Capoeira: Poetry in motion
MANILA, Philippines – Imagine learning martial arts, but you get to sing and dance, plus you also learn a few words in Portugese.
All these you can do when you take up capoeira, a form of martial arts brought to Brazil by African slaves who used it as a way to defend themselves. It eventually evolved into a dynamic self-defense discipline popular in Brazil that combines techniques in evasion, kicks, and acrobatic moves, often executed with aplomb and flair by practitioners who move to the rhythm of accompanying music.
The sport was introduced in the country in 2003. Under the leadership of Mestre Fantasma (Alessandro Coqueiro), Axé Capoeira Philippines aims to introduce capoeira as a means for Filipinos, both young and old, to not only learn to defend themselves but to also build fitness and stamina through rhythm and movement.
Here are some basic moves you can try at home if you want to learn capoeira:
Ginga (pronounced jeen-gah)
This is usually the very first thing taught in capoeira. Considered the most fundamental footwork in capoeira, the ginga is executed by moving back and forth while the two legs alternately move in a triangular form at a shoulder-wide distance from each other. The hands, intended to protect the face and other parts of the body susceptible to an attack, move opposite the movement of the legs.
Meia lua de frente (pronounced mei-lua je french)
This is a high half-circle front kick. To execute with optimum result, the practitioner should use the hips to generate force in leading the foot of the kicking leg towards the opponent's face. While meia lua de frente can be used to attack, it is more often utilized to set up other capoeira kicks. It is also commonly seen in other forms of martial arts as an inside-outside front half moon or crescent kick.
Esquiva (pronounced es-kee-va)
This is the dodging maneuver or escape technique in capoeira. In esquiva, the practitioner goes down left or right depending on where the opponent's kick is coming from. The hands are also useful as one hand is meant to support one's body as it goes down to evade the kick while the other hand is used to protect one's face. Esquiva allows the practitioner to go along with flow of the kicks of the opponent but helps the practitioner prepare his or her own attack. – Rappler.com