Capoeira Beribazu Warsaw

Mestre Aldo Martins, who has been practising and teaching capoeira for over 30 years, tells us all about physical and mental benefits coming from this amazing form of dancing and fight, why capoeira is not a religion and why he decided to become a capoeirista.

– Capoeira is for all people – confesses Mestre Aldo Martins, who for many years has been running the Beribazu Group ( in Warsaw, Poland. – Capoeira is often called the Brazilian martial art, but in fact it is a dance containing elements of fight and acrobatic movements. Music plays a very important role – adds Mestre Aldo. Capoeira was born because in the XVIII and XIX century there was a real need for it. It was created by slaves in Brazil, who chose exactly this way to manifest their culture and the need for freedom. Music and singing became a perfect camouflage for elements of real fight and self-defense, which were practised by slaves preparing for a possible attack or defense.

People usually start practising martial arts to gain more confidence as well as to be able to defend themselves and others from danger. Why did you start practising capoeira?

– The view of people practising capoeira on the streets of Brazil is something completely natural. It is an essential part of our culture, it creates a sense of pride and attaches us more and more to our  tradition. Capoeira usually attracts attention for several reasons. It is either music, rhythm, singing, acrobatic elements or elements of fight. I was fascinated by music. As a teenager, I used to join groups practising capoeira on the streets and after about two years I approached the subject more seriously and began to attend professional trainings. I must admit that it was one of the most important steps in my life. In a sense, it allowed me to protect myself from the harsh reality of Brazil, mainly related to entering criminal circles.

Does capoeira bring more physical or spiritual benefits?

In the beginning, capoeira primarily brings physical benefits. It is characterized by enormous dynamism, it contains many rotary kicks, and the basic movement – the so-called ginga – gives art the character of a dance. With time, however, capoeira also shapes the character – it calms you down, lets you gain more self-confidence and strengthens the feeling of belonging to the group, and thus to society.

What is Batizado?

Batizado is a very important event in the career of a novice capoerista. After three months of training and mastering basic movements, the student performs at the capoeira festival, during which he demonstrates his skills with the capoeira masters. He also receives a belt which is later changed every year.

Capoeira is a true carrier of Brazilian culture around the world. Does it look the same in every country?

There is no doubt that tradition is the most important part of capoeira – traditional elements that everywhere should look exactly in the same way. Travelling around the world, taking part in workshops and observing skills demonstrations in different countries, some modifications are visible. This is probably dependent on the temperament of every single nation, musicality, etc. But then it is no longer the true capoeira that the slaves used to practise. Evolution is important, as everywhere, but I am a strong traditionalist in this matter – laughs Mestre Aldo.

And if you were not a capoeirista, what would you do in your life?

– My life is movement – confesses Mestre Aldo. – Dynamics and full physical activity. There is no doubt that I simply would choose another kind of sport.

Is there something particularly important about capoeira that people should know?

– Yes – admits Mestre Aldo. – Capoeira is not a religion, let alone a sect. Capoeira is an art that unites people, teaches us how to function in a group, how to help one another and enjoy our presence. I respect the opinions of others, but in this case the truth is only one – capoeira is made for everyone – adds Mestre Aldo, smiling.

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