This interview is from GamePro Online Magazine. It was deleted and found on web-archive, so I just post it here.
Editor’s Exclusive: Meet the real Eddy Gordo!
Scary Larry interviews capoeria artist Marcel Pereira—the man who gave Tekken 3’s Eddy Gordo his moves.
Marcelo Pereira was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has been involved with theater since 1970. He started playing (dancing, entertaining, fighting) capoeira as a child on the streets, and was later referred to one of the most famous capoeira masters, Mestre Suassuna.
He opened his own school, Associacao de Capoeira Senzala Grande in 1979, and in 1984, came to the U.S. to perform and teach. He then founded The Capoeira Institute Inc., and Brazil Dance Revue, but his school’s traditional name as of today is Capoeira Mandinga.
Namco motion captured Marcelo’s smooth moves for Eddy Gordo in Tekken 3. As Namco preps Tekken 3 and Eddy Gordo for the PlayStation, GamePro found out more about the art of capoeria from the master himself.
GAMEPRO: What is capoeira?
MARCELO PEREIRA: Capoeira is a blend of martial arts, dance, self defense, gymnastics and music. It is a Brazilian art form that is over 400 years old. For many of us capoeiristas, like myself, capoeira is a way of life.
GAMEPRO: What was it like motion-capturing the game? Did you meet any interesting people?
MARCELO: It was a really fun project to participate in. The Namco crew in Japan treated me like a king. We had fun discussing the project, creating new ideas and eating great food!
GAMEPRO: Did you get hurt during the motion capturing? Did you hurt anyone else?
MARCELO: I did not get hurt during film, but I was injured at the time I did the motion capture. That limited some of the acrobatic movements I decided to do towards the end to avoid aggravating the pain. I did not hurt anyone because all of the motion capture was done by myself alone! For that reason I was able to perform just about 20% of what capoeira has to offer. To execute other great movements, I needed to have another skillful capoeirista to spar with. Any person not familiar with the art could get seriously hurt in an attempt to spar with a capoeirista.
GAMEPRO: Had you ever done anything like this before?
MARCELO: Never. I have done movies, T.V., theater, and all kinds of gigs, but this one was definitely a unique experience.
GAMEPRO: Do you think martial arts are a good way to keep kids off the streets?
MARCELO: I know it is. I happen to teach kids in an after school program in the city of Oakland and the results have been astonishing. That program is one of the most rewarding projects I have done. Not only do I have the chance to educate, discipline, and encourage self confidence in the kids, but I have a chance to be a kid again myself. I wish more schools throughout the country could have similar programs.
GAMEPRO: How has this opportunity with Namco helped your career or made capoeira better known?
MARCELO: In the short term, my career has not been affected. Capoeira, on the other hand, is definitely becoming better known.
GAMEPRO: Are you working on motion capture for any other games?
MARCELO: Not yet, but I would like to be.
GAMEPRO: How did Namco find out about you? Were you surprised to be asked to do this?
MARCELO: I believe Namco heard of me through an International Capoeira Seminar that I organized in San Francisco in 1995. I was surprised and felt honored to be the person representing capoeira in this new dimension. Like many other masters of the art I have always been very concerned about capoeira being misrepresented. For us, tradition is a treasure that expresses the roots of the art. Therefore, it reveals the truth, the spirit and the soul of a capoeirista, bringing love, harmony, peace and understanding to us and our communities.
GAMEPRO: Are you pleased with the way your character, Eddy Gordo, is represented in Tekken 3?
MARCELO: On a scale of 0-10, I give Eddy Gordo a 6. As I mentioned before, tradition is an important fact. Capoeiristas have authentic nicknames such as Ze Faisca (“Joe Spark”), Cobra Verde (“Green Snake”), Gato Preto (“Black Cat”), etc…It would be O.K. if the name was in English, but Eddy is not a Brazilian name and Gordo in Portuguese means fat! In the same issue of names, the names chosen for the capoeira movements are pretty off the wall and are not like the traditional names I called the movements as I was motion captured. (A list of the correct names are listed on group’s web site, found at http://www.hooked.net/users/lagosta/marcelobio.html.
Eddy’s attire could be improved to better reflect the capoeira standards, and a strong drum beat if not traditional capoeira music would add great spice to the character’s ginga (swing). Please keep in mind that I am very critical because I am very authentic to my art. I do imagine that Namco had to deal with thousands of details for all the characters and strategies of the game.
Overall, I do like the character Eddy Gordo. I think he does some cool movements for a video game with some great combinations. Plus, to be appealing to an audience that knows practically nothing about capoeira, maybe that is just the way he needed to be presented at first.
GAMEPRO: Are you a Tekken 3 player? If so, do you play as Eddy Gordo?
MARCELO: I have never been a video game player. But I gave my son, Juliano, a PlayStation for Christmas so we can play Tekken 3 together. Of course I will play Eddy Gordo, but don’t be surprised if my six year old beats me. After all he is Eddy Gordo’s number one fan.
About Tekken from Mandinga’s official website
Namco invited Mestre Marcelo out to Japan and digitized his movements. These movements were used for Eddy Gordo, Tiger and Christie Monteiro in the Namco hit games Tekken 3, Tekken Tag and Tekken 4. Therefore, Eddy Gordo, Tiger and Christie are the digital incarnation of Mestre Marcelo himself. With few exceptions, all of their movements are authentic Capoeira, as practiced by Mestre Marcelo.
Strangely, the English names of the moves have been changed. In the Japanese version of Tekken 3, the Brazilian names that were given by Mestre Marcelo were used,but with minor mistakes in pronunciation and naming.
Does Eddy have a capoeira nickname?
Eddy’s second costume has the word, “Faisca” on it. Faisca means ‘spark’ in Brazilian Portuguese . Mestre Marcelo once had a student he nicknamed Faisca.
What color is his belt?
In the second costume Eddy has a blue and white cordão. Not bad for a 27 year old! (A blue and white cordão is considered a master of third degree by the Capoeira Federation System and usually takes at least 25 years to achieve…after being graduated in Capoeira).
Where did the gymnastics flare come from?
We know that Namco wanted to use the troca é pião move for the flair since that is what the move is called in Tekken 3. Mestre Marcelo thinks Namco lost the motion capture for troca é pião and hired a gymnast to do the flare.
What is Eddy’s most effective move?
According to Marcelo, he told Namco that the cabeçada should be a fast and deadly move. Indeed, the strongest Eddy players agree that the cabeçada is their bread and butter ground game move.
In a tribute to his Mestre, Mestre Marcelo suggested a combinação Suassuna: two mid-cabeçadas followed by a cabeçada uppercut to the jaw. Regrettably, Namco chose not to include this deadly sequence.
Wouldn’t it be great if Eddy could do some escape moves (esquiva, balanço or negativa) and takedowns (vingativa or banda)? We think it would add a completely new dimention to Eddy’s dazzling repertoire.