Capoeira (pronounced Capo-wa-ra), is an Afro-Brazilian art form that ritualizes movement from martial arts, games, and dance.
It was brought to Brazil from Angola some time after the 16th century in the regions known as Bahia, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, and Sao Paulo. Participants form a roda or circle and take turns either playing musical instruments (such as the Berimbau), singing, or ritually sparring in pairs in the center of the circle. The game is marked by fluid acrobatic play, feints, and extensive use of sweeps, kicks, and headbutts. Less frequently used techniques include elbow-strikes, slaps, punches, and body throws. Its origins and purpose are a matter of heated debate, with the spectrum of argument ranging from views of Capoeira as a uniquely Brazilian folk dance with improvised fighting movements to claims that it is a battle-ready fighting form directly descended from ancient African techniques.