Capoeira classes

Capoeira classes

CAPOEIRA classes in Vancouver, and Maple Ridge. Start learning this Brazilian martial art by taking a class. Classes are available for kids and adults.

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Were always interested in Capoeira?

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Take a class, either in Vancouver or Maple Ridge.



Capoeira (pronounced ka-poo-eyh-rah) is an Afro-Brazilian martial art and self-defense discipline that brings together fighting techniques, acrobatics, dance, percussion, and songs, in a rhythmic dialogue of body, mind, and spirit.

Abada CapoeiraCapoeira helps people to approach conflict, fear, and uncertainty with greater confidence, determination, and humor. Ultimately, Capoeira is a celebration of the joys of movement, music, physical expression, and strategy. Today’s students, like the earliest practitioners of Capoeira, learn to translate struggles into celebrations, to believe in their abilities, and to understand the richness of sharing with others.

Capoeira has gained respect as a martial art form throughout the world. Increasingly visible in popular culture and mainstream media, Capoeira has attracted millions of individuals from every part of the globe.

Capoeira game

Playing Capoeira is both a game and a method of practicing the application of Capoeira movements in dangerous situations. It can be played anywhere, but it’s usually done in a roda.

The “roda” (pronounced “ho-dah”) refers to the circle formed by Capoeira players form during practice, and inside of which the game is played. Those forming the roda are as important to the game as the two players inside— setting up the energy and rhythm of the game by clapping hands, singing choruses of Capoeira songs, and playing instruments. The two players inside receive energy and support from the roda. As a metaphor for the circle of life, the Capoeira roda illustrates that all individuals are important in the creation of the whole, and that cooperation is essential to the process.


Sources: ABADA Capoeira DC, Wikipedia

Graduado Rasta Raspado

Graduado Rasta

Photo: Adam McElroy

Julio Monteiro (in the Capoeira world known as ‘Rasta’) was born in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil, the very place Capoeira was born many centuries ago. At the age of 9 he started training Capoeira with his cousin in the backyard of his house. At that early age he had the privilege of meeting many famous masters of Capoeira on the streets of Bahia, including Mestre Boa Gente. Rasta’s farther, also a Capoeirista and a musician, passed away when Julio was 7 years old. His farther was and remains his inspiration to move forward and Rasta continues his farther’s passion for Capoeira and learning. Rasta’s sister, Laura Monterio, is a professional dancer, who participated in numerous parades in Brasil and all over the world. She moved to Canada in the late 1990’s to teach dance classes. In 1994, Rasta’s passion for Capoeira led him to join ABADA capoeira group. ABADA Capoeira is now the largest Capoeira organization in the world, and is led by legendary Mestre Camisa.

In 1999 Rasta came to Canada, after being invited by his sister to teach Capoeira workshops, and stayed to start his work in Vancouver, BC. He had met with a lot of challenges but continues to learn, train and teach Capoeira movement classes, Music, Maculele, and everything that is related to Capoeira. In short – Capoeira is his life. Rasta is also a skilled percussionist, who from the early age of 9 years old played in many parades in Brasil. He tries to visit Brasil and Capoeira workshops around the world as often as possible to continue his development. He received his latest “verde/roxa”(green/purple) corda during Mestre Camisa’s Batizado at Jogos Mundiais 2009 in Rio de Janeiro.

Capoeira is a fast and versatile martial art which is historically focused on fighting outnumbered or in technological disadvantage.
Abada Capoeira VancouverThe ginga (literally: rocking back and forth; to swing) is the fundamental movement in capoeira, important both for attack and defense purposes. It has two main objectives. One is to keep the capoeirista in a state of constant motion, preventing her from being a still and easy target. The other, using also fakes and feints, is to mislead, fool, trick the opponent, leaving them open for an attack or a counter-attack.

The attacks in the Capoeira should be done when opportunity arises and must be decisive, like a direct kick in the face or a vital body part, or a strong takedown. Most Capoeira attacks are made with the legs, like direct or swirling kicks, rasteiras (leg sweeps), tesouras or knee strikes. The head strike is a very important counter-attack move. Elbow strikes, punches and other forms of takedowns complete the main list.

The defense is based on the principle of non-resistance, meaning avoid an attack using evasive moves instead of blocking it. Avoids are called esquivas, which depend on the direction of the attack and intention of the defender, and can be done standing or with a hand leaning on the floor. A block should only be made when the esquiva is not possible. This fighting strategy allows quick and unpredictable counter attacks, the ability to focus on more than one adversary and to face empty-handed an armed adversary.

A series of rolls and acrobatics (like the Cartwheels called aú) allows the capoeirista to quickly overcome a takedown or a loss of balance, and to position themselves around the aggressor in order to lay up for an attack. It is this combination of attacks and defense which gives Capoeira its perceived ‘fluidity’ and choreography-like style.


Source: Wikipedia

The Associação Brasileira de Apoio e Desenvolvimento da Arte-Capoeira (ABADÁ-Capoeira), in English translated as “The Brazilian Association for the Support and Development of the Art of Capoeira,” is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to spread and support Brazilian culture through the practice of capoeira.

Founded in 1988 by Mestre Camisa, José Tadeu Carneiro Cardoso, ABADÁ is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is one of the largest capoeira organizations in the world with over 40,000 members representing schools throughout every state of Brazil as well as 30 different countries. ABADÁ is distinguished from other capoeira organizations by its worldwide growth as well as its style, standards, and philosophy.

The ABADÁ style

Unique, progressive in design, and coveted.

Abada Capoeira Vancouver

Photo: Issur Olairez

ABADÁ-Capoeira prides itself on the originality and constant refinement of its style of capoeira, renown for efficiency, aesthetics, and cultural and historical relevance. The original style of ABADÁ-Capoeira seeks to incorporate both Capoeira Regional and Capoeira Angola, and embraces the modernizing innovations of the legendary Mestre Bimba without losing sight of the history and philosophy of the ancient art.

ABADÁ-Capoeira believes that the study of capoeira involves dedication to all the various aspects of the art, including the relentless pursuit of technical mastery of the physical elements of capoeira, constant evolution of the technique to improve efficiency and prevent injury, understanding of and reverence for capoeira’s rich history, individual competency and knowledge of the music and instruments of capoeira, preservation and recovery of the instruments, rhythms, and games of capoeira, and participation in the larger capoeira community in Brazil and throughout the world.

Today the ABADÁ style is coveted by other capoeira organizations throughout the world, and serves as a model for other less developed capoeira schools and as an example of the potential of the art.

Sources: ABADA Capoeira San Francisco, Wikipedia

Music is in integral part of Capoeira. It sets the rythm, the style of play, and the energy of a game. Without music there can be no jogo (game) and no roda (circle in which the game of capoeira is played). The continuous call-and-responce between the chorus and the soloist creates a circle of musical energy, which complements the game and keeps everyone involved.

Musical instruments


The berimbau is a single-string percussion instrument from Brazil. The berimbau’s origins are not entirely clear, but there is not much doubt on its African origin, as no Indigenous Brazilian or European people use musical bows, and very similar instruments are played in the southern parts of Africa. The berimbau was eventually incorporated into the practice Capoeira, where it commands how the capoeiristas move in the roda.

The berimbau consists of a wooden bow (verga: traditionally made from biriba wood, which grows in Brazil), about 4 to 5 feet long (1.2 to 1.5 m), with a steel string (arame: often pulled from the inside of an automobile tire) tightly strung and secured from one end of the verga to the other. A gourd (cabaça), dried, opened and hollowed-out, attached to the lower portion of the verga by a loop of tough string, acts as a resonator.

To play the berimbau, one holds it in one hand, wrapping the two middle fingers around the verga, and placing the little finger under the cabaça’s string loop, and balancing the weight there. A small stone or coin (dobrão) is held between the index finger and thumb of the same hand that holds the berimbau. The cabaça is rested against the abdomen. In the other hand, one holds a stick (baqueta: usually wooden) and a shaker (caxixi). One strikes the arame with the baqueta to produce the sound. The caxixi accompanies the baqueta. The dobrão is moved back and forth from the arame to change the tone of the berimbau. The sound can also be altered by moving the cabaça back and forth from the abdomen, producing a wah-like sound.

Berimbaus are split into three categories:

Gunga: lowest tone
Médio: medium tone
Viola: highest tone

These categories relate to sound, not to size, although the size of cabaça for Gunga is the largest, while it is smallest for Viola. The berimbau’s quality does not depend on the length of the verga or the size of the cabaça, rather on the diameter and hardness of the verga’s wood and the quality of the cabaça.


The atabaque is a tall, wooden, Afro-Brazilian hand drum. The shell is made traditionally of Jacaranda wood from Brazil. The head is traditionally made from calfskin. A system of ropes are intertwined around the body, connecting a metal ring near the base to the head. Wooden wedges are jammed between this ring and the the body and one uses a hammer to tighten or loosen the ropes, raising or lowering the pitch of the drum.


The pandeiro is a type of hand frame drum, very similar to a tambourine. It is held in one hand, and struck on the head by the other hand to produce the sound. Typical pandeiro patterns are played by alternating the thumb, fingertips, heel, and palm of the hand.


An agogô (meaning gong or bell in Yoruba) is a single or multiple bell now used throughout the world but with origins in traditional Yoruba music and also in Samba. The agogô may be the oldest samba instrument and was based on West African Yoruba single or double bells. The agogô has the highest pitch of any of the bateri­a instruments in Capoeira.

In ABADA Capoeira, bateria consits of three Berimbaus (Viola, Medio and Gunga), one atabaque, two pandeiros and one agogo.

There is a predetermined sequence in which Capoeira music starts. It starts with the main instrument – Berimbau, namely Gunga, then Medio, Viola, Atabaque enters, then pandeiros, then agogo, and finally clapping commences.

Capoeira was developed in Brazil by enslaved Africans. The exact history of the art is unclear, but most people believe that it emerged over three hundred years of slavery in Brazil. Since the 1500s, many Africans were taken from different areas of West Africa and brought to Brazil to be kept as slaves by the Portuguese. They were taken from their land, but their culture and desire for freedom could not be taken away. Out of their passion for freedom,  Afro-Brazilians began developing techniques for defending themselves and for escaping bondage.

In Brazil, generations of enslaved African people shared the customs, dances, rituals, and fighting techniques that would combine to become Capoeira. Slaves used Capoeira for fighting,  escaping and resisting capture, but concealed its combative purpose through music, song, and dance. Although their practice appeared to be a harmless dance, the dancers, or “Capoeiristas”, were rehearsing deadly fighting techniques. That needed to be disguised, and trickery is part of what separates Capoeira from other martial arts. A lot of the kicks and some movements done in Capoeira can be seen in other arts, but the difference is the delivery. There are many fakes and deceiving movements in Capoeira. Although movements are done with grace and style, they can be also very dangerous.

Capoeira was born as an expression of resistance and resilience, and brought spiritual and emotional empowerment to its practitioners. Over time, the culture of enslaved Africans and also that of Brazilian indigenous peoples and Brazilians of Portuguese and European ascent all contributed to the art of Capoeira. The contemporary martial art  reflects  the cultural and social integration of diverse peoples.

After the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888, Capoeira became illegal and its practitioners were socially ostracized for over forty years. The legendary Capoeira “Mestre”, or Master, Mestre Bimba rescued the martial art form and established its legitimacy, opening Capoeira’s first official school in Bahia, Brazil, in 1932.

Styles of Capoeira

At first, there was only one “style” of Capoeira: the original style used as a tool and expression of the African slaves far from their homeland. Within this original Capoeira, “capoeiristas” sought beauty and freedom, movement and dance, and also a weapon to protect themselves from the perils of a life in slavery.

When the slaves  achieved freedom, Capoeira came with them out of slavery and into society at large. Once removed from its cultural origins, Capoeira, for a while, degenerated from a celebration of freedom and liberty into a vicious and bloody form of street fight. The capoeirista was no longer revered as a freedom fighter and hero, but rather feared as a ruffian, thug and criminal. It was not long before the authorities declared Capoeira illegal. Even  knowing the martial art became a punishable offense. Due to official oppression, its practice was either forgotten or fell into disuse in most Brazilian cities. Capoeira nearly became a lost art.

It was only in its native Bahia that Capoeira stayed alive, and it was from here that it would see its rebirth. In the early part of the twentieth century, Capoeira was almost single-handedly rescued by one man: Mestre Bimba. After a group of foreign diplomats was awed by a  Capoeira demonstration by Bimba and his students, the Brazilian government finally decided to recognize Capoeira as a unique native-born cultural art form, deserving of protection. Opening the first legal Capoeira academy in 1932, Mestre Bimba also sought to make Capoeira “legitimate”. He developed a new style of Capoeira known as “Regional”. This style brought structure and sound teaching methods to the art, but unfortunately downplayed the use of the music and the more playful movements of Capoeira.

Practitioners of the older style of Capoeira, commonly referred to as “Angola” style, felt an essential aspect of the art was being lost as the Regional style spread and flourished under Bimba and his students. To them, Capoeira was losing its roots and connections to the past by over-emphasizing the sport and exercise aspects of the practice. In contrast, they highlighted Capoeira as an art form, where music and playful movements were a key to understanding the true nature and spirit of Capoeira – an expression of the people struggling for freedom and self-knowledge. The most important name of Capoeira Angola was Mestre Pastinha.

Capoeira has developed over the years as a means of empowerment and a forum for social and cultural exchange. It is now an internationally respected art form of grace and strength, that combines ritual, self-defense, acrobatics, and music in a rhythmic dialogue of the body, mind, and spirit.

Source: ABADA Capoeira DC

If you’d like extra information or you’d simply like to say hi. Please feel free to contact us.
We want to hear from you!


Workshop Series with Mestranda Marcia Cigarra

It is a pleasure to announce an upcoming Capoeira workshop series with Mestranda Marcia Cigarra, a student of Mestre Camisa, and a living legend in the world of Capoeira. Mestranda agreed to come and visit us in Vancouver to teach workshops, and share her experiences this January, specifically: Friday Jan 20th, Saturday Jan 21st, and Sunday Jan 22nd.

For those who are unfamiliar with Mestranda, and her work, please check out this link: and see this video it’s a trailer for a documentary about her.

Workshops will be open to all ABADA Capoeira students. Details are being finalized.

COST: $100 CAN for the whole event

Thinking of taking a class? you are on the right track. Capoeira IS for everyone, so come and try it out. Beginners are ALWAYS welcome.

Abada Capoeira Vancouver has scheduled classes running every day. Adults classes run all week long, and kid’s classes are scheduled during the weekend. Please wear comfortable workout clothes for you first class. Uniform is available for purchase for those who want to continue training on a regular basis. We will accommodate any level, so do not worry about selecting a class. Come and try it.


We currently have a few locations, one in Vancouver (offering classes for adults Tuesday),  and one in Maple Ridge (offering classes for kids and adults on Saturday) 






COAL HARBOUR COMMUNITY CENTER  Address: 480 Broughton St, Vancouver, BC

TUESDAYS: adults class.

7:15 pm – 8:15pm

Roundhouse community centre (#181 Roundhouse mews,vancouver)





FREE TRIAL SEP 11,2018. 4:15pm ( kids 8 years  to 11 years old)

5:00pm to 5:30pm (9 years old to 13 years old)




CARLSON GRACIE BRAZILIAN ACADEMY,  Address: 22255 Dewdney Trunk Road, Maple  Ridge.



8pm to 9pm. (13 YEARS OLD AND UP)


CARLSON GRACIE BRAZILIAN ACADEMY,  Address: 22255 Dewdney Trunk Road, Maple Ridge

Currently running classes:



10:00 am- 10:45 am (kids 5 – 6 years old.( p.s the  parents can participate if they want)

10:45am – 11:45am (kids  7-10 years)

11:45pm – 12:45pm (adults & teens)


View of the academy


Private classes are available

please use contact us form and indicate ‘private classes’

Classes for Seniors are available

please use contact us form and indicate ‘Seniors classes’

Classes for people with special needs are available

please use contact us form and indicate ‘Special needs’