Well, it’s a sort of martial art that originally came out of slave communities on the east coast of Brazil. They weren’t allowed to practice martial arts, so they used this as a form of physical training and disguised it as a dance. It was also part of a much larger communication system though. Small changes in rhythm, for example, could mean that danger was coming.
**Wow, that’s quite the history.**
Yeah, but of course it’s much different now. Over the last 20 years or so, its popularity has really exploded internationally.
**Has it retained its physical nature? Or is it more of a dance form now?**
I think it’s equal parts dance and martial art. It’s not just about fighting technique; we’re also interested in the beauty and aesthetic of it. But you still try to trip people up.
**Trip people up? Physically or just to break their flow?**
A bit of both–it’s a game. You imply a kick to the face, but you don’t actually follow through. And then they have to respond. It goes back and forth. It’s not a game with clear winners and losers, but it’s obvious who’s better than who. You don’t have to say who won, but everyone knows.
**And how does everyone know you?**
Well, they actually call me *Trombada*. Everyone gets a Brazilian nickname when they start. But in terms of my style, I like to keep it loose and easy.
**Is that what *Trombada* means?**
Haha, no, it means “car crash”. But that’s nothing to do with how I play Capoeira–it’s because I make seat belts and air bags for a living.
[**Shanghai Capoeira Club**](http://cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/sports/martial_arts/has/capoeira/)