Cabeçada, the headbutt, was one of the primary fighting techniques of old Capoeira. It was used in street fights; even in the mass ones, with weapons involved.
(This is a bit different type of cabeçada, done with a leg hold; we will look at it later. Notice the weapon)
Note that this was not like the cabeçada that is sometimes done in modern capoeira that would have you break your neck if you did it for real. Old cabeçada was a takedown!
The cabeçada we introduce here it the most basic one, called Cabeçada solta (solta means free, without holding the opponent).
(Another mass battle; notice the weapons: sticks, knives, cabeçada solta and peneiracao).
You must use Tiger mechanics; that is the most important key to cabeçada. Using Tiger mechanics, ram the top of your head downward into opponent's solar plexus; this shoots him to the ground.
- This effect distinguishes proper cabeçada from a fake one: If the opponent does not fall to the ground, you are doing it wrong!
- The key is not to add more power; but to use the correct mechanics.
- The target must be around opponent's solar plexus; otherwise, this cabeçada does not work.
- Cabeçada can be dissolved by moving backward; that is why it is important to throw it only when the opponent moves forward; in other words, this is counter-attack.
- In fighting, you do a peneiracao and when the opponent moves forward, you shoot him down with a cabeçada
- The real impact of this cabeçada is not the strike with the head into solar plexus; but the impact of opponent's back hitting the ground. Done with power, this will knock the wind out of him.
- You can finish him with a stomp to the groin
- You hands can either remain down; or you can cross them to defend against possible knees from the opponent
- Cabeçada has one more interesting feature: After you hit the opponent in the solar plexus, his arms remain locked out to the sides! That means has he cannot attack you with his hands, even if he is holding a weapon (a knife). This is why cabeçada was so popular in capoeira: Because if you manage to connect with it, you are safe even from edged weapons!
This is the proper Carioca cabeçada, in the most basic version. Practice it until it works like is shown here. Later, we will show how you can use it together with grabs and other tricks.
Interestingly, this type of headbutt is used even in kungfu. This is the same technique, done in Hap Gar style of kungfu. Notice the crossed arms to defend knees.
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