1941 - Was born on the 25th January in, BA.
1962 - Started to learn with Artur Emídio in Rio.
1963 - On the 11th June founded the Capoeira Centre Ilha de Maré. Also created the capoeira baptism.
1967 - Set himself up in São Paulo on the Augusta street 1351.
1982 - On the 3rd August participated on the Inauguration of the Capoeira Square in SP. Published the book called Capoeira - A arte marcial brasileira.
1985 - Created the Associação do Brasil da Capoeira (ABRACAP). Helped to institute the State Law nº 4.649, of 7th August, that defined 3rd August as a Capoeirista Day in the São Paulo state.
1988 - From 23rd to 28th May participated on M Suassuna's event Project Capoeira Roda.
1998 - Died on the 23rd September assassinated, in the office of his academy Ilha de Maré, situated on the Av. Brigadeiro Luis Antonio n. 3940, SP.
M Paulo Gomes
Jornal da Tarde, São Paulo
27th November 1967
More than 200 years later it was created by the blacks in the quilombos of Pernambuco, capoeira arrives to São Paulo, made better.
Two people are prepared to fight. The fight is not boxing, judo or karate: it's capoeira. The place is not a Rio hill or a deserted beach is Bahia: it a wooden floor of a restaurant in the number 4815 on the avenue of the State, full of people eating acarajé, vatapá and having drinks xixi de anjo and suor de virgem.
The man on the left, taller and stronger, skin burnt by the Sun, is mestre Paulo. The man on the right, Osvaldo, is a young guy with long hair, skinnier and shorter than the mestre.
Three atabaques, two berimbaus, a bell and a pandeiro receive a reverence: heads put against the ground, the two feet up, in a slow and measured movement.
The music starts, almost a samba, more resembling candomblé. The first kick, meia-lua, part of the mestre: right leg lifted up, the left foot in a rapid spin and the right passing on the height of Osvaldo's nose. Osvaldo reacts, resting on the ground, supports the two hands on the floor and throws the two feet to the height of mestre Paulo's face.
Everything has a mystical African rhythm and moves in calculated sequences of kicks and conter-kicks. Two minutes more or less fighting and the music suddenly stops. The mestre and the student, together, repeat the reverence to the berimbaus, atabaques, bell and pandeiro. Mestre Paulo returns to the middle of the floor, while Osvaldo heads to the corner close to the musicians and waits squatting for the rest of the baptism. He calls another student. The fights repeat for seven more times - seven students baptized, the first ones in São Paulo. All are dressed the same: white shoes, white denim pants, with a black stripe on the leg and a white shirt.
The baptism, in the language used by the capoeiristas, is the student's debut in a fight with the mestre. Osvaldo and the seven others trained for three months to be baptized. They will now train ten more, until they are capoeiristas. They will always respect the oath they gave yesterday: "My mestre, I promise to learn capoeira regional only for self defense and never use it for agression, and only use it when my life is on the line".
The base of any technique of capoeira regional is in a verse of "Berimbau", a song by Vinícius de Morais: "a good capoeira falls well". The pride of the capoeirista is to know how to fall. Even after tne months of normal training and another ten to perfect, the capoeirista is always learning to how to fall, perfecting the kicks and trying to make the reflexes faster.
Capoeira is a fight of reflexes. It has 52 sequences of close to ten kicks each. Capoeirista has to have fast enough reflexes to manage to do certain sequences of kicks, that in 99 percent of the cases are mortal.
The most violent kick is called "benção". The capoeirista twists his body and kicks with the heel towards the adversary's chest. The first kick breaks the breastbone. The second one puts the adversary on his back and makes him hit the back of his head on the ground.
MESTRE LOST MANY FIGHTS
Four years ago, in Rio de Janeiro, Paulo Gomes, 21 years old, a bahian from Itabuna, had a wish to learn capoeira. Withe five months of training, one hour a day, in Artur Emídio's academy in Bonsucesso, Paulo Gomes got a second place in a competition against capoeiristas who had in average eight and ten years of practise. One year later he opened his own academy and became mestre Paulo.
This wish to learn capoeira fast costed Paulo the loss of sight from his left eye, all the front teeth chipped, three broken bones and the extraction of a menisc. - "They though I wasn't good for anything. I showed them I was."
They say he is the only successor to mestre Bimba in Brazil. They say he is the hope of capoeira regional to continue to exist, because many people are mixing it with capoeira de Angola. "Capoeira de Angola is not capoeira. It's only a dance. It's embarrassing to see these people to say they practise capoeira, but who don't know anything about capoeira".
Paulo Gomes says he came to São Paulo to show capoeira regional. He says that the only thing you see here is Angola. He came in the beginning of this year and opened his academy, "Ilha de Maré", in a small room on the Augusta Street 1351. He has 30 students, all men. "But in Rio, in three years, I gratuated more than 30 girls".
Due to the danger of the kicks, the capoeiristas have four rigid principles of conduct: respect everyone; not the teach their technique to any strangers; never to provoke fights; kick an ass only when threatened, but only enough to defend themselves.
Capoeira started to be practised in Brazil by the black slaves brought from Africa by the portuguese. They were treated as animals and didn't have a way to defend themselves. They started to create a self defence, that they trained during the dances, to fool the portuguese.
When a black guy ran away, mainly in Pernambuco, he had already trained intensly this type of defence. Little by little the runaway slaves were building the quilombos on the planes of the heartlands of Pernambuco, where they lives grouped together. The bushlands with clearings [capoeira in native languges] helped them to see from afar the portuguese who were chasing them. The fight was call capoeira for this reason. Zumbi, one of the leaders of quilombos, was the first capoeira mestre in Brazil.
Slowly the runaway slaves were returning to the cities. They were mainly going to Rio, where the hills were hiding them from the soldier. They trained capoeira on the hills and came down to the city to rob. So many problems arose from them in Rio de Janeiro that the emperor Pedro II passed a law to prohibit the practise of the fight in the country.
The capoeiristas started then to be persecuted and incarcerated. The only way to be recognized was by their clothes: they were wearing very long straight pants, so that during the kick the legs weren't exposed, and shirts with long sleeves, so that the fists weren't exposed. Usually the adversaries of the capoeiristas, the alleyway gangsters, fought with razorblades and fists and legs were the easiest to cut. The cheaf of police of Rio that time, a guy called Sampaio, started to use a way to discover the capoeiristas: he dropped a lime to a guy's pants from the waist; if the lime didn't drop from the mouth of the pants, the guy went to jail: he was a capoeirista for sure.
Around 1930 in Salvador appeared a guy to make capoeira evolve. He studied all the kicks and created his own style. He created capoeira regional. The rivalry came about with the other, capoeira de Angola. The ones of capoeira regional said that Angola wasn't more than a dance for show. In 1935 this man, mestre Bimba challenged all the masters of capoeira de Angola and won them one by one on a Salvador stadium. He won the title of the father of capoeira regional.
Mestre Bimba is still alive. He is an old guy of 67 years old and a metre and ninety five of height, who lives in an old house on a hill on the beach of Nordeste de Amaralina in Salvador. He doesn't give any shows of his capoeira, only if they are for special occasions. The last show was for an ex-student, Juracy Magalhães, when he was elected the governor of Bahia.
BOY WINS THE MAN'S FIHGT
Jorge Machado Silva is 12 years old, 25 kilos and close to a metre and fourty of height, but says many good capoeiristas won't match him in a fight. In 1966 Jorginho was watching the parade of the samba schools on the President Vargas avenue, in Rio. He stepped on a man's foot and got kicked on the head. The man ended up in the hospital, with a broken bone. This is the story the boy is telling, finishing it with a serious note: "I don't like anyone pushing me around".
Jorginho, son of poor parents, started to like capoeira in Salvador, where he was born - "in the Upper City", as he is saying. The first opportunity he had to practise came in Rio, where he met Paulo Gomes. Mestre Paulo had an academy in Cinelandia. "I went to the academy with my brother, Miguel. I was watching it all. Later I got back home and trained alone, with all the mistakes. But slowly I was learning".
This was three years ago, a sufficient time for an adult, with an hour a day, to be included in the list of the most respected capoeiristas.
Mestre Paulo is saying: "this boy is the great hope of capoeira regional, he is very good". The students of the academy Ilha de Maré say Jorginho would easily fight a guy of a metre and eighty of height and 90 kilos of weight, "if it's not a good capoeirista, of course".