Capoeira evolved as a Brazilian martial art developed initially by that country’s African slaves. Marked by deft, deceptive movements played on the ground or completely inverted, the form started gaining worldwide popularity in the early 20th century, when this second volume of Gerard Taylor’s wide-ranging history begins.
The book opens with a study of the capoeira “Bamba,” Mestre Bimba, who became renowned as a fighting champion in Bahia and opened the first legal academy during the dictatorship of Getulio Vargas. Taylor investigates the dramatic development of the schism that resulted in the competing styles of Regional and Angola. Moving into contemporary capoeira, the author provides an overview of new trends, such as international encounters, long distance “mail-order mestres,” mass membership capoeira associations, cyber-capoeira, and grading systems.
The book features the wisdom of a number of important mestres recounting their experiences teaching capoeira professionally around the world. In frank, inspiring interviews they talk about the highs and lows of the capoeira life, and how its lessons can enrich people’s lives.
Photographs, illustrations, and an extensive glossary of terms illuminate the complex history of this fighting art.
About Gerard Taylor
Gerard Taylor is a writer living and working in the city of Oslo in Norway. He began training in capoeira in the 1980s and later received the grade Capoeira Instructor by Mestre Sombra of Associação Senzala de Santos and Mestre Sylvia Bazzarelli of the London School of Capoeira, recognized by the Brazilian Capoeira Confederation.In 1996 the author received his "formado" graduation from Mestre Sylvia Bazzarelli and Contra Mestre Marcos Aurelio Dos Santos of the London School of Capoeira. Later that year he established the Oslo Capoeira Klubb with another "formada" of the London School, Agnes Folkestad. Over the course of the next decade Taylor has trained many hundreds of students. In 2006, the Oslo Capoeira Klubb graduated formados of its own, some of whom demonstrate the movements in Capoeira 100.Since the late 1970s Taylor has worked in various fields of journalism and copywriting, including the Foundation for African Arts, and the Black Voice Newspaper. He has also contributed articles to Agogô Magazine and Brazzil Magazine. Taylor is the author of two previous works on capoeira: "Capoeira: The Jogo de Angola from Luanda to Cyberspace, Volume 1," a comprehensive history of pre-20th century capoeira, published by North Atlantic Books in 2005; and "Capoeira Conditioning," a whole-body training program using exercises from capoeira, published by Blue Snake Books in 2006.
“This book is living proof that capoeira isn’t only movements. It shows us that the culture of capoeira is very rich in the full context. Before that which our eyes see, before a kick, or an acrobatic movement, there lived a tradition, and a private belief. Everything starts to make sense for us from the moment that we understand the history. … This book is a magnificent way for us to play capoeira (as Grand Master Sombra says) without legs, with our brain, our feelings, and with our soul. From there, our behavior will become closer to the capoeira spirit, and our movements will make sense.”
—Contra Mestre Paulo Roberto, Associação de Capoeira Senzala de Santos, Athens, Greece
“An essential insight into the evolution of Afro-Brazilian culture and history. Written with great clarity and scholarship, this second volume is a must for anyone touching the ground of capoeira. Definitely a book to take to the desert island.”
—Contra Mestre Ceará, Associação de Capoeira Canigó
"What marks out The Jogo de Angola from Luanda to Cyberspace is the exceptional thoroughness and breadth of the research, which reveals the complex history of capoeira by drawing from a vast array of sources and information from other fields ... [This] allows him to explain, challenge and set in context many of the myths and stereotypes about the history of capoeira.”
—Richard Chipping, tai chi ch’uan and self-defense instructor, London, England