Unique Capoeira Punches and Hand Strikes!

The hand and arm strikes in Capoeira are unusual moves. There is a myth saying that the chains locked around slaves’ arms prevented their movements, therefore they have developed the legs skills.

Anyway, today the techniques could be seen in the Capoeira Angola rodas. The players shake and wave their arms trying to confuse or amuse the opponent.

That “game of the arms and hands” is known in the Portuguese as Jogo de Braços.

Below is given a list of the pinches and strikes.




Literally translated, asfixiante means “suffocating”. The technique is traumatic. This is a straight punch targeting the throat. In that case the opponent starts breathing heavily and lose concentration.




Translted from Portuguese cutelo means knife or blade. This is an attack with a knife in hand. That movement is not used in the same way in rodas anymore. We prepared some useful knife defense tutorials.




Literally translated cotovelada means “poke”. It is a traumatic technique as well as the Asfixiante, and uses the elbow to punch, usually, from outside to inside. It is typical for close-distance fight.




The dedeira is an eye attack where two fingers are used – index and middle. This technique is rarely applied in the roda today due to the damage it could cause.