Source: various sources and interviews.
Translated into English by Shayna McHugh
At that time, capoeira was something for porters, dock workers, and street-smart guys. I was a little bit of everything. The police persecuted capoeiristas like dogs. Just imagine: one of the punishments for capoeiristas who were caught was to tie each of his hands to the tail of a horse, and then the two horses were let loose and made to run in different directions until the police station. They even used to joke that it was better to fight close to the station, because there were many deaths. The guy couldn’t survive being dragged on the ground and would die before arriving at the destination: the police station.
I would say that this new style of Capoeira is an evolution of the movements, because Capoeira is just one. Of course Angola has its fundamentals and Regional too, but Capoeira Contemporânea encompasses all this with more modern movements; it’s an evolution that is occurring.
The Capoeira of 20 years ago was violent, brutal, but there was no evil intent. In other words, capoeiristas hit each other, took each other down, got beaten up, but all this happened inside the roda; when they left the roda, they embraced each other, promising to train for the next encounter. It was a fight of equals, without damaging the opponent’s physical integrity.
Today Capoeira has changed a lot; it’s focusing on the sporting and athletic side, but in a negative way, because the capoeirista of today thinks about going into the roda to apply his evil intent, often originating from badly-resolved personal situations, thus departing from the fundamentals of Capoeira… today, the capoeirista practices other martial arts and wants to put them into Capoeira, and with a certain inequality. When he can’t manage to overcome his adversary, he resorts to punches and grappling…
Today there have even been cases where after a Capoeira game, the disadvantaged players threatened their adversaries with firearms. Capoeira in itself actually didn’t change much; it had its natural evolution from the era of Pastinha, Bimba, Canjiquinha and so many others. What changed was the human mind.
Mestre Luiz Renato
I see the capoeirista of the new generations as someone who manages to reconcile the ancient traditions of capoeira with the scenario of the twenty-first century, with its new technologies and everything. And there is no incompatibility whatever between these aspects. Globalization presented a series of challenges to capoeiristas, but also many opportunities. We must be prepared to deal with all this.