Whether you call it an au batido, amazonas, au malandro, au quebrado, or beja flor, the broken cartwheel kick is one of capoeira’s signature moves. It’s the move that almost everyone does automatically when someone wants to “see some capoeira” or wants to take a picture. This is with good reason, of course, because it’s a pretty cool move.
There are two very important things to remember when doing this movement:
1. It Is Not An Au – Though this move looks like an au, and can be done from an au for a surprise attack or defense, when it is done for “pose” purposes you should not think of it like an au. It is vital that you stop your momentum in the middle, and not continue over as you would in an au.
2. Kick To The Front, Not The Side – This move looks like a side kick, but it’s really a front kick. Your hips and torso need to twist a bit, almost so your back starts to face the ground (and in some advanced variations, especially the double leg, your back can totally face the ground). The leg kicks as if you were standing and kicking your leg straight up in front of you like you’re trying to kick yourself in the face.
Ok, so now we have those important reminders out of the way, let’s get on with the actual “how to.”
As the video says, you start “almost” like an au, but you need to stop your momentum. When you start to get airborne, you need to twist your hips a bit (so you can kick to the front), and kick the leg out. Try to keep the leg as straight as you can (but remember, there is much room for personal variation). The non-kicking leg can stay straight, or it can bend, or it can go with the other leg for the dual kick.
Your knee should come to rest on the side of your chest. Again, this is not a side kick. To see what I mean, stand up, and try to kick your leg up to the side and hit your head. It’s pretty much impossible (unless you’re super flexible) because your hip joint just doesn’t go that way.
After you’ve kicked you can grab the leg and try to hold it for a while, but if you’re using this as an actual attack you don’t have to do this.
To end the move, your leg should automatically snap back the way it came. Keep your leg pretty straight when landing, or else you’ll crouch down when you land, and unless you want to do that on purpose, it’s not the best way to land.
So now you know how to do the au batido. Once you’ve mastered the basic movement, you can try to switch it up a bit. Variations can include: two legs kick, bring both legs to your chest and bend knees (like a skater pose), switch au batido where you do follow the cartwheel momentum and kick on both sides, grab your kicking foot or your non kicking foot. The differences are endless.
If you have any questions, or requests for other movements, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. The most important thing you can do is practice, practice, practice.
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