Capoeira is an Afro-brazilian art form involving martial arts, dance and play.

This “definition” or variations of it are commonly used to describe capoeira. But this is a stripped down definiton which only makes people raise their eyebrows and asking: “Come again???”

Even when you see Capoeira – not only the first, but also the 100st time, you might not understand it. Hell, I think the majority of practitioners, including me, does not know what it’s all about. But we might have an idea!

So what is Capoeira?

Capoeira is…

…a martial art.

…a dance.

…a conversation between bodies.

…a child’s game.

…an expression of joy and freedom.

…a form of resistance against oppression.

…a philosophy of life.

…a friendly sparring.

…a technical exchange of attacks and defense movements.

…a ritual.

…a way to relieve daily stress.

…a form of meditation.

…a tactical game about space and time (are you in the right place at the right time and can you hinder the other one being at the right place and time?)

…a big show.

…practicing spontaneity.

…a heavy workout.

…a lesson about rhythm.

…a way to relieve social tensions.

…a lesson in life.

…teasing the other.


…a mirror of the society it lives in.

…a mirror of the person playing it.

…learning body control.

…learning to read other people’s intentions and emotions.

…learning to control your own emotions.

…a lesson in disguise and deception.

This is not a complete list. And not everybody would put the list this way. But everybody doing capoeira will at least have one favourite definition in this list (if not several).

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