This is an essay illustrating the enculturation of a Brazillian sport/martial art, Capoeira, into a commercial society

Essay by kstyleUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2002

download word file, 8 pages 4.0

Downloaded 57 times

Capoeira is a word that my spell-checker doesn't recognize. To say it is a martial art from Brazil would be a loose translation, for it is far more than that. Even the masters of Capoeira who know it best would be hard pressed to choose between martial art, sport, game, dance, musical performance, ritual, or way of life. Just as there is debate over what it is, everyone has his own story of where it came from. Perhaps that is fitting for an activity that holds deception and trickery as its fundamental guiding philosophy. Part of the reason it is so little known is because it might have literally emerged from the depths of the Amazon jungle. It faded almost right out of existence before spreading as a national sport suddenly in the early 1900's, and bursting onto a world scene even more rapidly. I guess its recent addition to the American body of knowledge explains the fact that Microsoft doesn't know how to spell Capoeira.

The demonstration that I saw was performed on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. Since it was a show, performed in front of a seated audience, some of the original effect may have been lost. Traditionally, two players perform the dance or sport aspect of the activity surrounded by a roda, or ring of spectators who sing and chant. The active participation of the observers lends something to the experience you obviously don't experience sitting in a seat twenty feet back.

Leading the roda is a capoeirista who controls the rhythm with his berimbau. The berimbau is a chordophone comprised of a wire strung taught on a bow to which a gourd is attached. The capoeirista plays the instrument by hitting the string with a pick of some sort. There are only...