Of all the sports that compliment Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Capoeria seems to bring the most unique qualities to assist in the development of one’s BJJ practice. Originally developed in Brazil by African slaves in the 16th century to discretely learn how to defend themselves from the colonialists, Capoeira develops a very high level of flexibility and agility that BJJ black belts like Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles and Marcus Aurelio have been able to display and incorporate into their game. Part of Cobrinha’s pre-match warm up is some light Capoeira play. If you take some time to browse through his links on YouTube, you will see the agility that can be developed from some serious Capoeria training.
(below) Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles
Gracie Barra’s Jean “White Bear” Silva is another example of the benefits Capoeira brings to not only Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but also MMA. In his fight against Takanori Gomi at Bushido 8 in 2005, Silva displayed some Capoeira techniques, and although they didn’t necessarily prove effective for a win, he was able to keep Gomi (who was on a knockout rampage until then) at bay, only to lose by a decision.
Capoeira practice is very dependant on music for its movement which closely correlates with the beat and tempo. This tempo can vary from a slow Angola-style beat to the more uptempo Sao Bento region beat.
So before you make the assumption that Capoeira is just a dance, think again. Although you may not end up using the style to actually defend yourself or in an MMA match, consider this a more fun way of developing your agility and flexibility, especially if you have an interest in Brazilian culture and music.
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