Capoeira's Volta ao Mundo

Brazilian martial arts makes a global mark

By Valeria Berumen
Published on LatinoLA: June 15, 2008

Capoeira's Volta ao Mundo

From the country that gave the world Bossa Nova, Samba, Carnaval, Pele and Ronaldinho, not to mention some of the world‘«÷s finest beaches and beautiful people to fill them -- Brazil presents Capoeira ‘«£the dance of war‘«ō.

Although Capoeira is an ancient art linking back to the colonial period of the Americas, Capoeira is a combination of acrobatic moves and dance, as well as fighting and playing all in the mix. The dance served many purposes then, the Roda ‘«£the circle‘«ō became a free field where you can express one self with body movements, playing instruments like the tambourine, drum, and clap hands following the rhythm of the Berimbaus, the ambient of party is blowing an air. The Mestre (Capoeira Master) sings the Capoeira songs that talk about love, getting lost, fighting, happiness, friendship, family etc. It also becomes a stadium for spectators to watch the beautiful movements of the players!

Modern capoeiristas have modified the art making less war and more dance and expression. Since the early 50‘«÷s, many Capoeiristas left from Bahia to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, all students of these Mestres -- Bimba, Pastinha, Aberre, Cai?ļara, and Canjiquinha -- left, too. Capoeira has become part of mainstream Brazilian culture; this includes popularity among players and spectators. The playing fields for capoeira have also changed, and it can be seen performed at beaches, parks, sport clubs, universities, parties, fitness academies, non-profit events, and many Capoeira academies

Recently Capoeira has made its global mark gaining popularity all over the world as modern Mestres have done the ‘«£Volta ao Mundo‘«ō and Capoeira is now played in all the world‘«÷s major cities: NYC, Paris, Miami, Mexico City, Tokyo, Berlin, and yes, herein LA too. Many celebrities around the world like the soccer king Pel?ģ, Wesley Snipes, Ricky Martin had or have been doing Capoeira. Here in LA we‘«÷ve been lucky enough to end up with a few Capoeira Mestres of our own.

My Mestre is Mestre Raiul, pronounced ‘«£Hi-You‘«ō, who owns and runs Capoeira Guaiamum Academy. Mestre Raiul has been teaching capoeira for over 20 years and has worked with a wide range of students, from working with incapacitated children to training celebrities.

Although Mestre Raiul started Capoeira at 8 years old, he is a modern capoeirista. His training is from the old school. He has been doing, watching, and contributing to the evolution of Capoeira since 1976. He also has a degree in Physical Education, making him one of the world‘«÷s best in the art of Capoeira.

More and more Capoeira is going from being an extreme sport to becoming a pop culture icon being used in action movies like ‘«£Only The Strong‘«ō ‘«£Cat Woman‘«ō ‘«£The Rundown‘«ō ‘«£The Guest‘«ō ‘«£Ocean‘«÷s Twelve‘«ō and also in video games like ‘«£Street Fighter 3‘«ō and "Tekken".

Mestre Raiul‘«÷s philosophy is that capoeira takes care of your body, mind and soul. The doors are always open to new students or people who are curious about the art so feel free to swing by. To find out more information about Capoeira Guaiamum please visit www.capoeiragua.com

About Valeria Berumen:
Valeria, is a freelance Art & Entertainment writer from Los Angeles. She has contributed to LatinoLA for several years. Valeria's first feature book "The Road to Whatever" will be available later this year.

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