91. Mouse Deer & the Tiger (GN)

92. Saga of Shaka (GN)

93. Post Conquest Zulu Kings (GN)

94. Saga of Dinuzulu (GN)

95. Saga of Solomon (GN)

96. The ABC and B-A-Ba of Capoeira Angola – On three recent trips to southern Africa, I discovered that Capoeira has made a triumphant return to the land of its Bantu roots (particularly in Mozambique, South Africa and Angola) facilitated largely by Brazilians or by those who learned the art from Brazilians. Unfortunately, however, the art is being learned in a superficial fashion largely ignoring instruction in the basic building-blocks that constitute Capoeira and dwelling mainly on flashy acrobatics and the fast and aggressive, but mindless, movements that characterize Capoeira Regional.

There are many performers that execute brilliant performances but are without knowledge of what they are doing or why they are doing it and can be compared to a child who can speak a language, but can not read or write it. That is, these performers know how to “speak” (produce) Capoeira but don’t know the alphabet (basic movements and underlying principles) nor how to form syllables (prescribed combinations of defense + offence). In short, they are somewhat like some African Muslims who can recite passages from the Koran from memory but do not know the meaning of the words they utter.

Prior to 1969, Capoeira was closely identified with Afro-Brazilians only; but nowadays it is practiced all over the world by many different ethnicities. Naturally (as in breakdancing) many different cultural elements are being added that never existed before. An example of this is the awarding of belts or cords to indicate rank and the incorporation of certain defenses, kicks, and other movements which were not present in the older form. Indeed, these above cited early modifications in Brazil are among the reasons why Capoeira Regional now prides itself as being distinct from Capoeira Angola.

While these and other modifications have their raison d’etre and are considered “improvements” by many, in reality they have served to alienate the body of Capoeira from its soul. As mestre Pastinha once told me [when I asked him why one doesn’t use karate moves in Capoeira]: “Capoeira is perfect in itself and has no need for additions or modifications.” In short, while Capoeira has now evolved into a spectacular acrobatic form of showmanship practiced in many countries of the world, it has also lost a great deal of its original African heritage and magic.

Indeed, certain recent modifications are divorcing Capoeira even more from its Bantu roots and, as such, are making it look more like an Asian martial art form or a circus act. Capoeira, like everything else, has greatly changed through the years; but one can only add a certain quantity of milk into coffee before it loses its distinct coffee taste.

The purpose of this book is to present, in a succinct manner, the essence of what many of today’s practitioners of Capoeira either ignore or never knew. To truly know the Afro-Brazilian Capoeira that made a name for itself, one has to have a basic understanding of its history and roots, its defenses and attacks, its rhythms, and its philosophy of selfdefense. In Part 1 I will discuss the geo-historical setting, in Part 2 I will present the ABC’s of Capoeira (i.e. physical movements, rhythms, and songs), in Part 3 the Bay-AH- Bah (i.e. the combinatory movements linking defense with offense), and in Part 4 a series of appendices dealing with other relevant materials including an introduction to Capoeira in Mozambique.

97. Zopilote and his Feathered Friends (GN)

98. The Adventures of Mouse Deer  with Elephant and Monkey (GN)

99. The ABC & Bay-Ah-Bah of Capoeira

100. Elementos Basicos de Capoeira de Angola