The science of the art of capoeira

Capoeira History

The Formation of Capoeira Identity Throughout the Ages

Jogar Capuera ou Dance de la Guerre: Johann Moritz Rugendas, 1835

Thesis Structure

  A University thesis written by Andrew C Eadie, Kings College London, 2003

Background. Personal reasons for undertaking this study.

Capoeira Today
A brief description of the contemporary format of capoeira.

Timeline. The question that this thesis will attept to answer.

Slave Resistance
Capoeira as an Afro-Brazilian form of slave combat.

The Urban Capoeirista
The nineteenth century urban scenario. The capoeirista malandro. Legendary figures. Cordoes elegantes.

The Modernisation of Capoeira
The twentieth century academy setting. Mestre Bimba and Capoeira Regional. Mestre Pastinha and Capoeira Angola.

The Capoeira Angola/Regional Polemic
Modernisation versus preservation, the aftermath of change.

The New Generation
Further developments in capoeira. Dealing with the past.

Conclusion and Bibliography
Core elements in all capoeira. Historical analysis. Possibilities. Capoeira today and in the future.


This thesis is the result of years of dedicated training in the Brazilian art of capoeira, eighteen months of this time was spent in Brazil, in the heartland of capoeira history and culture, Salvador de Bahia. During this period I attended book launches, talks, seminars, workshops, folkloric shows and of course classes and baptizados (capoeira grading ceremonies) where I was lucky enough to meet and have the chance to converse at length with many of the world's most famous exponents and noted historians.

Due to the extent of my travels I have trained in several diffent schools. Whilst in retrospect I would say this is ill-advised for practical training purposes (though it was unavoidable) it has helped give me a borader overview than most students of my experience. I am now happily ensconced in the world-wide organisation Cordao De Ouro headed by Mestre Suassunna and my Mestre is Mestre Poncianinho Almeida. My final decision to dedicate myself to his teachings was based on an cumulative intellectual, personal and stylistic affinity to just one of the many possibilities existent in the myriad universe of capoeira.

During these past years I have endeavoured to read and learn from a variety of sources, my last academic year at Kings College London merely being the most intense period of intellectual research to date. In a study such as the one to follow, personal affinity must be subjugated to intellectual reasoning and the result of direct academic research. The wealth of information that I have gleaned, coming as it does from diverse and often conflicting sources cannot be ignored, however it will be cited with care in the context of disparate views.

Within the world of capoeira, what seems an extensive schooling on my part is merely a toe dipped into a sea of meaning. The intellectual studying capoeira as just one cultural manifestation in a number of vaguely similar examples is denied the benefit of the doting mestre or conscientious professor and nuances that can only be transmitted mouth to mouth. This thesis is in part an attempt to bridge that gap by bringing to light the constructs in which contemporary capoeira apprenticeship is entrenched and showing these to be relative to deeply felt notions of group building, membership and belonging. Next: Capoeira Today


Capoeira's lost history through this
Ladja Video
from Martinique.

Sponsored links