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Written by Catherine Davis   

Capoeira is a unique Brazilian form of martial art that blends elements of dance, acrobatics, game playing and ritualised fighting in a way that engages mind, body and soul.

Capoeiristas form a circle called a 'roda', playing percussion instruments and singing while two players take part in stylised sparring in the centre.

Capoeira is characterised by fluid movements which combine the balance and flexibility of gymnastics with the grace of dance, the speed and guile of fighting and the potent rhythms of music.

The capoeria game or jogo requires foresight and finesse as well as physical agility, strength and stamina. Through a series of skillful attacks, counter attacks and evasions, capoeiristas seek to expose the limitations of their opponent, the better to realise their own personal power.

In capoeria the emphasis is more on out-smarting or out-manovering the opponent than injuring them and there is relatively little physical contact, it is more of a dance than a fight.

Capoeira schools and classes teach the basic sequences and moves and as well as being a good physical workout they are typically highly social.

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