The science of the art of capoeira

Capoeira Moves

Database of capoeira moves, updated reguarly with short videos of single moves, some sequences and perhaps tutorials. If there is a capoeira move you would like me to cover, please email me with requests.

Thanks, Cientista

Au Sem Mao

Au Sem Mao [trans. Cartwheel without hands] Known in gymnastics as a free cartwheel and Extreme Martial Arts (XMA) as an aerial. Probably the first aerial acrobatic any capoeirista should learn and certainly the one with least risk involved. In this clip they are making it harder for themselves by starting with the driving leg already off the ground, this works to combo it straight from kicks. Carla ends hers facing backwards to lead straight into a 'tuck-back somersault' or mortal with flawless technique.

Volta ao mundo sem mao

Volta au mundo sem mao [trans. Around the world without hands] This is the aerial, hands-free version of volta ao mundo - called tinsika in gymnastics. It is basically a cartwheel where you twist your body 90 degress to come out facing front, arching your back as you do so - in this clip it is all done in the air. In the second example Carla from Cordao de Ouro Ceara performs in sequence: meia-lua de frente, volta ao mundo sem mao, straight into a cartwheel then mortal. nossa!

Armada Dupla

Armada Dupla [trans. Double armed attack] Also known as Double-leg by some in the XMA community, Armada Dupla high end aerial acrobatic and a signature move of capoeira. This one is performed by Kuniteke of Grupo Engenho da Bahia, Salvador.


Gato [trans. Cat] Also known as Palhaco, Pulo do gato [jump of the cat] and of course back-flip, flick, flic-flacs etc. Here Queque of Grupo Engenho da Bahia, Salvador performs a series of excellent flicks, beginning with an au orgulho (or round-off) and ending with a mortal (somersault).


Butterfly Twist [trans. Little twist] This sweet aerial acrobatic originates from Kung-Fu where it is called a butterfly twist and those guys do a lot of variations, into splits, 540 falling onto your front and even doubles! Capoeira variates mostly the entrance, here a young member of Grupo Engenho da Bahia, Salvador peforms a fast 360 twist. It can also be done straight from meia-lua de compasso which would keep it more 'in the game'.


Relogio [trans. Clock] So called becasue you spin like the hands of a clock. A beautiful ground acrobatic and a firm favourite of capoeira angola (though this clips is not from that style). This chap from Cordao de Ouro in Ceara almost gets round twice. Bo!

Piao de Mao

Piao de Mao [trans. Handspin] This guy from Cordao de Ouro Ceara performs a complex little sequence invloving a twisting back-flip before busting out a sweet handspin - and gets two rotations. Theres a lot of controversy surrounding the possibility that b-boys inherited this move from capoeira - they call is a '99'. The facts are that Mestre Jelon and others were touring the states with a capoeira show in the late 70s and this coincided with the point at which Puerto Rican crews started on the power moves that popularly characterise breaking today. It may seem like a spurious connection but I and many others feel theres a strong likelihood that the handspin originates from capoeira.

Parafuso into Mortal Americano

Parafuso into Mortal Americano Parafuso [trans. Twist (kick)] Mortal Americano [trans. half twisting tuck back somersault] Nice nice nice. Never seen this combo before. The crazy man lands his parafuso and jumps high, twisting into a half twist somersault. It's right in the game - performed between his partners kicks. I got to get this one myself! Parafuso is known as a '540' in XMA and a 'whirlwind kick' in kung-fu. Meanwhile Bahian capoeiristas call Mortal Americano a 'Bacardi' and gymnasts know it as an 'Arabian'.

Folha Seca Parafuso - New Variation

Folha Seca Parafuso leave leg behind 

move I havent's seen this variation of Folha Seca Parafuso (trans: spinning dry leaf) before - dont let the kicking leg land, you kind of hold it out instead. As if the move wasn't hard enough already! Anyone gets this send me a clip and I might put it up in a users section. I can't find where I recorded this guy's name but as you can see he is very talented young guy. 0:12 secs 2,197 KB

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