The mystery of Godeme

Godeme is a strange Regional hand technique - you first execute an elbow strike and then follow up with a backfist - and it is even blocked strangely: You use your opposite hand to cup opponent's elbow (right hand if he strikes with his left elbow). This can be seen in Bimba's sequence; and I always wondered why it is done the way it is.

Without further ado, here is why:

First, true Godeme must be done with LightLegs equiped; then it is not only very fast, it also causes a knockout when you hit opponent's head (either with the elbow strike or the backhand strike to the face).

Second, LightLegs Godeme can only be blocked with the opposite palm catching the striking elbow (as in the sequence); all other ways of blocking it produce a nerve disruption in the blocker (similarly to most LightLegs kicks).

Now imagine trying to block Godeme with common boxing guard: When the opponent throws the left elbow, you lift your left arm to block it. However, this causes a nerve disruption in you, weakening you guard! And then, when you are all over the place from the nerve disruptor, the backfist comes, hitting your head and knocking you out.

This is very probably why Godeme is done the way it is, a double strike - to cause a nerve disruption when the opponent blocks the first one, and then knockout with the second. It is a great technique.

Thus the real Godeme - done by Bimba, with LightLegs - was a very effective, almost unblockable hand technique.  Done from the Nemer ginga of Mestre Bimba (read my article on Bimba's ginga, when it is ready), it was probably quite scary. And you can only block it the way shown in Bimba's sequence.

(The only proper way to block Godeme, from 'Curso de capoeira regional')

Note: I see people do Bimba's sequence today and blocking left handed Godeme using their left arm. As noted above, this is wrong and would not work against a real Godeme; it would go through that block like a knife through a hot butter.

The modern Godeme - done without LightLegs - is a joke. It does not allow the nerve disruptor - knockout application and you can block it any way you like.


PS: You probably know it, but it is said that the name 'Godeme' comes from Mestre Bimba fighting an American sailor, who, upon being hit with the technique, exclaimed 'God damn it!'; which Bimba interpreted as 'Godeme'.





















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