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Submitted by: Mike Exhaunt
Capoeira is an extremely poetic sport and is hardly jock-ish in any sense. In fact, it marries the best of both worlds, making it the ideal sport for both sexes. It has the grace of a dance yet the amazing cardio weight-loss abilities of martial arts without the necessary violence. A rich tough history like any other respectable sport yet retaining its exoticism by being a martial art that avoids the fight totally.
However, as with everything exotic, the concept of the martial art is intriguing to some, but mostly overwhelming to the rest. Culturally foreign and conceptually abstract, it’s usual to be at a loss at where to begin. So, here’s a guide to how to get started with capoeira.
As with all sports, before you start, stretching is always advisable. Also, at this point, you might be worried about attire, footwear etc. but let’s just take a quick test drive before getting too invested.
The First Move
The most fundamental move of capoeira — the ginga. It lays as a foundation for transition into other moves, from one move to another, and basically to get into the groove of the whole game. The move keeps you in constant motion enabling you to measure up your opponent. It is important to learn the ginga well because all the movements come from the ginga. If your ginga is wrong, all your movements are going to be wrong.
First, get into a squatting position whereby your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Spread them wide to form a right angle with both legs. At this point in time, you should be in a semi-squat sort of like what you would expect to see as a starting stance Kungfu or Taichi.
Then, while keeping one leg bent, shift the other leg to the back. The front leg should remain bent and the back leg should never, at any time, cross the path of front leg. Keep your hands up – in an arched position (the arm should make an approximate 90 degrees).
Three, return to the first position but this time, keep your arms in the same position. Following this, switch legs and repeat step 2.
Thereafter, start a light bounce on both legs and switch between the two legs, gathering momentum till one feels comfortable. The movement might seem rather awkward at the first few tries. But, with practice, you will quickly get into the groove. It might also help if you practiced along with some music. Keeping in rhythm with the music is essential in capoeira. Moreover, it is as much a dance as it is a fight.
It is important to note and remember that the back leg should never, at any times, cross path with the front leg as this will destabilize the stance and prevent you from reacting t your opponent swiftly. Execution of attacks and escapes might also be compromised.
Once you have mastered said move, by which, you must be comfortable to break out into a ginga without much thought or having to think or recall which leg goes where, we can move on. As a complete introduction to the sport, a kick will be introduced next to give you a quick taste of a capoeira attack and also provide a more holistic introduction to capoeira.
The Second Move
The Meia-Lua de Frente is a basic kick in capoeira. Similar to the Ginga, the Meia-Lua de Frente is the base to many of the other kicks. Getting this move right is therefore of great importance. Plus, it makes a fabulous statement about your level of control and abilities. This move at first glance might seem rather flashy and give many beginners the impression of a spinning kick. However, it is most definitely not the case. Do not be intimidated by its name or the initial difficulties. The move is in essence rather simple.
Begin with a Ginga – as mentioned earlier, most moves in capoeira begin with the Ginga. Do the ginga a couple of times before executing the kick. The number of gingas performed doesn’t matter, as the main point is to get into the groove and momentum to execute the kick itself.
Do this is slow motion the first few times.
After a comfortable number of gingas, while one leg is at the back, stop, then move the back leg to the front, parallel to the feet already in front – which we will call leg 1. The hips of leg 1 should be engaged and prepared to execute the kick.
Hold the tension in the hips, pushing back slightly. Thereafter, swing leg 1 to the front in a horizontal manner. And just as its about to reach limits, retract your leg. This would complete the Meia-Lua de Frente.
To continue, repeat the ginga and execute the kick again. Flexibility might become an issue in this kick. While one does not need to straighten their leg during the kick, some find lifting it up to the required height difficult too.
Therefore, it would be wise to practice capoeira in line with a good amount of stretching and flexibility exercise, especially if you are the impatient sorts. You might see progress much more quickly this way.
Patience is essential in a game like this. This is neither tai chi nor yoga, but take some time to learn the tiny nuances of the game. You might find yourself intrigued by its chess-like elegance and qualities. The complete guide to capoeira can be found here: Getting started on Capoeira
If you are truly intrigued by capoeira, visit Capoeira Moves to find out everything you need to know about capoeira.
About the Author: There is much much more to Capoeira, here we are merely scratching the surface. If this has deeply intrigued you, you can view the complete getting started guide here at
For general information about capoeira, you can also visit,