Capoeira is an Afro‐Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music, and dance. It is strongly believed to have been created in Brazil by African slaves by mixing the many fighting styles from many of their tribes sometime after the sixteenth century. It was developed in the region of Quilombo dos Palmares, located in the Brazilian state of Alagoas, which was the state of Pernambuco before dismemberment, and has had great influence on Afro‐Brazilian generations, with strong presence in the states of Bahia, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Its origins and purpose are a matter of debate, with theories ranging from views of Capoeira as a uniquely Brazilian folk dance with improvised fighting movements to claims that it is a battle‐ready fighting form directly descended from ancient African techniques. As Brazilian culture is an agglomeration of many different African cultures and some European cultures, it is almost certain that Capoeira has changed or morphed as per the cultural influences over many centuries.
Back in the early days, when Capoeria was mainly practiced by slaves, the government banned Capoeira and arrested anyone caught practicing Capoeria. In the early 1930’s, in Salvador, Bahia, a great fighter called Manuel dos Reis Machado, better known as Mestre Bimba, coalesced certain elements of Capoeira. He added kicks and moves from eastern martial arts and developed a series of training sequences, transforming Capoeira into a more overt fight, less of a dance, and removing certain traditional aspects of the art, which were not “effective” in a fight. He called this style the Regional Capoeira of Bahia. Mestre Bimba challenged all comers to fight him and test his method. Such was his fame and reputation that both he and Capoeira were recognized by the government and Capoeira was legalized. Capoeira that descends from Mestre Bimba is now known as Capoeira Regional.
Traditional Capoeira with its old customs and malandragem (cunning) is known as Capoeira Angola. One of the great names within Capoeira de Angola is Mestre Pastinha who was of the same epoch as Mestre Bimba.
When Rafael was 15 years old he moved from his home town, Montes Claros to Belo Horizonte where the main GBC academy was located, founded and led by Mestre Pintor.
The countless hours of hard work and training paid off, and in 2004 Rafael was sent to Malaysia to lead the first official Capoeira school with a Brazilian teacher. He came to Malaysia without speaking any local languages or knowing anyone. He was met by a small group of eager students holding up his picture at the arrival gate.
Rafael has successfully raised the level of Capoeira in Malaysia to new heights and inspired hundreds of aspiring students throughout the country. His amazing skills have been used in commercials for regional and international brands such as Panasonic, Nippon and 100 plus. It is no wonder that Rafael’s group is the most well-known group in Malaysia.
In 2013, Rafael made a decision to join Contra Mestre Tyson and together they formed the group Movimento Simples de Capoeira. Our affiliate groups can be found in Sarawak, Sabah, Shanghai and Thailand.