Bimba's Nemer system: Evasions

As noted in my article on Bimba's ginga, the evasions of Bimba's system stemed from his Nemer ginga. Without Nemer ginga, they make little sense; and indeed, Bimba's students, lacking his Nemer ginga, started to abandon his evasive maneuvers and replacing them with 'esquivas' (this process later ended with modern capoeira esquivas).

However, as I wrote, this was natural, because they lacked Bimba's Nemer ginga! So pivotal was its role in Bimba's system of capoeira.

(Today, we can see some of Bimba's original evasions preserved in his teaching sequences).

From Nemer ginga, it is natural to evade into these positions:
-Nemer Cocorinha
-frontal Negativa
-Queda de tres

Let us go throught them in turn.

1)Nemer Cocorinha

First of all, Bimba's evasion is not normal Cocorinha, but Nemer Cocorinha (ie Cocorinha done with Nemer archetype). 

This might seem like a small difference; but we know that Nemer often makes or breaks Bimba's original techniques; and it is the same with Cocorinha.

For Nemer Cocorinha, it is extremely fast to counter with Rising Bahian cabecada, MLDC, Armada and Rasteira (again, most of these counterattacks are preserved in the original version of Bimba's sequences).

However, from normal, non-Nemer Cocorinha, these counterattacks are quite slow - to the point of making them unusable! Again, we can see how Bimba's students, lacking Nemer Cocorinha, naturally and gradually rejected Bimba's counterattack system - because it did not work for them!

And conversely, Bimba's counterattacking system, taught by his sequences, only makes sense with Nemer Cocorinha, which makes sense only with Nemer Ginga!

This again shows that Nemer ginga was crucial in Bimba's capoeira system; it was its engine. Without it, you are left only with simulacra.

To repeat:
In Bimba's Nemer system, you must use Nemer Cocorinha to evade circular attacks; in the frontal position of the Nemer ginga, keep Nemer, squat and immediately counterattack with:
-Rising Bahian cabecada
-Bencao (this is the same as from normal Cocorinha).

These counterattacks are only fast enough when you use Nemer Cocorinha; normal Cocorinha makes them slow!

Old Bahian capoeira probably favoured countering circular attacks by going directly into MLDC underneath them; but Bimba's Nemer system makes it natural to go into Nemer Cocorinha first; and then exploding from there with a powerful MLDC. This was again abandoned in modern capoeira.

And the MLDC really just explodes from the Nemer Cocorinha; as does the Armada and Rising Bahian cabecada; using the elastic power of the crouched body. Try it out and you will not want to go back.

The situation is similar with Bahian rasteira; normally, it is thrown directly from (Bahian) ginga, but this is quite slow to handle punches, for example; but in Bimba's Nemer system, your first go to Nemer Cocorinha, protecting you from the punch; and then you throw the opponent down. Again, Bimba's (Nemer) method is combatively superior counter.

As far as countering circular attacks is concerned; Bimba's Nemer Cocorinha method is superior to the old Bahian capoeira counters.

The above part will be probably hard to swallow for most people; as outwardly, Nemer Cocorinha looks almost exactly the same as regular Cocorinha. However, they have different mechanics! And the 'special effects' only work for Nemer Cocorinha. Nemer Cocorinha automatically activates LightLegs; so it is, strictly speaking, a LightLegs evasion, unlike normal Cocorinha.

You might wonder what if the opponent tries to kick you after you evade with Nemer Cocorinha. Well, the moment he tries to kick your Nemer Cocorinha, he will disrupt his own nerves and his kick will fail! Nemer Cocorinha works the same way as a LightLegs Au (see my article) - it is practically unassailable with kicks. But again, that only works for Nemer Cocorinha, not for the regular Cocorinha

2)Frontal Negativa

From Nemer ginga, it is very natural to evade with frontal Negativa - unlike from the common Bahian Ginga!

Aside from this naturalness (which explains why Bimba made frontal Negativa one of his core evasions - see his sequences), the frontal Negativa is quite straightforward.

Well, except one thing - the takedown hidden in it! This must be done by switching into Nemer and then pulling; without Nemer, it again makes no sense. (See my article on Bimba's Negativa takedown)

To repeat:
In the step to the front of the Nemer ginga, use frontal Negativa to evade straight attacks; then counter by pulling opponent's standing leg with Nemer takedown.

3)Queda de tres

Common rear Negativa as done today is not very natural even from Bahian ginga; and even less from Nemer ginga.

Which is why I believe that Bimba prefered another evasion: Queda de tres.

Queda de tres is a special LightLegs evasion used in Carioca; and it is quite natural to do it on the rear leg in Nemer ginga.

Without analysing it deeper(I will leave that for another article), let just say that instead of putting his arms on one side as in common negativa, Queda de tres has arms on respective sides of the body. And it is done with LightLegs.

 (Queda de tres pulling takedown; old photo of Mestre Bimba)

As with Negativa, Queda de tres allows quite a powerful pulling takedown. As with Negativa, switch to Nemer and move your body backward on your hands; hooking inward with the front foot, pulling and then lifting leftward (over the standing leg). This will sweep the opponent down.

To repeat:
In the rear of Nemer ginga, use LightLegs Queda de tres to evade; then counterattack by switching to Nemer and pulling opponent's standing leg.


Voadora is described in my work on Carioca; it is quick evasion from a direct kick, using LightLegs and jumping diagonally to the side.

I believe Bimba used it, as it flows naturally from Nemer ginga; and can be finished with Nemer Galopante, one of Bimba's favourite techniques.

To repeat:
Against direct kicks, evade using Voadora(LightLegs); then counterattack by Nemer Galopante with your rear hand.



The above is Bimba's system of evasions - easy and natural, if you use Nemer ginga (and Nemer archetype in general).

On the contrary, if you use common Bahian ginga(Monkey+Seduction1), it is unnatural and slow; so no wonder Bimba's students abandoned this system of evasion in favor of modern 'esquivas'.


Second, doing Bimba's evasions the way described allows you to throw very fast, powerful counterattacks - a lot more powerful than from the common evasions. Again, these are the counterattacks from Bimba's sequences that were abandoned in modern capoeira.


So important is Nemer ginga to Bimba's capoeira! Without it, his defence and counter system either does not work or makes no sense.

If you want to learn Mestre Bimba's capoeira, start with his Nemer ginga!


It is also interesting to note that three of the evasions require LightLegs; and one requires Nemer; thus putting them out of reach of  'normal' capoeira.


Final note:

It is sometimes thought that basic evasions from Bimba's sequences - Cocorinha, Negativa - are 'for beginners'; while advanced players 'use esquivas'. Yet, as should be clear from this article, it is (Nemer)Cocorinha and Negativa that are 'advanced' - if you do them right! In Bimba's Nemer system, they are master-level evasions.




















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