesting topic – and of all: a very controversial one, too. I am afraid I wont be able to respond to every comment in detail, but I will try my best.

    Pintado: first of all, interesting what you said about your lineage and I would like to know more about that school. Is there anything of your school – a kind of a video or sth – which you can refer to, so that I can see if there is a difference in playing style when your lineage comes from mestre pastinha?
    and to your comment, well I know that there are some people who make the style of game depending from the music played, but as I said earlier it’s not just the berimbau rhythm which does dictate the game. it’s the whole roda. the video of the aula de canjiquinha you referred to is – in my eyes – not a very good example of mixed style capoeiristas. why? you can see in which style those students are more familiar with. as I said. if you want to be jack of all trades, that’s fine, but you will have to know and to see that there are drawbacks of that…you will be master of none. or it takes longer time, but even that is doubtful. cause, as I said, you have only one body, and your angola training will influence your regional and vice versa.
    in terms of individual style, you are right, everybody should have an individual style (though a lot of students nowadays dont!) and that makes capoeira even richer. but in the example of mestres cobra mansa and jogo de dentro, you can see that both are angoleiros, right? so they have some patterns in common, those which define an angoleiro (define is a bad word because it’s actually hard to define the difference between angoleiro and regionalista).

    @sven: I have to disagree in your first point. Capoeira Angola as a term did come up in the 1920’s, even before Bimba’s school – and far before Pastinha’s school. It was not a set terminus, but it was existent, pointing towards African Capoeiristas and their Capoeira (or at least those of immediate African descent). And as Capoeira was never a very defined art, there are a lot of problems with the termini used. Yes, you have Vadiacao, Capoeiragem, Capoeira, Capoeira Angola and so on. and those words were used with different connotations and meanings. So if you prefer to call the pre-Pastinha traditional Capoeira Capoeiragem, that’s alright, but it’s a matter of your choice. I dont know where you got the explanation for anti-clock wise volta do mundo from, but it’s definitely one way to explain it. As I said, the direction of the volta do mundo seems to be handled with a certain load of ease. And finally, I am sorry for the term angonal. But as I said, you can google and find it. It’s not my invention.

    Cheers for all your comments! 🙂

  23. Wow, this conversation really got going. As a postscript to Erfurgem and Angoleiro’s debate, I’d highly recommend reading Greg Downey’s Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art. (I know I’ve mentioned this book like 5 times to you by now, Angoleiro. XD) In it he actually talks about exactly what you mentioned, the movement to reclaim and revive capoeira angola, mostly through the efforts of Mestre Moraes and GCAP.

    According to Downey, part of this angola revival movement was a conscious effort to make it overtly distinct from capoeira regional and/or contemporanea. Often, this consisted of adding and intensifying what were considered to be aspects of “original” capoeira, so that in some cases, the end version of the group’s capoeira was more exaggeratedly “angola” than the original angola itself ever was, if that makes sense. So I think Erfurgem’s original point does hold some water, though of course it’s hard to confirm to how much of an extent.

  24. I get your and greg’s point. I still have to buy that book, I gotta admit! although I would like to first read greg downey’s book before I judge about it being true or not, I guess I understand what he means. but I think concentrating and increasing the importance of some parts of capoeira is still something else than changing it (e.g. including new movements out of other martial arts or deleting important parts of it).
    But, as I said already, Capoeira Angola might not be the same as in 1850, but it comes closest to it. And that’s enough for me 🙂

  25. jason

    It is interesting that so much of this conversation turns to issues of authenticity. Reasoning that “Angola isn’t the same as it was 100 years ago, so it isn’t True capoeira anyway…”
    Capoeira Angola–when it is taught right–leaves the specifics up to the individual.
    People will understand the underlying philosophy and concepts and they will manifest it in their individual way. When you go to an academy and the students all play the same, it is lacking something. The uniformity of their style may show technical understanding, but just programming moves into your body is not all there is to this. Many schools, people even put the same “dende” on their game–doing the same little flourishes that usually define one individual’s game from another’s. This creates Capoeira Robots–people who have a set of movements programmed into them, but good as they may be, have not got individual games.
    Angola should always show the spirit and character of the person playing it, and if your whole school plays alike, you may be deficient in something.
    People do not play like Mestre Pastinha’s school anymore (and they definitely don’t play like they did in Mestre Bimba’s school). The times have changed. Now those concepts are articulated differently–though not drastically differently.
    To be static is not what Angola is about. It is about recognizing the principal well spring of Africa in capoeira, and organizing your physical and mental vocabulary through that filter.
    M. Moraes is quoted as having said that one cannot claim to know Capoeira without knowing African culture. M. Joao Grande has said that everything everything everything in Capoeira Angola is African.
    To know this and work to preserve that link is what makes an Angoleiro–not that you do chamadas or wait til after a ladainha to start to play.
    After all, what are you going to be calling with your ladainha?
    What are you evoking with your music and game?
    Capoeira Angola is only the method of bringing something else into action, and if you don’t understand the power of that thing, the true point of the game is missing.
    As I said previously, you can’t play both and call yourself an Angoleiro,
    but I’ll also say that you can do both and be a very fine Capoeirista. I’ve known some people–albeit only very few–that do practice both and have a rich understanding of the game (Pintado’s writing seems to demonstrate this).
    But, as an angoleiro, the game is just a means to the end we should be striving for.

  26. Hey Jason,

    I really like your comments! sometimes they come out a bit straightforward, but that’s just your style of saying things. anyway, the last comment was really nice. You are right in reminding us that Capoeira Angola is not only about which movements are authentic, but also about the expression of your own game and freedom (I know, this is a bit of a sloppy sum up). But for me it is very logical that students first imitate their mestre and afterwards start developing their own style (according to their personal features, abilities and characters). But I think it is still important to keep an eye on the traditions (ok, for everybody being content: “traditions”) and to try to play Capoeira Angola. Of course, some rules are only there to keep order and respect (like how and when to respond to a chamada), but I think keeping those traditions and especially the underlying principles (respect, awareness, spirituality, expression…….) is the duty of an Angoleiro, including the movements and the rules. Especially when you are a student of Capoeira Angola it’s always safer and better to stick to what your teacher told you.
    And thanks for coming back to the topic of this post, jason, there are so many interesting related topics that it’s hard to focus on this one specifically!


    thanks again for your comments!

  27. Oh, I didn’t actually disagree with anything you said, Angoleiro (on the contrary!), I just wanted to point out the reference. 🙂 I also think there’s a definite difference between the more “disruptive/outright” change that produced regional and the more, perhaps, “evolutionary” change that occurred for angola.

    I like reading Jason’s comments, too. It’s like getting to hear from another angoleiro but one who doesn’t have to remain saintly diplomatic all the time. 😉

    One question I have though, Jason, is at the end of your comment you said “the game is just a means to the end we should be striving for”. I was wondering what that end is? To be honest, I would’ve thought a mere “means to an end” is the last thing anyone would deem a capoeira game to be…?

  28. jason

    Good Morning,
    First of all, I respect and appreciate your positions as well.
    J, the “means to an end…” that capoeira is, is in reference to the fact that
    at the beginning of the game we do a ladainha, then the louvacao (chula), which are designed to call spirits into the roda. We are inviting “the other side” into the place to create an area where the line between the visible and invisible, the physically possible with physically impossible–where that distinction is blurred.
    The best rodas we’ve been to, the ones where people were out of their heads and operating thoughtlessly yet beautifully–those places have the benefit of this open door.
    In Angola, if we are aware of this connection to ancestors and great figures before us, we can be mindful to help make it happen.
    While I don’t advocate using a ouija board or becoming too reverent about what happens in the roda, the connection to the invisible is the real point of the game. Angola is a fun and exciting way to invite that connection.
    This may seem pretty metaphysical, and mumbo jumbo to people, but this is the way that was clearly demonstrated to me by my Mestre and the other Great Mestres and instructors that have taught me.
    As a non-African and non-Brazilian, this can be something that can be tricky–after all, the ancestors we would likely be invoking would be from Africa and also Brazil. But I feel if you recognize the Africa in the art and appreciate it, then it will appreciate you too. We shouldn’t want to be Africans or Brazilians or any thing we’re not.
    We should only want to be righteous.
    Cheers everybody!

  29. Thanks for the reply, Jason. That was really interesting to learn about, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen capoeira, or a game or roda, put that way before. I especially liked how you said that “if you appreciate/respect the game/Africa/capoeira/the culture, then it will appreciate you too”. I like to think that, as well.

  30. I’m not sure where they mention Capoeira Angola first, will see if I can look it up somewhere.. For the time being I recommend you read M. R. Assuncao’s History of a Brasilian Martial Art!!
    That book explains a lot going deep into archaives and logical thinking.

    Another important read (there’s 3 parts): http://www.overmundo.com.br/banco/atenilo-o-relampago-de-mestre-itapoa-resumo-so-angola

    As for volta do mundo folks usually do it anticlockwise which pretty much makes sense they are serious about going that direction following a tradition. Search more on http://www.capoeira.com when it’s been updated and online again.

    I remember once I guy posted some 10 names for capoeira (mostly different names people had thought up for regional), I’ll see if I can find it. I give you one more: Regiola 😀

  31. Saw it’s online again. Read more about volta do mundo here:http://www.capoeira.com/forum_viewtopic.php?2.124123

    Found this other thing about names for capoeira as well, doesn’t seem too off the wall now but you decide: “To us there’s carioca capoeira, there’s Bahian capoeira, there’s Paulista capoeira, there’s contemporanea capoeira, there’s Recife Capoeira, there’s capoeira angola, there’s capoeira angola estilizado, there’s capoeira regional, there’s capoeira regional contemporanea, etc… “

  32. Hey Sven… I guess Regiola should just disappear as a word in our minds… 😉 but the other names are definitely not far-fetched. Like Capoeira Carioca is a known term, no? I am wondering though what Capoeira Angola Estilizado means (I dont mean literally, but what people mean with that.).

    anyway…thanks for looking up those things!

  33. I’d say all the ones like capoeira carioca, etc., should be fine because they’re just geographic descriptions. Carioca just means from Rio, and Paulista just means from Sao Paolo (I’m guessing), right? So that’s almost just like saying U.S. rugby and Australian rugby, or something. Whereas with angonal and regiola (which I believe should also be relegated to the 7th circle of the linguistic underworld), they seem to represent a conscious effort to “corrupt” two different styles—not to mention, words—into one.

  34. you are right joaninha. there is definitely a difference in the quality of the different styles for capoeira, depending on how they evolved. geographical differences are natural evolutions of capoeira, while angonal et al. are conscious efforts to change something. though as a reminder: capoeira carioca was significantly different from bahian capoeira and capoeira carioca does describe two things which are different, too. First the Rio Capoeira used by gangs in the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the one without the batteria whose last teacher was sinozinho, and capoeira carioca in its meaning as today’s capoeira from rio. today’s capoeira carioca does still have the bahian influence in it, while the old carioca did die out in the beginning of the 20th century.

  35. trovoada

    Hello all. I am new to this forum so please excuse me but I want to buy the game for a moment. I train in a contemporary system that strives to play to the rhythm of the berimbau (Angola or regional). I want to clarify what I learned that this means. If I am at a roda or workshop with an Angola mestre (or teacher) I should try to follow the pace, the “style”, and the rules of capoeira angola. This means I don’t do an Au aberto into the roda nor do I fly out ina na eloborate flip (this wouldn’t happen because I can’t and won’t flip). This means that I follow the lead of the advanced Angoleiro and try to play a game with malicia nad follow the pace of the game.
    Now, I want to talk about the “regional” roda. Many contemporary groups don’t play traditional regional. So when I saida em “regional” I do an au aberto and begin a ginga and go from there and try to play to the rhythm and style of regional. What is so wrong with that?
    I understand that I am not an Angoleiro, but I would like to play them and have fun while respecting their traditions and rituals (as much as I can). I assume if I do something out of context that I will be corrected.
    This arguement has been going on for too long. The bottom line for me is that I love Capoeira, both styles. If my only participation in an Angola roda is playing a pandeiro then I’m fine with that. I just want to feel the axe and watch the beautiful body expression we call Capoeira.

    Would I love to learn traditional Angola? Yes. Did I have an opportunity when I started ? No. I know what I know and play what I know.
    Let me leave you with this analogy: I learned to speak Portuguese (I’m a ntive English speaker) so I could at least have a small conversation with the Mestres in Portuguese and could get the correct pronounciation in songs. Do you think they think I’m trying to be Brazilian when I speak in Portuguese to them or do you think they appreciate the effort of me learning a foreign language to communicate with them? Think about… by the way I love your forum.. Intelligent capoeira conversations… very refreshing… and to all my Angoleiro brothers and sisters… I still respect and love you guys even if you guys may not do the same with me because I play “regiona.” Let’s be mature and stop having the same arguement over and over again.

    Prof. trovoada

  36. Hello Professor! Nice to have you on this blog. And thanks for commenting. I see your points and do appreciate your respect to both traditions and your approach to deal with them.
    But I think I’ll have to defend myself from an accusation which comes up quite often and that is that Angoleiros dont like Regionalistas playing Capoeira Angola (or at least trying it). We do appreciate that. And when you think of it, a lot of Angoleiros are actually former Regionalistas. So we do know that you can become Angoleiro. That you can learn it all and so on. What was concerning me, and I think also other Angoleiros, is to see people trying to learn both and thinking that Capoeira Angola is just about learning a couple of movements. And even that is not that much of an issue. The biggest issue I have is when somebody does want to mix it all up, cause “well, Capoeira is uma so, right?”, and by this usually deleting most of the Capoeira Angola part. And following that the statement that the best way is to chose what you are:

    Do we want to be Angoleiros or Regionalistas? Do we want to concentrate on one, or do we want to learn both? It’s not a mistake to chose to learn both styles. I can see that there are different qualities in the different styles and that you want to learn and experience them both…”

    So, professor, go on and learn both styles. Participate in any roda you want. And as long as you respect the rituals of a Capoeira Angola roda, you are welcome in there!

    thanks again for your comment!

  37. ac9033

    Angoleiro, Thank you for your intelligent commnet and post. Actually, I don’t play in an Angola roda unless I’m at an event with an Angoleiro or at one of my events ( I invite Angoleiros). Mostly, I admire the flexibility, malicia, and expression of Capoeira Angola ( most of the times I prefer to watch the angoleiros play and like I said I like playing a pandeiro or atabaque). I play when the Mestre or host or someone senior to me asks me to play.
    As I get older in Capoeira, I actually agree with many of the things Angoleiros say about contemporary Capoeira. If I take anything from Angola it’s that the dialogue is the most important in the physical game ( that would include Malicia, closeness, apporpriateness of response, etc). But this is also true of traditional Capoeira Regional de Mestre Bimba.
    Personally, I am reconnecting with my Regional roots by training and researching Bimba’s traditional way (through connections with friends who train or have trained with Bimba’s son Mestre Nenel, reading and re-reading books by Dr. Decanio, and studying footage from Filhos de BImba as well as going to and eventually hosting seminars with Mestre Deputado and Mestre Onca Negra).

    I think it is wonderful the way angoleiros defend their tradition.
    I am glad to have friends that play contemporary Capoeira, Capoeira Angola, and Capoeira Regional. I just love capoeira in general, even though I may not play all types.
    Again great forum and I am glad to be able to have an intelligent conversation with you.

  38. Hey professor,

    I am glad to hear that you like my blog and the posts in it. It sounds like you are doing your best to study the aspects of capoeira you are most interested in. and you have my respect for that. I also think it is good for every modern capoeirista to study the basics of Capoeira Regional, to achieve greater insight and understanding of what you are doing in the roda (and what not!). Actually, Mestre Bimba’s Regional will be the topic of one of the coming posts on this blog. So I’d like to invite you to read and comment on it once it is out (I guess it will be out in January).

    Thanks again for your comment!


  39. 4capoeirathoughts

    Hi Angoleiro,

    A very interesting post and discussion. Congratulations! As soon as I find time I’ll dig more on your blog. For now, I just would like to drop some questions and comments on your post (not covering the comments).

    You begin stating that you agree that Capoeira é uma só, but with two different styles, and that such approach may sometimes be used to downside the differences between Angola and Regional; supposedly the only two authentic styles.

    Then, you explain that both Angola and Regional “did develop over time and under the influence of different mestres and different schools, … evolving into artforms with a lot of variants …”. Wouldn’t both styles, then, be considered ‘modern’ according to your post’s context? If, both are being developed throughout time and remain co-existing, how can Regional be ‘more modern’ than Angola? Conversely, how can Angola be ‘more traditional’ than Regional?

    Generally, you seem to presume that those who adopt the ‘capoeira é uma só’ idea, would be driven by an attempt “to get back to the traditional (italics mine) ‘pre-forms’”, and that “[t]he dichotomy did evolve when the modern form of Capoeira Regional did come to existence. So if somebody wants to rely on tradition (italics mine), why doesnt he play Capoeira Angola?” In the way you put it, tradition is exclusively a feature inherent to Capoeira Angola, supporting an aura of originality, authenticity.

    What we must be aware is that “[t]raditions which appear or claim to be old are often quite recent in origin and sometimes invented …. “Invented tradition” [means] a set of practices, … of a ritual or symbolic nature which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition which automatically implies continuity with a suitable historical past’ (Hobsbawm and Ranger, as cited in Hall et al. Modernity and Its Futures.1992, pp274-295)”. Does this definition calls your attention to what is been done in some traditionalist groups both from Angola and Regional? Who benefits from this ‘suitable historical past’? Only a few, and even less if they succeed in their attempt to stratify authenticity in Capoeira. I believe your understanding of the term ‘tradition’ and its role is mistaken, compromising some of your assumptions.

    When you mention that with Mestres Canjiquinha and Leopoldina “it is more difficult to put them into certain categories, as they are clearly no Regionalistas, but they seem to differ from the typical Angoleiro style.” I believe you come closer to what may be the core question one should ask him or herself when discussing dichotomies in Capoeira: is it really necessary to put people into certain categories? I do value diversity and I’m not willing to downside differences, but, does this attitude helps to bring diverse Capoeiras together? Does it helps to overcome prejudice amongst ourselves, so that we all can really claim Capoeira as an empowering tool?

    You say that “they [Mestres Canjiquinha and Leopoldina] are clearly traditional Capoeiristas, thus: Angoleiros (italics mine)”. Again, I think your concept of what is tradition and what it indicates is mistaken. Mestre Canjinha was very clear about his opinion, and he used to say that Capoeira é uma só, what varies are the rhythms.

    I think a more realistic and ethical approach for Angoleiros (and all capoeiristas), rather then “seeing themselves as protectors of the traditional Capoeira” and the ones capable to draw the line of who is traditional and who is not, is to see themselves exclusively as protectors of their own lineages. And, more importantly, without pretensions of quantifying traditions and concepts of authenticity.

    Thank God we still have people in Capoeira who cannot be ‘put into boxes’. People like Mestres Canjiquinha and Leopoldina were not worried with a marketed dichotomy that can only reduce Capoeira into (only) two ‘authentic’ schools, excluding other schools’ and Mestres’ significant cultural legacies, and enabling a small clique of Mestres to benefit from such division.

    There are striking differences, I agree with you. And people have the right to uphold and develop their lineages. But, I do not think we should differentiate styles based on what is traditional (in the way you put it) and what is not. Different schools develops different traditions. If one endures long enough with his/her beliefs, playing and/or teaching a good Capoeira (just like Mestres Canjiquinha and Leopoldina), he/she will be recognised by his/her Capoeira.

    However, there is no need to adopt a traditionalist approach labelling them as ‘traditionals’, nor to presume that every traditional mestre is an ´angoleiros’. Like Mestres Canjiquinha and Leopoldina there are still people practising Capoeira that is neither Regional nor Angola. There is nothing wrong with that. Diversity must be upheld as a whole in Capoeira, leaving room, not only to the striking differences between styles that you call attention to, but also for those who belong to schools outside the mainstream ‘Angola and Regional dichotomy’.

    In fact, this necessity of ‘putting people into boxes’ is just a consequence of the western ruling system’s ideology attempting to colonise Capoeira with its undermining multicultural perspective. After all, people inside boxes interact a lot less then the freed ones.

    • Hello,

      first of all I am sorry t not have replied directly to your comment. I really like to thank you. You took your time to dig into my post and have spent some time on it, as one can see by the sheer length of your comment. And as you invested some time in commenting I thought I take some time on responding to it:
      Interestingly, your comment fits into comments I get a lot these days (and months). It basically comes down to the question if Capoeira Angola is traditional or sells itself as being traditional: “traditionalist” so to say. Thus, you are actually following a very new way to see Capoeira Angola, because since a few years ago nobody had any doubt in Capoeira Angola being the traditional way of Capoeira (or to be honest: you didnt hear nothing about it). A lot of Mestres, not only those ones being Angoleiros, but also of Regional and other Contemporean Capoeiras did accept Capoeira Angola as following the traditions of Capoeira. So this is not, as your comment implies, a kind of marketing strategy of Angola teachers. Why would it be, for the majority of the time since the 1930’s being “traditional” wasnt selling in Capoeira. So those who stuck to it were in fact believing in what they are doing. And a lot of those people are still alive today, so it’s not as if today’s Capoeira Angola teachers are all market oriented. And when you see how small the market for Capoeira Angola is then you’d still doubt that people would try to make money with that brand.
      Let’s move away from the idea of “Capoeira Angola as a marketing strategy”. Coming to the difficult distinction between “Capoeira Angola” and “traditional Capoeira”: for me as an Angoleiro there is no difference between these two. Capoeira Angola is nothing which got invented at a certain time, it is the name for the traditional way of playing Capoeira. Of course it does change over time. So you are right in saying that Capoeira Angola is modern, too. But we are talking here about the growth of a tradition, changes which came over time, depending on the influences of many different teachers. So what’s the difference to Regional or Contemporean Capoeira then? It’s the degree of changes. And the system of change which is implied in the very root of Capoeira Regional. Regional did evolve from a break with the “old” Capoeira. It was meant to be like that, by Mestre Bimba himself. Now we all know that he did play Capoeira before that, so was he an Angoleiro then. For me the answer is yes. And did he change to a Regionalista at the point he developed Regional. No. He himself did play the way he played, and was deeply rooted in Afrobrazilian tradition. He just didnt teach everything he knew. He taught his new method: Regional.
      And the rest of the people. Well, Mestre Bimba was not the only Capoeira Master around, neither was Mestre Pastinha. But when you dig into history of Capoeira Angola, a lot of older Mestres did elect Mestre Pastinha as the one to hold up the traditional values of capoeira Angola. He didnt come up with something new. He taught what was Capoeira-before-Bimba. And that’s what we call Capoeira Angola.
      Yes, nowadays we play a bit different than maybe Mestre Pastinha did, but we are still in this lineage and try to uphold the traditions. As far as we can.
      And finally to your thoughts about classifications as being a way of Western Colonization of Capoeira. I dont want to be offensive, but for me it’s kind of contradictory. Historically, Bimba’s “Regional” did evolve under the influence of upper-class white persons into something we call Contemporean Capoeira. It began with leaving out Afrbrazilian traditions, it continued with incorporating other martial arts, and went on with incorporating a classified graduations system and so on. Let’s call this a “Westernized” Capoeira then, shall we? When there is a bunch of people now who actually dont want to incorporate these “Western” influences into their Capoeira and do thus make a distinction between theirs and the “Westernized” Capoeira (and the difference is there regardless of how you name it or not, even people having no idea of Capoeira see the difference between Regional and Angola), how are they submitting to a Western scheme then? If they want to avoid being a playball of the Western influences , would they then have to give up distinctions between Western influenced Capoeira and (presumably) not Western influenced Capoeira? I am simplifying now, I know. But I just want to make clear that I prefer to have the child named – even if it just helps clarification. The differences are there and there is no way we can undo them by naming everything Capoeira without-a-last-name.
      Of course you are right. Capoeira Angola and Contemporean Capoeira are not engraved into solid rock. There is a lot of shades in between and there are some old masters who did play both. But obviously it doesnt seem to work out for most of the people. These two concepts of play, these two worldviews of Capoeira, are different. And when pople try learning both and dont distinguish between them they usually wont be accepted as “traditional”. By accepting the differences we help everybody more than by just blindfolding us. Differences are there to be accepted and named, not to be ignored and accepted in a “Western” wishy washy way of “everything is the same”. I am sorry if this comes out stronger than I actually mean it. I myself am “Western”, if you want to call it like that, but I think this makes the point clearer than writing another paragraph.

      For now I am finished with my response. That is especially because I think I got too much lost in details. I am sorry if people get tired by reading this comment, falling asleep in front of their screens. If there is still some things unclear, let me know. But then in little pieces, so that my responses wont come off that excessively either 🙂

      Regardless of how different our opinions seem to be, thanks for your long comment again!


  40. Mad (Jay)

    I think it’s like the way my tango teacher described it to me. You have traditional tango, which seemed to be generally faster and closer, and tango nuevo which was slower and more relaxed. They are taught as two separate things, when in reality you can dance anywhere between the two. You could imagine all conceivably styles just being different points on a Venn diagram.

    This is a rubbish analogy, I only took a few tango lessons.

  41. 4capoeirathoughts

    Hey Angoleiro,
    Sorry Camarada, I have been blogging very occasionally and through blogger (takes me less time). I hope we can meet in the future to chat about all these interesting issues and play together. Please, don’t worry about being straightforward with your views and arguments, it does not bother me at all. It’s always good to discuss and try to walk a bit using someone else’s shoes. I had a quick look at your blog, but I couldn’t find the post on Capoeira Regional, did you post it?

    Any way, I thought I should drop a few lines here again following up our viewpoints.

    Capoeira likewise the Brazilian ethnicity was born from inter-ethnic contact building new procedures; hybrid cultures. Capoeira wasn’t born in the way we know today, in the beginning it was a attitude of resistance, so to some extent there was a time when it was invented as we know today. And it has been changing ever since.

    Before Mestre Bimba there was no Capoeira Angola, as the discourse of authenticity, only begun after he named his Capoeira “Regional” (local). Only after that other practitioners begun to differentiate themselves through discourses of purism. “Bimba’s Capoeira is “regional” ours is the original from Angola.” A misconception that have been creating divides within our practice ever since. Luckily, we had Mestres that instead of worrying with labels, left us their inclusive and intercultural legacy. They stood for the right of not sticking with labels, for the right of free-pass through the several geographic and cultural areas of Capoeira and the Brazilian folk culture.

    I understand your point, but focussing too much on differences, rather than in what we all have in common, we’ll only yield more kinds of Capoeira. And the more we do that, the more we will drift from the specific socio-cultural context of its birth; one of intercultural contact producing Capoeira as an inclusive and syncretic culture.

    Traditionalism argues for authenticity, and it’s possible to realize this through some of your arguments (not that I’m calling you a traditionalist). And in a final analyses traditionalism and authenticity are always a discursive construct denoting a particular aesthetic position.

    Whilst, we focus on differences we miss the inclusiveness inherent to the early lessons of Brazilian and Capoeira history. I’m not against the acknowledgement of differences, what I’m stand for is the right of playing Capoeira without having to fit into boxes, to stick with labels. We only have contemporaneous Capoeira, as all kinds co-exist in today’s time, and all kinds are undergoing changes.

    The focus on differences is producing fundamentalist-like behaviours in our groups, regardless of styles. We are so proud of practicing Capoeira, an art-form that freed the Brazilian slaves, that stands against oppression, but we’re forgeting how they achieved this. And this was through a strong sense of otherness, of inclusiveness. Where is the interplay amongst us?! We’re building barriers not bridges when we over-focus on differences.

    If in on hand we have alienated practitioners attached to a shallow version of Capoeira, on the other hand we have closed cliques unwilling to interact with their different counterparts despite a libertarian discourse.

    Augusto Boal, (author of the Theatre of the Oppressed) use to say that what defines citizenship the fact that we live in societies, but rather is the fact that we ought to change them. I hope we can do the same in Capoeira before claiming its potentialities as a social tool worldwide.

    Lets keep in touch Camará.

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