Brazilian capoeira is a martial art that combines elements of fight, acrobatics, music, dance and ritual that was created nearly 500 years ago by African Slaves in Brazil. It was once banned, but has become ingrained in the fabric of Brazilian culture. Using ballet-like moves including kicks to an opponent’s head, this form of self-defense is as graceful as it is powerful. It’s also acrobatic with many defensive moves calling for full cartwheels or flips to escape a blow or disorient an opponent. Many capoeira moves are similar to soccer kicks, with a player doing a half flip and kicking the ball high and behind him.
Mestre Pastinha, leading instructor of capoeira, said, Capoeira é para homen, menino e mulher, só não aprende quem não quiser. (Capoeira is for man, child and woman; the only ones who do not learn it are those who do not want to). The sport is easy to learn but hard to master—and it might just become your new favorite form of exercise.