Building Flexibility, Strength and Balance in Capoeira

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Building your strength, flexibility and balance can be achieved in many ways through the participation of Capoeira. Cartwheels, kicks, sweeping motions, handstands and back-flips are just a few of the moves which can help you build these up.

First, let us define what Capoeira is. Capoeira is a dance-sport which originated in Africa, generally believed to be Angola, and then transported along with the slaves transported to Brazil by Portuguese slave traders in the 16th century. One arrival to Brazil, it continued to be practiced by the slaves who adapted it to incorporate alot of dance moves to make it appear harmless to their Portuguese masters who quickly made it illegal.

Capoeira incorporates alot of martial arts, dance and acrobatic elements into one distinctive style which is ideal for building up strength, flexibility and balance. Capoeira allows you to dominate, defeat and undermine your opponent without physically landing any blows. Here are the ways in can help you:

<u>Flexibility</u>: Capoeira is played to music; in fact, in some styles, Capoeira cannot be performed without music. Because of this, the players strive to interpret the music, to express the music through the use of kicks, attacks and other styles of movement. It allows the player to use the music, and in particular, the beat and rhythm of the music, to strive for fluid, graceful movements. This in turn, will allow the player’s level of flexibility to advance.

<u>Strength</u>: To become proficient in Capoeira, the player must build up their strength. Since only the feet and hands are allowed to come into contact with the ground, the player must quickly build up their strength levels. Handstands and cartwheel motions, which are mostly used in all forms of Capoeira, needs the use of hands. If you do not have strength in your hands, it is likely that you will fall and not show the graceful fluidity that is required and judged in Capoeira.

<u>Balance</u>: Balance, as in any form of sport, martial arts, dance or acrobatics, is an essential element in a player’s proficiency. Since the attacks, takedowns, kicks and other styles of movement are performed with only the player’s hands on the ground, balance is vital here. Practicing Capoeira will quickly help any participant gain a stronger sense of balance.

There are various ways to increase your sense of balance, your strength and flexibility in Capoeira; the beat and rhythm of the music and the training one must endure in Capoeira will quickly, and effectively, help raise all three senses. 

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