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How To Do Capoeira

Native to Brazil, capoeira has gained worldwide popularity for its unique blend of martial arts, dance, and competitive sport. Here are a few basic tips for beginners.


  • Step 1: Perform an _esquiva_, or dodge, by sliding one foot back while bending the other knee to accommodate a deep, low lunge. Place the hand opposite your back leg on the floor and use the other hand to block. Use the block when your opponent is kicking.
  • Step 2: Perform a _quexada_ by standing with your feet spread front to back. Sweep your back foot forward in a wide arc, bringing it upward in a high kick, twisting your upper body and holding your arms up to protect your face.
  • Step 3: Continue training with a group or in a class to learn more complicated dodges, kicks, cartwheels, and flips. You'll get in shape, improve your hand-eye coordination, and most importantly, have fun!
  • FACT: Practicing capoeira was illegal in Brazil until the 1930s.
  • Step 4: Adopt the base capoeira move – a fluid, swaying movement called _ginga_. Bend your knees with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step behind with your right foot, return to center, and then step your left foot behind you. Lift the same arm across your face as leg you are stepping behind you.
  • Step 5: When it's your turn to move to the middle of the circle to spar, never stand still.
  • Step 6: Sit in on a _roda_ at a capoeira class or club. Rodas are traditional ritual circles. Opponents take turns entering the middle of the circle to spar.
  • TIP: In a roda, sparring movements are noncontact.
  • Step 7: Play capoeira music in the roda. Capoeira music is traditionally played on the berimbau, or musical bow, and on drums and tambourines.
  • : Always consult a physician before attempting to do any exercise or exercise plan.

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