From the age of 14 Mestre Marcelo studied under Mestre Suassuna. In 1984, Mestre Marcelo left Brazil and settled in the United States at which time there were only two other practitioners teaching Capoeira. Capoeira Mandinga, Mestre Marcelo’s organization, is a brother organization to Cordão de Ouro and is represented throughout the USA, in Israel, New Zealand, Mexico and now China. The Mestre is also known for his part in creating the character Eddy Gordo for the video game Tekken 3.

Mestre Marcelo Caveirinha

Mestre Marcelo Caveirinha

Mestre Marcelo was a student of Mestre Suassuna, who is the co-founder of “Associacao de Capoeira Cordão de Ouro”. In 1984, Mestre Marcelo left Brazil and settled in the United States, bringing with him the rich art from of capoeira and at that time, was one of only three people teaching.

Marcelo was asked by the publisher of a capoeira magazine, “What makes any particular capoeira game beautiful? From your perspective as a mestre and as someone who loves the game of capoeira, what elements do you want to see in a game of capoeira? When do you realize that the players are connecting on a different level?”

He replied, “The dialog between players can start from a very simple repertoire of movements, kicks and escapes to a much larger and complex vocabulary that may include even floreios, body expression and perception of the game. Just a small vocabulary is enough to establish a connection that can clearly define the harmony of the two players, creating what we call a dialogue.

The body expression involves knowing when to throw in the game that spice that enriches the moment. These body expressions are often a theatrical drama done by making funny movements or fakes that either imitates or remind us of things like an animal, a clown or anything that makes the player or the opponent look like a fool. This action adds to the game an element of humor which is an important, but almost forgotten aspect of capoeira.

Honesty, integrity and respect towards each other involves a bunch of things; for example: Knowing when you got caught by your opponent’s attack or trap and respecting that moment without taking advantage of it or ignoring it as a non threatening action. Also knowing how to control your kicks and strikes in a way that you don’t have to hit someone to prove your efficiency. When capoeiristas have the awareness mentioned above they will allow a certain flow in the game that can induce an incredible dialogue and perhaps even a trance like state.

Lets not think that some level of aggression will make the game ugly! Sometimes the players mutually agree that they want the challenge of a more aggressive game and still are able to maintain a good level of etiquette; where respect, dialogue and expression are present. It is up to the person judging that game to have enough vision to identify that such level of aggression was accepted by both players and that it did not hurt any of the principals of good etiquette and comradery. Only with such perception and vision that person can have a true opinion if a particular game was beautiful or not.

The joy of the game is when all of the above is happening together with a great music being played by the capoeira orchestra and the players are able to recognize the non-threatening yet efficient power of the capoeira game. This state usually leads the players to a trance like state that can not be described by words. It is, however, possible to see when two capoeiristas enter that state.

In short my answer to you is, a game is considered beautiful when played with the heart; when players have respect to each other and to the rituals, tradition and etiquette of the art. I would love to see capoeira gaining back the element of body expression, sense of humor and integrity. I realize that the players are connecting on a different level by the feeling I get from them when they are playing and radiating a sense of joy.”

Capoeira já é pra estrangeiro

Antigamente capoeira pra estrangeiro
Eu dizia que era mato de cortá
Hoje em dia tudo isso tá mudado
Estrangeiro joga angola miudinho e regional

Na europa já se joga capoeira
Americano dando armada pra matar
Tem japones fazendo volta por cima
Batam palmas minha gente pra esses mestres que estão lá

Na terra santa já tem muita capoeira
Ja tem angola e também regional
Já vi aluno falando para o seu mestre
Vou larger o meu fuzil vou pegar meu berimbau

Aos capoeiras que viajam pelo mundo
Com berimbau muita coragem pra lutar
Levando a arte de lutar sorrindo
Deus proteja esse povo que fica de pé pro ar

O alemão jogando pequenininho
Americano dando armada pra matá
Tem japones tocando seu berimbau
Vou falar do Mexicano dando até salto mortá