By Mercedes Leguizamon

From its origins in Brazil, Capoeira has made its way to Gainesville. Capoeira is a martial art form that involves dance, music and fighting. There are two “players” involved in the “game,” and they try to control the space by confusing their opponent with deceptive moves.

The speed and character of the Capoeira are generally determined by the many different rhythms of the one-string musical bow, which is considered to be the primary symbol of Capoeira. But there are other instruments to help speed up or slow down the pace of the fighters.

Capoeira has many health benefits for its participants, including improved speed and balance. The constant need for repetitive movements helps improve stamina, and the movements required by capoeira help improve coordination. Other physical benefits include increased strength and flexibility similar to that you get from yoga, but there are also mental benefits like stress reduction.

Even though it was frowned upon in 19th century Brazil due to its association with slaves, things are different now for Capoeira. If you are looking to give this martial art a try, you can take classes locally at several different schools, including Capoeira Academy of Gainesville and Allied Capoeira League Gainesville.