Proto-capoeira - the deepest dive into capoeiragem history

My reader Elias from Rio often inspires me by his inquiring questions to discover things I did not think were discoverable.

For example, would you like to know what capoeira looked like before it was capoeira? By which I mean, what is described in the oldest description of capoeira:

"The negroes have an even more violent warrior’s pastime called Capoeira. Two champions throw themselves, one against the other, trying to hit the chest of the opponent they wish to knock down with their head. They avoid the attack with equally skilled jumps to the side and sudden stops. But in throwing themselves one against the other, more or less like goats, it may happen that they hit each other head against head forcefully, which often makes the game degenerate into fights, whereupon a knife comes into play, bringing on bloodshed."
Rugendas: Capuera ou danse de la guerre (1824)

No kicks, no acrobatics; just headbutts, jumps to the side and 'sudden stops'. I was always intrigued by this description - a primal capoeira that centered on headbutts, without kicks? What was it like?

I call this 'prehistoric' capoeira proto-capoeira; and thanks to my experience with animal archetype theory and other capoeiragem systems (in combination with Elias' questions :-), I was able to re-discover its rudiments.

These are two paintings of proto-capoeira by Rugendas; depicting its signature techniques. (Rugendas traveled in Brazil between 1822 and 1824)


I plan to publish several videos on proto-capoeira; you will see its ginga and the headbutts.


Update: Here they are

1) Eagle ginga and cabeçadas

2) Leg techniques

3) Forest-walk and Forest-ambush cabeçadas


(And do not worry, we are still working on the rest of capoeiragem systems - Recife, Carioca and even Batuque. The advanced techniques just take time to research and master).

I hope people who love capoeira history (as I do) will enjoy seeing this.

And yes, there were no kicks, including acro-kicks, in proto-capoeira; because they cannot be thrown from its Eagle ginga.

This conveniently pulls the plug on the 'N'golo theory' that hypothesizes that capoeira was created from African 'Zebra dance' - there were no 'Zebra kicks' in proto-capoeira; kicks were brought later into it.

(Note that there also are no 'Zebra kicks' either in the old description or on the paintings - and this is something the author would surely mention, as it is clear he was very observant).


You might note that proto-capoeira looks ugly. That is a feature, not a bug. Proto-capoeira was used in an age that still understood that combat system should be ugly, not look cute for media and tourists.


PS: Today, I learned on wikipedia that Peneiracao was a strike:

This should tell you enough about the level of wikipedia articles about capoeira.















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