Want to learn how to do Capoeira kicks? Capoeira is a dance-like martial art with Afro-Brazilian roots. Created by slaves as a way of practicing combatives without alerting anyone to the potential dangerousness of the moves, Capoeira is extremely popular in the United States and is often incorporated into martial arts-focused cardiovascular exercise routines. The moves generally require some flexibility and agility, as well as strength in the core and upper-body to perform the Capoeira moves accurately. The following are some basic Capoeira kicks with instruction on how to perform each.
- Ponteria The ponteria is a type of straight kick, similar to a front kick in other martial arts forms. To perform the ponteria, begin the ginga, sweeping one foot back, then the other while bringing the opposite arm up to the face to block. With the rear leg, bend the knee, bring the knee forward and extend the foot out in front of the body and upward as if aiming for an opponent’s chest or face. Bring the kicking leg back down, bending the knee and dropping the foot behind the body, almost as if performing a rear lunge. Continue the ginga.
- Martelo The martelo is similar to a roundhouse kick in other martial art forms, where the striking part of the foot is the top toward the ankle (not the top of the toes). From the ginga, support the weight on the bent front leg while bringing the back knee forward. Pivot the body on the supporting leg and bring the kicking leg out in front or toward to the front, moving from the side to the center. The kick is aimed at an opponent’s side or head. Return the leg to the rear, as in the ponteria or a rear lung, then continue the ginga.
- Benção The word benção is Portuguese for “blessing” and this kick is similar to a front push-kick where the ball of the foot is used to push the opponent back. As with the other kicks, begin in the ginga, then with the rear leg bend the knee and bring the knee toward the front while support the body’s weight on the other leg. Extend the leg frontward and up if desired, pointing the foot but bringing the toes up or back to avoid injury and expose the ball of the foot. Push as the leg is extended, then bring the knee in and return to the rear as if performing a rear lunge. Return to the ginga.
- Armada Of all Capoeira kicks, the fancy spinning kicks are typically most difficult to master. The armada is performed, like the others, from the ginga, Capoeira’s basic move or foundation. From the ginga, the weight is supported on one leg while that supporting leg pivots the foot to allow the body to literally rotate 360 degrees. During the rotation, the kicking leg is brought up and around in a sweeping arch. All movement is performed in a fluid motion, which allows the martial artist to immediately return to the ginga or perform another move following the kick.
Other Capoeira kicks can be considered variations of these kicks. To reduce the risk of injury, be sure to warm up the body for five to ten minutes before beginning a workout or practice routine and stretch properly for a minimum of five minutes. Take the time to stretch the quad muscles, hamstrings, inner-thigh or groin muscles, calves and to warm up the leg joints. Take care when practicing with a partner as all of these moves make accidents quite easy and a kick in the face, even if just practicing, can end up in the emergency room.