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Capoeira Movements: Purpose and Execution

Page history last edited by Contramestre Café (Chanzo Greenidge) 6 years, 2 months ago

 

These descriptions of basic Capoeira movements and strategies are drawn from the best input from students at the University of Trinidad and Tobago Academy for the Performing Arts DANC 1004 course on Capoeira. Special thanks to Ms. Khalida Barrimond, Mrs. Eugenia Lemo and Mr. Tevin Daniel.

 

 

1)      Sapinho

The word ‘sapo’ means ‘toad’, and so the word ‘sapinho’ means ‘little toad’. Sapo is pronounced as ‘sah-poo' and sapinho as ‘sah-pee-nhoo'. This is a call and response move (chamada pronounced 'sha-ma-dah') where the player calls the move by squatting and also bending the elbows with palms facing forward. The opponent will then go to the player doing the same position with palms touching. Then they both jump three times to the side (into the roda) and the player who called throws a chapa de frente while the opponent does an Au and then the game continues.      

 

 

 

2)      Escalamento

This is a low position move that can be used to escape kicks and execute several other low position attacks and can be done so from a cocorinha or a sapinho. To execute ‘Escalamento’ from either of these other positions, palms of both left and right hand are placed flat at the side of the body (shoulder width apart) on the floor. Back stays straight, head upright, eyes maintaining contact with opponent.  

 

The legs are stretched out forward spread apart with the heels on the ground and palms of the feet facing out toes pointing up. The body is placed in a triangular shape front and back.Legs are straddled in an open ‘V’ position. Back of heels are on the floor. Toes are flexed. Buttocks never touch floor as hands are used to support body weight. To exit and return to cocorinha or sapinho, bend knees bringing ankle closer to the buttocks while pushing throw the arms transferring weight forward until shoulders, chest and hips are vertically aligned.

 

 

3)      Chapa de costas

This kick is similar to a mule kick and when done with both legs at the same time is sometimes called a zebra. To execute to the right, place right palm on the floor between both legs, reaching left palm to the floor in front and in line with the right hand (this will require the slight turning of the shoulders to the left), lengthen knees by moving hips and buttocks upward until chest or head is horizontally aligned. Contract (bend) right knee bringing it close to chest, and then extend leg (toes flexed) to the back of the body with a force just at the point of the locking out of the knees.

 

Contract (bend) right knee once again bringing it close to chest (toes pointed this time) coming to rest back at Sapinho. To execute to the right, place left palm on the floor between both legs, reaching right palm to the floor in front and in line with the left hand (this will require the slight turning of the shoulders to the right), lengthen knees by moving hips and buttocks upward until chest or head is horizontally aligned. Contract (bend) left knee bringing it close to chest, and then extend leg (toes flexed) to the back of the body with a force just at the point of the locking out of the knees. Contract (bend) left knee once again bringing it close to chest (toes pointed this time) coming to rest back at Sapinho.

 

 

4)      Meia-lua de frente

 

This means front half-moon and it is a kick which starts from the ginga. This is used as a set up kick, executed from ginga by stepping left leg parallel in a wide stance, engaging hips while kicking right leg in an inward circular motion (i.e. up and across to left either waist height or chest height), switching arms (to protect face) then bending the right knee (in line with hips) with toes pointing downwards and placing right leg back into Ginga position and can also be executed on the opposite side

 

 

 

5)      Cocorinha

This is also another low position movement used to escape or block kicks and can be executed on both sides or to the center. To execute Cocorinha on the left, step left leg parallel in a wide stance, bringing right foot next to left foot in a stooping/ crouching position. Left palm on the floor next to left foot acting as a form of support, right hand across face while eyes are on opponent acting as a form of protection. Resume to Ginga position by performing the steps in reverse.  To demonstrate cocorinha to the center from Ginga, keep back slightly bent as you lower buttocks to position in line with the back of the ankle crossing, while connecting elbows and crossing wrists protecting face maintaining eye contact with opponent at all times. Exit by returning to Ginga.

 

 

 

6)      Aú

This is known as a cartwheel and is done by moving over like a literal wheel by setting one hand on the ground at the side then lifting the opposite leg off the ground then placing the other hand on the ground and lifting the second leg off the ground. At this point the body would be in a handstand position. To continue you place the first leg on the ground on the other side of the body then lift the first hand off the ground then the second while placing the second foot on the ground, keeping in mind never to take the  eyes off the opponent. This means looking straight through the hands and not the ground. This is used for a quick retreat or to lure you opponent into a trap. However it is performed slowly and in most cases the arms and legs are bent forward to protect the player from any kick or attacks.

 

 

 

7)      Rasteira

This is the basic take down move which is done by sweeping the foot and tripping the opponent. From the ginga movement the player takes his rear leg and sweeps in a circular motion from the back straight around to the side then front and placing his hands on the ground in the negative like position simultaneously. Get into position using your left hand to support your body weight, while squatting the left leg to support and protect your chest area. The right leg is extended laterally. Using the extended leg to sweep, hook your opponent by the heal or to the higest point by the ankle. If the rasteira is executed any higher it will be termed as a kick and not a sweep, directed to the opponent’s calf muscle. The entire body also makes a complete 360 degrees circle and back into ginga position.   

 

 

 

 

8)      Ginga/Xinga

This is the fundamental capoeira movement. It is one of the most obvious aspects of capoeira that separates it from other martial arts. The word ginga means ‘to swing’ and it allows the player to be in constant, unpredictable movement. Although there are certain steps to the basic ginga that you must learn in order to have the basic idea, ginga should never be a mechanical robot-like dance step. In detail the ginga is done by slightly bending the back and the knees and stepping the foot to the back center the placing it back to normal, also the hands simultaneously moves for protection of any parts that are open and easily attack. This is then done on the opposite side and continuously repeated. This is known as the ‘V’ ginger. There is also another ginga called the ‘Box’ ginga which is done by simply portraying the basic ginga movement but in a box pattern. E.g. stepping to the left with the left foot then passing the right foot at the left foot and stepping back then passing it at the left foot again and stepping to the right.

 

 

 

9)      Negativa

This move is used in capoeira to negate an incoming attack by lowering the body to the ground on either side. In this move one hand is bent and tucked under the body for support and the other is on touching the ground over the head for protection. The bottom leg is also tucked under and supporting the body while the top leg is extended out. The body makes an arch.

 

 

 

10)   Corta-capim

This is a very simple move. The body is in a squatting position legs open and on the ground in between the legs. Stretch one leg out to the side and swing it around the body to the front making a complete 360 degrees (like helicopter blades but with the leg and on the ground). This move is a low sweeping position spin and can be entered form cocorinha to the center by extending the right leg to the side of the body while transferring body weight unto left leg, placing palms flat on the floor in front of body (right hand to the center, left hand on the outer left), sweeping right leg in an anti-clockwise direction of 360 degrees, rotating through with hands returning to cocorinha to the center when rotaion is completed. Can be executed to the left by repeating process, starting with the left to the side of the body while transferring body weight unto right leg, placing palms flat on the floor in front of body (left hand to the center, right hand on the outer right) sweeping left leg in an anti-clockwise direction of 360 degrees, rotating through with hands returning to cocorinha to the center.

 


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