Many people see it as a martial art -- others as a dance, and there are those who believe that it is their religion and cultural identity.

The description of Capoeira varies according to people's personalities. It is a native Brazilian Indian word given to a small partridge whose male is very jealous and engages in fierce fights with its rivals. Capoeira blends elements of dance, music, rituals, acrobatics, and fighting.

Anyone can find some form of identity in Capoeira. Let's take for instance somebody who lives in a big city like New York. He will probably see Capoeira as a martial art or as a form of self-defense. Because of the intensity of the city, and the challenges that he faces everyday, it makes him a natural "warrior" and he brings this instinct in to Capoeira's circle.

Brazilians call Capoeira a game. Capoeira is "played", not fought.


The Roda

A circle is made, called a roda. Music is played, and everyone sings and claps while two players interact in the center. The leading instrument is a berimbau. Also played is a drum called an atabaque and a pandeiro (tambourine). A berimbau is a one stringed, bow shaped instrument with a gourd attached to one end to give resonance.