A Guide to Capoeira Kicking

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Of all the physical interaction between opponents, kicking is the most important instrument in the martial arts-dance sport of Capoeira. There are several different styles of kicks that are used to defeat one’s opponent. To become a skilled plasyer requires long-term training, and full participation demands learning how to play instruments, as well as acquiring movement skills.

The Queda de Rins (translation: ‘falling on the kidneys’): This is a basic kick in Capoeira. The player places a hand on the floor in order to allow the elbow to support one’s weight. The other hand balances the body (it is common for the elbow to cover the face in order to protect it) whilst the legs swing upwards.

The Meia Lua de Frente (translation: ‘half moon from front’): This is a powerful kick in Capoeira which can be used with or without the Ginga position. Starting from the Ginga position (placing the right leg in front of the body), one does an Entrada with the left leg. Swing the right leg in a half moon circular motion until one cannot swing anymore. Then bring the leg back into the starting position, whilst one’s hand protects the face.

The Negativa: This is another powerful kick which allows the player to execute any kick afterwards. To do this one must bend the right leg and lean on one’s toes, whilst one’s bottom rests on the heels. The left leg should be at a 130 degree angle and the left food leaning on its blade. One’s body should be leaning forward and the face should be protected by the right elbow. The player then leans on the left arm, specifically the palm (not the fingers) and left palm closes on the left knee. To switch sides, the player needs to, from this position, leap with the right leg and, leaning on the palm whilst one’s body is in the air, switch the position of the legs and then switch hands.

There are many other kicks to Capoeira, depending on the style, the region and the level of advancement the player is. Players compete to outperform each other, generally with no clear winner, using acrobatic movements to kick, trip, or head-butt an opponent. Capoeira teaches many things, especially a good sense of equilibrium, since one must learn to balance on one leg for the many kicks and one is continually going upside down onto the hands.


Ancona, George (2007) Capoeira: Game! Dance! Martial Art!, Lee and Low Books Inc., New York.

Poncianinho, Mestre (2007) Capoeira: The Essential Guide to Mastering the Art, New Holland Publishers Ltd, London.


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