• Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon


Manuel dos Reis Machado (November 23, 1899 - February 5, 1974)

He started learning capoeira when he was 12 years old with a captain of a local maritime company, an African called Bentinho; even though in those days capoeira was still being persecuted by the authorities. He would later be known as one of the legendary founding fathers of contemporary capoeira

At the age of 18, Bimba felt that capoeira was losing efficacy as a martial art and an instrument of resistance and was becoming more of a folkloric activity. It was then that Bimba started to restore movements from the traditional capoeira fights and added movements from another African fighting style called Batuque, an African martial art that he learned from his father (of which his father was a champion), as well as introducing movements created by himself. This was the beginning of the development of capoeira regional.

In 1928, a new chapter in the history of capoeira began, as well as a change in the way black people (of African descent, brought to Brazil as slaves) were looked upon by the Brazilian society. After a performance at the palace of Bahia's Governor, Juracy Magalhães, Bimba was finally successful in convincing the authorities of the cultural value of capoeira, thus in the 1930s ending its official ban, in effect since 1890.

Mestre Bimba founded the first capoeira school in 1932, the Academia-escola de Cultura Regional, at the Engenho de Brotas in Salvador, Bahia. Previously, capoeira was only practiced and played on the streets. However, capoeira was still heavily discriminated against by upper-class Brazilian society. In order to change the pejorative reputation of capoeira and its practitioners as devious, stealthy and malicious, Bimba set new standards to the art.


 Vicente Ferreira Pastinha (April 5, 1889-November 13, 1981)


He was exposed to Capoeira at the age of 8 by an African named Benedito. The story goes that an older and stronger boy from Pastinha's neighborhood would often bully and beat him up.One day Benedito saw the aggression that Pastinha suffered, and then told him to stop by his house because he was going to teach him a few things. In his next encounter with that boy, Pastinha defeated him so quickly that the older boy became his admirer.

In 1941, by Aberrê's (Pastinha's former student) invitation, Pastinha went to a Sunday roda at ladeira do Gengibirra located at bairro da Liberdade, where the best Capoeira mestres would hang out. Aberrê was already famous in these rodas, and after spending the afternoon there, one of the greatest mestres of Bahia, Amorzinho, asked Pastinha to take charge of Capoeira Angola. As a result, in 1942 Pastinha founded the first Angola school, the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola, located at the Pelourinho. His students would wear black pants and yellow T-shirts, the same color as the Ypiranga Clube, his favorite soccer club.

Due to the efforts of Mestre Pastinha, what was considered capoeira prior to the rise of Capoeira Regional, was able to survive and it maintained most of the traditional ways of the earlier capoeira. It was then that it started to be called Capoeira "Angola" to distinguish the two styles from each other. Due to his efforts, many of the traditions, rituals, etc have been passed on an preserved earning him the respect of being called the Father of Capoeira Angola style in this modern day.


Capoeira is a kind of martial art style that involves music, dance and other art from apart from the basic elements of martial arts. It is a martial art style that is believed to be evolved by the slaves that were brought down to Brazil from Africa. It finds its origin back to 16th century. With the passage of time Capoeira has integrated completely into the Brazilian culture to form an inclusive cultural phenomenon in Brazil. It is the most unique art that includes various dances, fight and other artistic expressions. The Roda - game is happening in the circle made by capoeiristas. They clap with hands, play on several instruments and sing songs. There is three main capoeira styles.



The older and more traditional form of capoeira, which was known as capoeira angola, was preserved by Mestre Pastinha (Vicente Ferreira Pastinha), Mestre Waldemar, and others. Mestre Pastinha established the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola for the training and promotion of the style.

Played at a wide variety of speeds, from slow to fast. Generally played lower and closer than the other two styles. Games are long – on average ten minutes – and buying the game” (cutting in to play with another player) is seldom done.

  • Very loose and improvisational ginga.

  • Emphasis on malícia, strategy, and deception.

  • Uses a full bateria: three berimbaus of different sizes (each with its own role), one or two pandeiros, an agogô, reco-reco, and atabaque. Uses ladainhas, chulas, and corridos (three different types of songs).

  • Uses the chamadas, ritual sub-games in which one player “calls” the other to approach.

  • Does not use batizados or colored cords to mark the capoeiristas’ level of graduation.

  • Examples of angola groups include the International Capoeira Angola Foundation, Grupo de Capoeira Angola Pelourinho, Capoeira Angola Palmares, Filhos de Angola, and the academies of Mestres João Grande, João Pequeno, and Curió.



Capoeira regional was created in Salvador in the early 20th century by Mestre Bimba (Manoel dos Reis Machado), who marketed a modified version of capoeira, with a greater emphasis on fighting technique, to the middle- and upper-class populations. Bimba originally called it the Luta Regional Bahiana (Bahian Regional Martial Art), and it later became known as capoeira regional.

  • Usually played at a more accelerated pace than capoeira angola. Games are primarily upright, on the feet, and shorter – on average two to three minutes.

  • Cadenced ginga.

  • Emphasis on technique.

  • Uses one berimbau and two pandeiros, and plays to the toques of regional: São Bento Grande de Bimba, Benguela, Iúna, Amazonas, Santa Maria.

  • Utilizes Bimba’s eight sequences and the cintura desprezada (cooperative throws).

  • Does not use chamadas or ladainhas.

  • There are very few traditional schools of capoeira regional in the world today, but the most famous is Fundação Mestre Bimba (under Mestre Nenel – the son of Mestre Bimba).



The capoeira contemporânea style was primarily developed by Grupo Senzala in Rio de Janeiro during the 1960s. This style heavily influenced capoeira regional, and most of the groups called “regional” today are actually much closer to contemporânea than to Mestre Bimba’s original capoeira regional (which used a very particular and specific teaching method).

  • Generally faster-paced games played farther apart, of short duration – on average one minute. Buying the game is common practice.

  • Some contemporânea groups try to merge elements of angola and regional into a single style; others practice each one separately depending on what rhythm the bateria is playing.

  • Emphasis on technique.

  • A wide variety in the composition of the bateria – most groups use more than the simplified bateria of regional, but do not include all the instruments of angola. Some groups use ladainhas, chulas, and chamadas when playing to the angola toque; others do not.

  • More standardized ginga.

  • Some groups make use of ornamental flips during the game or to enter the roda.

  • Use of batizados and colored cords to classify the levels of the capoeiristas.

  • Capoeira contemporânea is by far the most widespread style both inside and outside Brazil. The more well-known groups include Nagô, ABADA, Senzala, Capoeira Brasil, Cordão de Ouro, Topázio, and Axé Capoeira.