Fort Worth Capoeira adheres to the philosophy and methodology created by Mestre Bimba in his Luta Regional da Bahia—what we call Capoeira Regional.
I have often heard capoeira described as a dance, as a fight, as a dance-fight…maybe so. It is hard to describe, because it is so different from well-known forms of movement and cultural expression. Capoeira Regional is a unique art form that has many elements, including fighting and defense techniques of strikes and take-downs and moving with control and expression to a rhythm. At Fort Worth Capoeira, we practice Capoeira Regional.
Mestre Decanio, a long-time student of Mestre Bimba’s, said that the foundations of capoeira are the three R’s: Respeito, Ritmo, e Ritual.
Capoeira is a cultural manifestation born of the African descendants brought to Brazil during the time of slavery. As such, its history is deeply rooted in an oral culture, where the elderly were revered for the knowledge they brought to the community.
Capoeira Regional is played to different rhythms of the berimbau. The game demands that the players respect the rhythm, obeying the cadence as they place their strikes and dodges.
Capoeira Regional is also structured around respecting all the players in the game. While it is a fight—a dangerous game—it must always be played respectfully, so as to never cause harm or offence within the roda. Capoeira Regional is played with precision, and with discipline, always respecting the welfare of the players and the traditions of the ancestors.
Rhythm is a principal feature of Mestre Bimba’s capoeira. Our xaranga, or orquestra of instruments, is made up of just one berimbau and two pandieros. The berimbau commands the roda with the different rhythms, and the players must accompany the cadence of the berimbau. Some rhythms allow for a fast-paced game with lots of strikes and take-downs. Other rhythms offer a more relaxed exchange filled with ups and downs, while others allow for a more floriado game. Obeying the rhythm demands discipline and practice, and is an important part of the tradition of capoeira regional.
Capoeira Regional preserves the traditions and ceremonies that Mestre Bimba incorporated into his Luta Regional da Bahia including the rythyms created and used by Mestre Bimba, the batizado and the festa de batizado, the xaranga of one berimbau and two pandieros, and the formatura, among others.
Capoeira is a game invented and practiced to preserve the cultural and social roots of a people forcibly removed from their home countries. These traditions have built communities and have been passed through families. These traditions uplift and revive cultural practices that have suffered discrimination and misinterpretations through the years. Capoeira Regional is a tradition of strength, of respect, of community and of growth. It teaches teamwork, perseverance, self-confidence, creativity and control.