Filed under: Books
It’s summer, which means it’s time to be lazy and relax. If you don’t feel like spending all of your free time practicing capoeira, why not spend some time reading about capoeira? Here are some books to get you started:
A Street-Smart Song: Capoeira Philosophy and Inner Life, by Nestor Capoeira.
A Street-Smart Song delves into the boundless philosophical depths of capoeira, the fascinating synthesis of Brazilian dance and self-defense. Drawing from a wide range of sources — the streets of Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, the teachings of the old masters Pastinha, Bimba, and Leopoldina, and the brutal economic realities inflicted on the poorest of Brazil — Nestor Capoeira paints an indelible portrait of this living art, its spiritual heritage, and its vital place in a world hypnotized by media and crushed by poverty. The traditional poems and songs of capoeira are here, along with the author’s lively discussions of everything from the space age and television’s impact on third world culture to Candomble and capoeira’s life-changing lessons. Rounding out this absorbing cultural survey are historical photos, sketches of weapons and instruments, and fully illustrated fighting movements, taught step by step.
The Little Capoeira Book, Revised Edition, by Nestor Capoeira.
Capoeira is a synthesis of dance and personal defense from Brazil. The Little Capoeira Book presents some of the popular theories of how and why capoeira began and profiles the most famous capoeiristas and their contributions to the art. The book contains diagrams showing various positions and movements and discusses attacking and defending strategies and the critical aspects of feinting. Over 100 photographs and illustrations are included.
Capoeira: Roots of the Dance-Fight-Game, by Nestor Capoeira.
Capoeira: Roots of the Dance-Fight-Game covers a broad range of topics — philosophy, history, training — related to the increasingly popular martial arts style. The author discusses capoeira’s evolution from Brazilian street play into a way of life. The philosophy of capoeira, and the practical and spiritual benefits of that philosophy, are also discussed. Instructions and exercises in intermediate and advanced skills take up where the author’s previous book left off. The book includes 100 black-and-white photos and illustrations.
Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form: History, Philosophy, and Practice, by Bira Almeida.
Capoeira 100: An Illustrated Guide to the Essential Movements and Techniques, by Gerard Taylor.
Capoeira 100 is an illustrated guide to 100 essential techniques used in the art of capoeira. Each movement is accompanied by a series of color photographs that show how it is done, as well as helpful pointers and tips on how to apply the technique in the game of capoeira. The book is divided into sections for beginner, intermediate and advanced movements. Ground-work, kicks, escapes, “floreios,” flying kicks, and acrobatic movements are all covered.
Capoeira 100 is unique among English-language capoeira books in that it is illustrated by full-color photographs, and it focuses 100% on technique. Sequences of movements, drills, games, and conditioning exercises give the reader a chance to practice capoeira workouts at least a hundred times without ever repeating the same routine twice.
The popularity of capoeira continues to rise as more people discover how useful — and fun — it can be for increasing agility and flexibility, as well as strength and endurance. Capoeira Conditioning is an illustrated guide to whole-body training based on this increasingly popular Brazilian martial art. Designed for all ages and all levels of experience, the book is a step-by-step training manual with photographs that guide users through every movement and sequence. Accompanying text gives special pointers and describes the fitness benefits of each individual technique. Capoeira Conditioning offers no-frills advice about nutrition, regularity of training, capoeira in relation to other sports, and capoeira conditioning for children, along with a simple Q&A section.
The books by Nestor Capoeira are a great insight into the game by one of the greatest mestres of our time. The Little Capoeira Book also has some nice examples of Mestre Bimba’s Sequences (attack/defense/acrobatic training). I couldn’t find a description of Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form, but it’s a good addition to any capoeira book collection. Though it might be a little redundant if you get Nestor Capoeira’s books first. The two books by Gerard Taylor are good for beginners and advanced students alike. They’re good for beginners who can learn from the great photographs and step-by-step instructions of movements, and also good for advanced students who may want to brush up on technique or conditioning.
Have fun on your capoeira reading adventure!