Archive for February, 2011

Update: Please visit our Schedule page to view the latest DC Capoeira Class Schedule.

We are adding a new Sunday class! Back by poplular demand, this will be a 4 week class at 4:15 to 5:15pm starting Sunday February 20th, 2011. The classes will be held at BTI Dance studio in Dupont circle. You can get more information and sign up online at their website:

Our regularly scheduled classes at Bloombars on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 11am will continue as usual. I know many of you have asked about weeknight classes and we are still looking for a space that can host classes during weeknights. Stay tuned!

Part of learning Capoeira involves learning the traditions that are handed down from teacher to student and have survived in tact since slave times. By the time someone reaches the rank of mestre, they will not only be skilled in the movements of capoeira, but they will be able to play all the traditional instruments, know all the capoeira songs and be able to make cordas (rank belts) and even instruments like the berimbau, pandera, and attabaque from scratch with nothing but some wood and hand tools.

After class on a recent saturday, contra mestre bomba was showing some of his students how to make a traditional corda rank belt by hand. It involves four people and two very long cords of rope that are made of strings that are twisted together by hand.

The following three videos show the manufacture of the corda in three phases, the beginning, middle and end. It’s not meant to be an instructional, but should give you an idea of what is involved in something as simple as making a belt. Note that all four people must work together to make one belt. Like all things in capoeira, teamwork is key. You don’t achieve anything worthwhile in capoeira by yourself.

Here’s a video featuring Lauren and Pete, two of Contra Mestre’s Bomba’s students who have been training for about 6 months. In this drill, one person executes an Armada (spinning crescent kick) and the other person counters by sweeping the leg with a rasteira. While it’s important to practice the kicks and dodges by yourself, in order to improve, you must practice with a partner to get your timing right and to learn how to anticipate where an attack will come from. Equally important is learning who to esquiva, or rasteira in the right direction. If you dodge the right way, your opponent’s kick will sail harmlessly over you, but if you do it the wrong way, you are vulnerable to a kick right to the head.

So practice this drill safely by taking turns and making sure to make contact with the attacker’s ankle when you sweep, then follow through with your movement without taking out your opponent’s supporting leg. If you are practicing on the beach, you can sweep your opponent completely, but in the beginning, just focus on your timing without making your opponent fall.