Sports Guide

Learn the Dance of War

By Dawn NgEvents - 25 March 2010 1:00 PM | Updated 12 August 2010

Learn the Dance of War


Mention Brazil and immediately, colourful images of skilful soccer players and sexy samba dancers come to mind. Born from a culture that is expressive and full of life and similarly, the Brazilian form of martial arts exhibits the same amount of energy and passion. If you are keen to pick up a sport that artfully blends defence with dance and soul, why not try your hand at capoeira?


What is capoeira?

Capoeira, also known as the Dance of War, features prominently in the Brazilian culture and is a martial art form that combines fight, game and dance unlike no other. Executed to the sounds of musical instruments, claps and singing, opponents face each other within a circle and compete using a rhythmic blend of self-defence movements and dance. Apart from its colourful showmanship, capoeira is an excellent self-defence and fitness system that is quickly gaining popularity in Singapore and around the world.


Origins of capoeira

Capoeira developed over hundreds of years ago in Brazil, when native Africans were shipped to South America by Portuguese colonists for slave labour. These slaves passed their culture, customs, dance, rituals and fighting techniques from one generation to the next, forming the base for capoeira. Capoeira evolved through the years and brought together the cultures of enslaved Africans, , indigenous Brazilians as well as Portuguese immigrants, reflecting the cultural and social diversity of modern Brazil.


I want to learn capoeira

To pick up capoeira, you need interest, passion and an open mind, says Silvano P. dos Santos, treasurer at the Association of Capoeira Argola De Ouro (Singapore).

Students who sign up for class can expect to learn the basics like kicks, dodges and takedowns. However, there is also a cultural aspect to capoeira classes where beginners learn the history of capoeira and its evolution through time. As the rhythmic harmony of song and dance is a prominent aspect of capoeira, students will also learn how to play the musical instruments of capoeira and sing capoeira songs in Brazilian-Portuguese. 

“Capoeira also teaches you self-control, discipline, respect for others and prepares you for any challenges in life,” said Silvano.  “From there, you will familiarize yourself with the language of Brazilian-Portuguese, find out more about the Brazilian culture and immerse yourself in it.  Once you step into the class with your uniform on, you are literally part of the Brazilian culture and a fragment of Brazil.”


What skills do I need?

If you are keen on learning capoeira and exploring the Brazilian culture but do not have any experience in martial arts, fret not as capoeira is suitable for everyone, including absolute beginners.

“Even a person with martial arts background would have to start from the very beginning in order to learn capoeira,” assured Silvio.

As with everything we do in life, practice makes perfect and regular training does increase your proficiency in the sport. For beginners though, practicing two to three times a week is sufficient to master the basics and form a strong foundation.


Where do I sign up?

There are a few schools that offer capoeira lessons and Capoeira Argola de Ouro Singapore offers one of the widest networks, with classes at various locations around the island.

Log on to to find a location closest to you.