Capoeira Regional, an exhilarating style of Capoeira, was created by the legendary Mestre Bimba (Manoel dos Reis Machado) in the early 20th century. Hailing from Salvador, Brazil, Mestre Bimba revolutionized the art form by developing the first structured training technique for Capoeira. In a time when learning Capoeira involved observing and participating in the roda, Mestre Bimba established the first official Capoeira school in 1932. Since Capoeira was still considered illegal, he initially referred to his style as "Luta Reginal Baiana" (Regional fight from Bahia), which eventually evolved into the widely recognized Capoeira Regional.
Capoeira Regional stands out with its distinctive characteristics that set it apart from other styles. This dynamic style emphasizes acrobatics, style, and speed, in contrast to the slower, smoother movements of Capoeira Angola. Capoeira Regional is known for its energetic and aggressive gameplay, maintaining a faster pace. The matches are generally shorter, upright, and predominantly played on the feet, lasting an average of 2-3 minutes. Unlike other styles, Capoeira Regional employs two pandeiros and one berimbau, omitting the use of chamadas or ladainhas. Mestre Bimba not only infused his own creative touch into the Angola technique names but also introduced jumping and spinning variations. He incorporated new techniques, such as the galopante (cupped hand strike), and devised unique versions of kicks, including the martelo (roundhouse kick). Furthermore, Mestre Bimba incorporated movements from Batuque, an Afro-Brazilian martial art characterized by aggressive grappling and attacking techniques.
One significant aspect that sets Capoeira Regional apart is its introduction of ranks. In this style, practitioners are awarded colored cords (belts) as a recognition of their skill level. In the past, colored scarves were used for this purpose. Moreover, Capoeira Regional includes an admission exam, which assesses a student's proficiency in Capoeira movements and determines their progress within the art form.
The significance of Capoeira Regional extends beyond its unique style and techniques. For many years, Capoeira was deemed illegal in Brazil, and those practicing it faced severe consequences. Mestre Bimba's mission was to transform Capoeira's image into a respected, socially acceptable, and authentic Brazilian martial art. He promoted Capoeira as a sport, encouraging the participation of the middle class, while downplaying its historical ties to slavery, aiming to legitimize and legalize its practice. Following its legalization, Capoeira has gained recognition as Brazil's national sport and has captivated audiences worldwide, promoting values such as respect, fitness, diversity, and discipline.
When it comes to choosing between Capoeira Regional and other styles, it ultimately depends on your personal preferences and viewpoint. You can opt to attend classes dedicated to a specific style, allowing you to explore and embrace the unique aspects of each. So why not seek out a Capoeira class near you and embark on a journey to discover the style that resonates with your inner spirit? Immerse yourself in the rich heritage and captivating movements of Capoeira, and unlock a world of physical prowess, cultural appreciation, and personal growth.