Rabo de arraia


Rabo de arraia*) is a special type of low takedown used in Carioca.

(Rabo de arraia on a caricature).

 *)As I already wrote elsewhere, through ages, there was quite a number of kicks in Capoeiragem called 'Rabo de arraia' (Mldc, 41, Pantana etc.). I usually call them another name to avoid confusion; however, for this takedown I kept the name. This is the only 'Rabo de arraia' in our repertoire.


The problem is that proper Rabo de arraia needs Smilodon archetype, which is quite high-level and it does not come naturally to most people. (See also Banda de lado).


The banda uses Smilodon+LightLegs mechanics.

The opponent stands with his left side towards you.

After setting the opponent up, equip LightLegs and step with your right leg across opponent's left leg; turning your back to him; so that his legs are between your legs.

Then, put your weight on both hands and quickly jump towards the opponent, aiming to hit his left leg with your buttocks; landing on both knees and toes.

The important point is that you hit the side of opponent's left leg, near his knee, with your buttocks. This is a high-energy point("He!").

This will apply a nerve strangle; making the opponent dizzy and weak, and unbalances him to his rear.

Continue by sweeping your right leg upward and rightward, sweeping both opponent's thighs to the rear, over your left calf. This is a high-energy point("Ha!").

This applies another nerve strangle; and sends the opponent falling on the back of his head, hard.


The key to this technique is the double nerve strangle.

The first part is the same nerve strangle as in Calço and Thesoura; but done with your buttocks. You must hit the proper spot and shout "He!". This unbalances the opponent to the rear.

The second part is done immediately afterwards; it somewhat resembles the modern Tesoura de lado; however, this one is done using Smilodon; and creates a nerve strangle as it hits. Shout "Ha!".

This gives "HeHa!" for the whole technique.


Good entry to Rabo de arraia is the Uppercut jab, described in my other article:

Equip LightLegs, step with your right leg forward as you throw right uppercut into opponent's chin("Ha!"), creating a nerve strangle.
Then quickly turn leftward, put your hands on the ground and jump onto your knees, bumping opponent's leg with your buttocks ("He!").
Finally, scissor your right leg upward to throw him down ("Ha!").


This takedown is dangerous in that it applies a double nerve strangle to the opponent at the same time he is thrown; which weakens his muscles and makes him slam the back of his head on the ground.

Therefore, for training, always use a 'safety harness': Put both your palms behind your head, fingers downward, palms together and facing backward. This grip will prevent your head from hitting the ground as you are thrown.


The double nerve strangle is so strong the training partner frequently has trouble getting up even if he is otherwise not injured. In that case, make him lift his legs upward until the effect of the double nerve strangle wears off.


Rabo de arraia was probably one of the three favourite finishers of Capoeiragem; the other two being Double jawkick and Cocada.


To escape Rabo de arraia, equip LightLegs and as the opponent tries to bump your left leg from your left with his buttocks, jump to the right with both legs and turn leftward; landing on your hands and sprawling your legs behind you. (This one was derived by me; from the escapes from Thesoura and Encruzilhada; see my article on Batuque tactics).


In "Diario da Noite"(Rio de Janeiro, 1948), they mention that a certain João Mina killed somebody by Rabo de arraia and was jailed. Since the context was batuque, it is probable that it was this Rabo de arraia takedown described above and he used it during a Batuque(batucada) bout.

I put it here as a historical curiosity; and so that you know you have to take care not to kill somebody with it.










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