This is not meant to be a “Learn how to do capoeira from the internet!” type page. If you want to learn capoeira, I truly encourage you to find a group near you, or at least someone who knows capoeira who you can train and learn with.
This page is mainly a way to show you some of capoeira’s basic movements, so if you’re a beginner you can remember how a certain move is done, and so you can better associate names with moves.
The ginga is capoeira’s basic “stance”. The ginga is a form of personal expression and style, and one should try to always be in ginga while playing capoeira (unless doing moves of course). Never stand around! The legs begin in a lunging position, one leg infront of the other. The back leg is brought even with the front leg, and then the other leg steps backward.
“Au” is a cartwheel. Capoeira cartwheels differ from the gymnastics style in that you lean to the side and go over. You do not go to the front. Also the legs DO NOT have to be straight, they can bend or do anything you want. The arms can also be bent.
Esquiva is a generic term for “dodge”. There are variations such as Esquiva Lateral or Esquiva Frontal. This picture demonstrates what is called decida basica (it is a side view), an escape that has you bend down from ginga, the front leg bent, back straight or a little bent, with one hand flat on the ground for balance and the other up to protect your face.
The armada is a spinning back circular kick that strikes with the outside edge of the foot. Momentum and muscle should be used to swing the leg around. The momentum comes from twisting the body around beforehand. Try to look at your partner before you throw the kick. The kicking leg can land back in ginga, or in “base” (next to the other leg).
This is an outside to inside kick, similar to armada but with no spin. The twisting of the body before the kick should generate the momentum needed for your leg to fly up and around in the circular motion. This is a great setup for kick combinations.
Meia Lua De Compasso (may-a-lou-a-je-comp-ahs-oh)
Meia Lua is, after armada, one of the most basic spinning capoeira kicks. It can easily be linked to other circular kicks. It is like armada in the set up before you throw the leg, but instead of merely stepping around, your body will bend down towards the floor. One or two hands can be placed to keep balance, depending on how fast you want to throw the kick (the no handed meia lua, known as meia lua solta, is fun too).
This is a basic straight kick. Step forward from ginga and bring your knee up to your chest, it helps to reach forward a bit with your arms as you do this to set up for the next part of the kick. You then lunge forward with the kicking leg and pull back with your arms, leaning back as you do. This is more of a pushing kick then a snapping kick. You don’t snap it up, you push it forward. When you’re finished, bring the kick back down into ginga.
Pontape Cruzado (pawn-tah-pay)
Also known as Martelo. This is a very basic snap kick. It can be quick and precise, or slow and deliberate. Step forward from ginga and bring your knee up, at the same time start to turn your hips. The momentum comes from turning your hips, and it makes the snapping motion of your kick hit harder. Snap the leg out, and then bring it back down in the opposite motion of how you lifted it up. This kick can strike anywhere on the body, from the head to the knee.
Also known as meia lua de frente. Passape is an outside to inside circular kick done while facing forward. It’s like the opposite of a quiexada. From ginga, you step forward with your back leg into base, the front leg kicks up and around in a circle, and is then brought back to the base position. This is another good setup for kick combinations because you can land the kick in front of you and step into armada or meia lua.