The Capoeira Blog

Capoeira in the Media: Your Opinion
August 24, 2007, 10:19 am
Filed under: Media, Questions


My first introduction to capoeira was Only the Strong, which wasn’t a great movie, but it showcased this cool, different martial arts style. After that came Tekken 3 and Eddy Gordo, who was (and still is) the most faithful representation of capoeira in a video game (except for the breakdancing and gymnastics moves, of course). I had never seen capoeira before, and it’s because of these two media representations that capoeira is such a big part of my life now.

Capoeira is everywhere these days. It can be seen in commercials for women’s products and cell phones, as well as the style of choice for villains and theives in movies.

Some people say that exposure like this is good for capoeira because it will draw people in. This is what happened to me, and probably many others; we see capoeira in a movie and decide to do more research into it. But others say that it will lead to a watered down style with no music or history, because anything less than a true representation of capoeira (with the roda, berimbau, game, etc) is going to give people the wrong impression and will hurt capoeira in the end.

What do you think?


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I think it should be, but at the same time not. I think that if it was too much out there it’ll get watered down, industrialized/ubranized, and just get lost in translation. But if it was out there enough and with the right information maybe one day, rodas will be like the ones in Brazil, where there is always one, outside, or hell, just meet someone somewhere and just be like “You want to play?”


Comment by Phil

its just like any art form thats shown to a populus that doesnt know that much, therefore it will always be subject to poor representation in order to make it look cool for the masses to get into. but i think in order for capoeira to get a propper representation in popular culture, you gotta have a lil bit of the history involved (not too much) and you gotta show someone logicaly/thoroughly whopping ass with it, and not on some fantasy psuedo breakdancer bullshit, which many people think that capoeira is.

but thats just me.

Comment by Relampago

I believe that it will be watered-down and chewed up. Then it’ll be processed and the fair-weather fans will disappear with it.

But as long as there are those (I don’t include myself in this. Give me a few decades to learn) who know what it’s about it will live on in one way or another.

It survived Bimba (don’t take that negatively, please. I have great respect for the mestre) when he brought it out from undergound and taught the wealthy. Just keep at it, I think, that’s the biggest contribution we can make.

Comment by Mike

I think that as long as capoeiristas are doin what we should be doing, like learning all the traditions and doing stuff the way it should be done, and we teach newcomers what we know, capoeira doesnt stand the threat of getting “watered down”, but like everything capoeira also has to evolve, we cannot try to completely stop its progress, if it was like that capoeira wouldn’t be what it is today…. ex. angola to regional etc.
that’s just what I think….

Comment by Rapadura

Thanks for commenting, these are some great points.

I especially like what was mentioned about Bimba. It’s true, that if the “traditional” style of capoeira angola is still around even though Bimba broke off and created his own new style, I think the forms of capoeira we have now can survive any new complications.

And think about it this way: capoeira isn’t the same as it was when it was created. Over time capoeira has evolved and new elements have been introduced while old elements have gone away.

I think it would be great for capoeira to be presented in its true form (i.e. roda, music, etc) in the media, but I don’t think every time capoeira is in a movie it needs to have all of the tradition with it. If capoeira could get another shot at the mainstream, like an updated Only the Strong or something (well, not with that cliche and tired plot, but a movie that centers on capoeira) that would be very beneficial to the art.

Comment by faisca

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