Capoeira and Brazilian football

Published: Tuesday 20th October 2015

How do Brazilian footballers acquire their football style?…watch a demonstration of Capoeira, the Brazilian martial art that combines music and dance at ACU's Brisbane Campus on Wednesday.

There will be a Capoeira demonstration and lesson by Xango Capoeria at the Oval, the football field behind the Building O, EXSC Department at 3.30pm.

After the one-hour demonstration, at 5pm, in TA 26, Dr Luiz Uehara will present some of the socio-cultural factors influencing the way that Brazilian footballers acquire their football style, the ginga style.

What is Capoeria?

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that incorporates elements of dance and music. In other words, it is an acrobatic, danced game done to distinctive vocal and instrumental music.

Derived from African challenge dances and shaped by slavery, urban gangs, and official repression throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries in Brazil, capoeira today has become a form of physical education and martial art found around the world.

In a capoeira “game,” or jogo, two players strive to outmanoeuvre, trip, or knock each other to the ground using a wide array of kicks, head butts, leg sweeps, and evasive manoeuvres.

At the same time, they balance aggression with a need to demonstrate dexterity, creativity, and artistic flair in response to changes in music provided by a small orchestra… (Downey (2008), p. 204).

Brazilian Football: The Road Towards Ginga

Through a series of popular Nike advertisements, Brazilian football style has been commercialised around the world as joga bonito, two Portuguese words that translated to English mean play beautifully (see YouTube for many video clips on joga bonito).

Different from the pragmatic physical way of playing, joga bonito combines creativity with athleticism, adding an artistic element to football.

As sociologist Rory Miller elucidates, joga bonito is “the sporting expression of other key elements of Brazilian popular culture, samba and capoeira. . . a style of football that [is] not only world-beating but also entrancing for spectators to watch” (Miller, 2007, p. 8).