Crawling tesoura is known from contemporary Angola as a slow technique("Tesoura Angola") that has a ritual importance, having nothing whatsoever to do with fighting.
However, the original Crawling tesoura, done in old Bahian Capoeira, was a dynamic technique that could be used in a fight, at least in the roda.
The key is LightLegs; as with many other techniques, Crawling tesoura became unusable when capoeiristas forgot how to apply LightLegs.
Get on all fours with your back to the opponent and equp LightLegs. Then scurry across the floor quickly towards the opponent; moving from side to side. This quick side-to-side movement is allowed by LightLegs and it is the key to true Crawling tesoura.
Your objective is to hit opponent's legs with your buttocks. If you do this with LightLegs, it produces a nerve disruption; which makes the opponent weak and unsteady; so you can then scissor him from the sides with your legs, taking him down.
Note that what makes or breaks this technique are the LightLegs; without LightLegs, not only you cannot move towards the opponent quickly, but you cannot cause the nerve disruption that allows you to take him down.
You must also hit his legs with your buttocks to apply the nerve disruption.
The leg scissors are applied from the sides of opponent's legs; not from the front and back as modern tesoura de costas; this is allowed by the nerve disruption.
Note that this technique is NOT tesoura da costas; at least not how it is commonly applied today.
The common defence against Crawling tesoura is Au. (You escape by cartwheeling over his leg to the side).
This technique is quite fast, so escaping with Au over one of opponent's legs is not just a ritual as in contemporary Angola; but often a necessity.
Note that if you try to kick Crawling tesoura, you create a nerve disruption in your own body (similar to some LightLegs kicks or LightLegs au). Therefore, attacking a Crawling tesoura is not recommended ;-)
It is interesting to note that Crawling tesoura was originally also part of Mestre Bimba's 'Cintura desprezada' sequence; it is clearly visible that Bimba scissors the opponent's leg from the sides. Also, the defence was Au.
(Crawling tesoura in 'Curso de capoeira regional' by Mestre Bimba)
However, it is probable that as Bimba's students were unable to apply LightLegs, this tesoura did not work for them. So instead, they created the modern 'tesoura da costas' and 'tesoura de lado'; which are purely physical and work against kicks. This is another showcase of gradual degeneration of capoeira.
The old name for this technique was probably Tesoura aberta("Open scissors").
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