Blocking a front kick in modern capoeira is a colorful tale all by itself; showcasing the features of old capoeira; and also of the modern one.
But let us start from the beginning:
Straight front kick was always used in Carioca (Pe de panzina); and later also in Regional (Bençao).
To defend it, in Regional, the practitioner was taught to quickly slip down to the floor into Negativa.
So far, so good. (We will return to this shortly).
However, modern capoeira clearly did not understand, or even despised Bimba's method of defence; instead, creating three types of defence against the straight kick:
1) Ignoring that it exists. Straight kick is 'evil', and has no place in 'modern, friendly capoeira'. Therefore, we don't use the kick, so we don't have to learn any defence. Genius, isn't it.
2) Teaching stupid defences, such as arching backwards etc. We will not waste time and space on these; other than saying they do not work.
3) Teaching common defences from other martial arts: Parrying the front kick to the side by the inward or outward sweep of your arm; or even using the 'cross block' with both arms.
(You can see most of these here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPexpVOMIzY But this is not an exception, rather, a typical case)
(This is what modern capoeira calls 'Bençao'; and a way to 'evade' it. Both are preposterous and a spit to Mestre Bimba's face)
Ok. Now we have to stop and ask - if defending a capoeira front kick was so simple as blocking it with your arm, then why did Mestre Bimba teach the complicated way of defending it by dropping into Negativa?
Was he stupid (as modern approach indirectly implies)? Was the old capoeira so primitive it could not come up with an arm block (again, as modern capoeiristas seem to think)?
The answer is surprising (well, not to me): It is the modern capoeira that is primitive; forgetting the knowledge of the more evolved old Capoeira.
How so? Well, to put it simply: LightLegs.
A proper capoeira front kick - as done in Carioca, and even by Bimba - was done using LightLegs. This not only made it very hard to react to (see my article on LightLegs); but also gave it a special feature:
The moment you try to block a LightLegs frontkick with you arm, instead of parrying it sideways, you only give yourself a nerve disruption - and then eat the kick.
So simple it is: Bimba did not use arm block againt Bençao simply because blocks do not work against a proper (=old) capoeiragem frontkick.
That is why instead, you had to evade it (using a Negativa of Regional, for example).
(Note: It seems that later, Bimba taught some blocks of straight kick with his arm, combined with cabecada to the chest. Frankly, I do not know what to think of these; perhaps Bimba assumed an adversary that was clueless in capoeira).
Modern capoeira completely forgot the proper way to execute a front kick; so it teaches its simulacrum that can be blocked with hands; and ignores the original evasion as it seems nonsensical to it. That is, frankly, all that needs to be said about modern capoeira.
But it also shows that old capoeira was mechanically more sophisticated that, say, thai boxing or modern karate; where the front kick is done so that it can be easily blocked with arms.
The old Capoeiragem method of evading front kick by dropping to the ground was indispensable because LightLegs kicks were used; and trying to block these with your arms results in a nerve disruption.
Modern capoeira forgot the LightLegs kicks; so dropping to the ground to evade kicks makes no sense now - you can just simply block it.
Forgetting the LightLegs kicks and the low evasions shows how degenerated modern capoeira is.
There are other frontal kicks of old Capoeiragem that cannot be blocked with arms:
- Meia lua de frente
- MLDC (the true one from Carioca)
Notable exceptions - LightLegs kicks that can however be blocked with arms - are Pontape/Ponteira, Chibata and a badly done MLDC (see my article on MLDC hierarchy).
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