Baloes = challenges

During my capoeira oddysey, I have always been fascinated by baloes.

This is partially because they do not resemble anything in other martial arts. Yes, they do resemble throws (often greco-roman wrestling throws; that is because many of them come from greco-roman wrestling originally); but ones that have the opponent land on his feet. What kind of throws have the opponent land on his feet? What throws are these?

With my current understanding, I can answer this question: These are challenges.


Old Bahian capoeira was almost completely based on challenges.

Challenge means that player A invites player B to let himself be grabbed, thrown or otherwise attacked; player B lets himself grabbed (thrown etc) and demonstrates his high level of body skill by escaping unscathed. This is the core of a challenge - to accept a pre-arranged attack and evade it with a pre-arranged (but difficult) response.

Most people seem to have trouble grasping this today, because challenges are unique to old Bahian capoeira. No other martial art has them; no other martial sport has them; even no other sport has challenges.

This is what makes challenges weird for most people.

Even modern capoeira had moved almost completely away from challenges. People usually just exchange kicks in the air; or fight wildly; while they are unable to even escape a simple rasteira, which was a basic challenge of old Bahian capoeira.


And baloes are weird precisely because they are challenges.

There are three types of baloes; based on three types of challenges:

1)Escape-baloes - you let yourself be grabbed or thrown, and use high-level skill to escape. Examples: Boca de calca, Vingativa, Beautiful Encruzilhada, Balao em pe, Old-style Balao cinturado.

2)Confuser-baloes - you let yourself get carried over the opponent on your feet; and must use LightLegs; otherwise, you get nerve confusered after landing (and attacked). Examples:
Tombo de ladeira, Volta por cima, Apanhada, Balao de lado, Balao cinturado, Gravata cinturada, Old-style Balao cinturado

3)Acro-baloes - you let yourself be thrown in a high arc; and must stay relaxed during the flight to land on your feet. If you tense up, your body folds and you fall on your head. Examples: Arqueada de frente, Crucifixo, Acoite de braco, Gravata baixa etc.


Note that if you fail answering the challenge, you might fall very hard, perhaps even dying. Old Bahian capoeira was a game; but a game in which you might die easily.




Speaking of challenges, I have a challenge for you too: Ask your mestre or profesor to demonstrace an escape from rasteira.

But I do not mean cutely stepping over the rasteira or similar nonsense. Let him throw a full-power kick from ginga and rasteira his standing leg; and see if he can escape in Au.

It should not be hard, right? It is taught in Bimba's sequences, which are beginners' stuff.

And if your mestre or professor cannot do this - cannot escape a rasteira - , what is he mestre of?



















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