Capoeira de Angola O Jogo De Capoeira Angola
The game of o jogo de Capoeira Angola is a ritualized mock combat that is played with two players within a ring of people, known as a roda (pronounced "hoda"). The game is played to music, which is played by people who form one side of the roda. The musicians form the bateria which is normally composed of other players of the game, rather than specific band members. The objectives of the game are vague, and are largely dependent on the outcomes that are desired by the two players and the person who is in charge of the roda (usually the Mestre). In other words, there is no official winner or loser of the game. Motion Au
Generally, practitioners attempt to cause their "camarada," or comrade, to lose their balance, fall, or to put them in a position where they could not avoid a blow inflicted upon them (sort of a checkmate moment), while at the same time not letting the opponent do the same to them. J. Lowell Lewis, in his book Ring of Liberation, mentions that one particular master, Mestre Moraes says that the only objective of capoeira is "movimento só" or "just movement". For Moraes, the game becomes about maximizing one's own freedom of movement while restricting that of the opponents. Note that generally the game of Capoeira Angola is non-violent and any blows, or fast sweeps that may cause injury to an opponent are usually shown and not completed.
The movements used by the players in attack and defense are characterized by being "closed", as opposed to open movements which offer the opportunity to be attacked. Being closed refers to an inability of the opponent to attack a weak point because it is covered by a part of the body that is not considered attackable in the game. Closed body parts are thighs, the back, the buttocks, and the arms. Areas considered open when left unguarded, and therefore vulnerable to attacks, are ankles, the head, the stomach and chest, and genitalia.
As well, many of the movements are done with one or both hands flat on the floor, and some without one or both feet on the floor. This is perhaps due to the importance which is placed on causing a fall in the game - the additional balance allowed by having additional points of contact with the floor defeat many of the leg-sweeping attacks, known as rasteira. Attacks almost always come in the form of kicks. There is speculation by many, but no clear reason as to why this is. Hands and arms are only used in occasional defensive postures, and are not used to attack except for dramatic purposes such as pantomiming the strike of a razorblade to a throat (in the past, capoeira was infamous as a dangerous sport where razor blades and knives were used, so the symbolic use of these implements are shown for dramatic effect). As well, movements are characterized by circles and flow.
Capoeira Angola contains rituals known as chamadas which translates literally to English as calls. This can be related to the idea of call and response that permeates the music of Capoeira and other African-derived musics such as samba de roda, jazz and blues. Chamadas (or calls) are initiated by one player signalling with a consistent ritual, such as holding one hand up, or holding both hands down near the feet while crouching over with the feet together and looking at the other player. These sequences of movements are done within the capoeira game and have strategic significance such as trying to change the pace of the game, or to indicate the dominance of one player over the other. However, like all things in Capoeira Angola, the sequences can be broken at any time if either person sense the opponent is open or vulnerable and they wish to take advantage of this opportunity. There are many chamadas, and some people rightly claim that every movement in Capoeira Angola is a chamada - that is, a call requiring a response.
Due to the difficulty of explaining Capoeira Angola play in words, it is recommended that interested persons view some of the videos which have been linked to below, or visit an open roda at a nearby school if they have an opportunity. Unlike rodas at schools of Capoeira Regional, the roda is commonly given a regular time and day of the week of its own so that there is sufficient time for everyone to play a game that lasts 5 minutes or more. This requires an all-day event to give everyone a chance to play two or more times.
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