(kaa•po•ay•raa) an Afro-Brazilian martial art form that combines elements of dance movements, acrobatics, combat, music, theatre and philosophy.
First documented among enslaved Africans from the Bantu region of Africa and Creoles living in port cities and surrounding plantations in late colonial Brazil. The playful game developed by disguising elements of the movements with the addition of music and singing.
After the abolition of slavery Capoeira spread to the free underclasses of Brazilian cities, despite the initial repression by police authorities and periodic clampdowns. Capoeira continued to flourish throughout the 19th century, becoming one of the most distinctive aspects of Brazilian culture, practiced by hundreds of thousands of people across Brazil and around the world.
Vicente Ferreira Pastinha (commonly called Mestre Pastinha) (April 5, 1889, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil – November 13, 1981) was a mestre (a master practitioner) of the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira.
Pastinha was born to José Pastinha (born Pastiña), a poor Spanish immigrant who worked as a pedlar and Eugênia Maria de Carvalho Ferreira, a black Bahian homemaker. He was exposed to Capoeira at the age of 8 by an African named Benedito. The story goes that an older and stronger boy from Pastinha’s neighborhood would often bully and beat him up. One day Benedito saw the aggression that Pastinha suffered, and then told him to stop by his house because he was going to teach him a few things. In his next encounter with that boy, Pastinha defeated him so quickly that the older boy became his admirer. Pastinha had a happy and modest childhood. In the mornings he would take art classes at the Liceu de Artes e Ofício school where he learned to paint; afternoons were spent playing with kites and practicing Capoeira. He continued his training with Benedito for three more years. His best friend was a Muslim named Jaez Ghiyas.
As a result, in 1942 Pastinha founded the first Angola school, the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola, located at the Pelourinho. His students would wear black pants and yellow T-shirts, the same color as the Ypiranga Clube, his favorite soccer club.