Vingativa: The full story

My relationship with vingativa is a long and troublesome one.

When I first learned the technique, as a stark beginner to capoeira, I was delighted. Such a great takedown!

However, as I gained experience with it, I found out there was a problem: Vingativa doesn't work.Vingativa only worked when done against opponent that was already very unstable (ie doing an armada). And even then, the fall wasn't very hard. Certainly nothing that would neutralize him for good.

But against a normal, firm stance? Vingativa didn't work at all. The opponent only somehow lost his balance, and that was it.

I know that this is considered 'normal' in school where they are used to just 'show' the vingativa. But I wanted my capoeira to be a martial art; and vingativa, in the above sense, was certainly not a good fighting technique.

(Note: I learned the classic form of vingativa, where the opponent is kind of pushed with the tip of elbow over the leg).

Desperate, I started to research how other schools do it. They couldn't have such a flimsy technique!

And I found out an interesting thing: Almost every association of capoeira has its own way of doing vingativa; sometimes the differences are subtle, sometimes it seems like a completely different technique.

Abada went really low and used their head to push up and back, 'extending' the opponent over the thigh.
Nestor capoeira pushed back (and up?) with his shoulder and back.

(See excursus 1 for comprehensive analysis of all modern forms of vingativa).

But even then, neither of the ways were really effective. At best, they just somehow 'screw' the opponent to the floor. I know some people are happy with that. I was not.

[Back then, I discovered a moral truth: Generally, if there exist many ways to do one thing, it means: Neither of them works. Instead, if there is best way to do something, it is used by all. You do not see olympic swimmers swimming 50 different styles; but one. There were so many ways to do vingativa because none worked!]

The above result left me with no other choice but to stop training and teaching vingativa. I value my integrity highly, and I certainly wasn't going to spread a technique that doesn't work.

From time to time I still experimented with different ways of doing vingativa, trying to find an effective mechanics. Yet, to no avail - no matter how you do a (modern) vingativa, it is not a good throw.
(Again, see excursus 1)

(The same applies to the wanna-be-vingativa modern angoleiros use, which is like a backward cabecada).

My dilemma was only solved several years later after I discovered banda de lado; which is Carioca's 'vingativa on steroids'. Outwardly, it looks similar to vingativa; but it has a completely different(effective!) mechanics; it is a banda, a sweep; it is not 'lean against the opponent and hope you will not fall with him' kind of move. It is part of Carioca. It is elegant. It is cool!

And most importantly, it throws people on their heads.



Excursus 1: Mechanics of modern vingativa(s)

Vingativa is a quite complex 3D movement; but we can obtain a suitable generalization. In all forms of vingativa, the thigh and hip of the attacker are behind the opponent; that means, it can only apply force forward. On the other hand, the torso and arm of the attacker is in front of the opponent, meaning, it can only apply the force backward. It is the form of these two forces that determines the way opponent will be thrown.

Modern vingativa uses the arm and torso as a primary force, as a driver. In judo, they would probably classify this form of vingativa as 'te-waza'.
This gives us the following variations,according to the form of force used:

1) The elbow pushes downward - my personal variation, invented circa 2008, when I engineered my capoeira to be more combat effective. I never saw it done in other schools. It works reliably; it sort of punches the opponent to the floor; like a 'cabecada done with the elbow'. It doesn't need the thigh to trip the opponent.

Note: In koshiki-no-kata of judo, there is a similar throw; the downward straight force is generated by kneeling down onto one knee. (1:12)




2) The elbow (or arm) pushes backward  - the common 'vingativa'. The opponent is driven down and back, and he trips over the thigh or hip of the attacker. The problem is, in order to drive the elbow back, the power must come from the rotation of the torso. This has two problems: the opponent is always kind of twisted to the ground around the leg, lessening the impact; second, it breaks the attacker's own ballance, often resulting in him falling with the opponent if done full force!

Sometimes, this is 'empowered' by thrusting the hips forward; making it even less stable.

Note: Some people liken this vingativa to 'sukui nage' of judo; but that is really a senseless comparison. Yes, sukui nage also uses rotation. But sukui nage LIFTS legs. Vingativa cannot lift, because it doesn't have anything to lift with. It is a completely different throw.

This is an interesting form of rotating vingativa
Here, he helps with the right knee, making it more banda-like. But still, it is not banda de lado.




3) The elbow/shoulder/back/head pushes outward and upward - the lifting vingativa. Unlike the previous ones, the opponent is not pushed down, but 'extended' up.

(BTW isn't it interesting that the opponent never actually falls down in the demonstrations?)

You can easily recognize this form of vingativa, as the lifting must come from the front leg; unlike (1) and (2), the weight is shifted onto it and the whole body RISES up.  In (1), weight is also on the front leg, but this time, the leg BENDS(the body sinks). In (2), weight stays on both legs, and the body rotates.


As you see, the 'vingativa' in modern capoeira is actually three(or two) different techniques. To ignoramus, they 'look' the same, but the principle is completely different. This illustrates the confusion surrounding this outwardly simple looking technique.

Note to Razor+Wire students: Ironically,but not surprisingly, the above illustrates the three ways human body can generate power! The downward power, the upward power, and the rotational power.


A bonus:
0:37 - here, the capoeira mestre in question wisely concluded that vingativa as commonly done is a piece of crap, and applied sukui-nage(judo throw) instead. (If you grab legs in any way, you are NOT doing a vingativa! You are doing some other throw with similar entry.)

Note that any way you do vingativa in the above fashion, it is still crappy! I absolutely refuse to believe, having seen the beautiful throws of original capoeiragem/batuque, that they ever used such a piece of shit throw! You need modern capoeira (1980 and later) to think this is good!

[In other words, I do not believe vingativa was ever designed to be done by pressing with the elbow/shoulder/arm/upper body at all!]

So why analyse it? Well, to obtain knowledge, first of all. Second, to show that modern 'vingativa' is not worth pursuing as a fighting technique.




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