Famous Mestres of Capoeira

As a capoeirista it is important to be familiar with the Capoeira Mestres worldwide. They are the people who have greatly influenced and developed Capoeira through the years.

For this, we have decided to create a Capoeira Mestres section where you can find the most popular capoeira fighters and learn their history, their philosophy, their passion in capoeira.

Needless to say, the two most important Capoeira Mestres are Mestre Bimba and Mestre Pastinha – the fathers of the two capoeira styles.

Mestre Bimba (November, 23, 1899 – February 15, 1974)

If you ever hear someone talking about the father of Capoeira Regional then he is talking about Mestre Bimba. He was born in Salvador, Brazil and started playing capoeira when he was only 12. The real name of Mestre Bimba is Manuel dos Reis Machano but the nick name came from his birth. It was actually a bet between his mother who believed that the child would be a girl and the midwife who said that it would be a boy. At the time he was delivered, the midwife said to the mother that the child has a Bimba (a Bahia jargon which means the male genital organ) and is a boy indeed. Thus, he was given this name and it followed him during his whole life.

When Mestre Bimba started to play Capoeira, this fighting style was still forbidden by the authorities. Little by little, Capoeira started to transfer to a folkloric activity with just a few movements. Then, Mestre Bimba decided to give life to Capoeira again and started adding new movements to it. Some of the movements were created by himself and some were influenced by another fighting technique he was practicing called Batuque. In todays’ days Batuque is not practiced at all. However, it gave the birth to a new capoeira style – Capoeira Regional.

Few years later, Mestre Bimba managed to convince the authorities and Capoeira turned from a banned fighting technique to an official martial art. In 1932, Bimba created the first Capoeira Regional school called Academia-escola de Cultura Regional. When visiting the school of Mestre Bimba, the capoeiristas had to wear only white uniforms so they can prove the discipline, the proficiency and other standards that were highly valued in Brazil at this time. This made the high class people in Bahia visit the Capoeira school and start practicing Capoeira themselves. Ten years later, Mestre Bimba opened a new Capoeira school – Terreiro de Jesus on Rua das Laranjeiras. This school is opened today and is now supervised by Mestre Bamba.

During his whole life Mestre Bimba had only one goal – to help Capoeira grow and succeed as a martial art.  In this manner, he created his unique teaching method and principles few of which are:

  • Practice every day
  • Follow the rhythm of the berimbau
  • Respect the opponent and protect him
  • Keep body in a good shape and relaxed
  • Stop smoking and drinking
  • Avoid demonstrating capoeira skills outside the academy
  • Be a good a student in the capoeira and the normal school

Mestre Pastnha (April 5, 1889 – November 13, 1981)