What is capoeira

Capoeira (Kapo - way - ra with a rolled 'r') is a game that developed in Brazil during the years of colonialism and slavery. In a circle of capoeira practicioners, charged with percussion and song, two players out-move each other, they flow over and around each other weaving kicks and other attacks in constant dance-like motion. They tease and taunt each other and frustrate each other’s tricks. They joke and jibe with theatrics but are always on the lookout for that sudden attack.


Capoeira is a living art, and there are many differences between schools and between teachers. In the 20th century, as capoeira became more popular and accessible to more people, it began to change at a much faster pace than previously; as a result, several parallel traditions have emerged. One of these is called capoeira angola, which places particular emphasis on preserving capoeira as it was played in the past. Capoeira angola places less emphasis on individual acrobatic movements, and more emphasis on creating interesting and subtle interactions between players. This is the style of capoeira which members of our group learn.


Capoeira Mandinga Aotearoa

Capoeira Mandinga Aotearoa is a national school with classes of all levels for adults and children. Beginners can start any time during the year. Some centres offer beginner block courses. There are also several workshops through the year in each centre. See the Class Timetable and Event pages for more specific information.


Our group was initiated in 1992 by Grant Cole, now Mestre Brabo, who is a student of Mestre Marcelo Caveirinha.  Grant received the title of Professor in 1999 and was made a Mestre in 2007.


Mestre Brabo learned capoeira from Mestre Marcelo, but also has been inspired by the capoeira of Mestre Joao Pequeno, one of the great masters of capoeira angola. When classes began in New Zealand, the group’s style, while predominantly the capoeira of Mestre Marcelo, already exhibited some elements of the more traditional style taught at Mestre Joao Pequeno’s academy.


As the group grew, Mestre Brabo’s vision for the group continued to shift more towards the capoeira angola tradition. Since 2004 the group has cultivated a relationship with Mestre Jogo de Dentro, one of the great masters of capoeira angola today, and an invaluable reference point for our capoeira. Also important to the group’s development was the establishment in Sydney of the first capoeira angola school in Australasia, ECAMAR, led by Mestre Roxinho. Since his arrival in our corner of the world, this master has been a key supporter and inspiration on our capoeira journey.