CAPOEIRA AS ART
Diário de Notícias, Rio de Janeiro
25th June 1961
Capoeira has been a victim of prejudice. In the same manner what fights against it is the lack of its teaching methods and adequate places for practising it, although in Salvador there are some mimicries of academies. Of all highlights the Capoeira Angola Center, of Mestre Pastinha, well organized inside the existing limitations. For what it looks, this Center is the only ones, until now, that has managed to break the barriers of legal discriminations and obtained a registrations as a civil association.
Manuel Vicente Pastinha [correct is Vicente Ferreira Pastinha – velhosmestres.com] is an old capoeira, who has given education to generations of capoeiras; is a short man, with 73 years of age, but has a the energy of a youngster, because still "plays around" for a long time.
He is a real teacher and technician - he seeks always to give a good moral orientation to his students - he gives classes in a residence, adapting his teachings, in these cases, when the musical instruments are missing. His Center, on the Pelourinho hillside, is well taken care of, giving a balanced and methodical teaching.
Also in the Military Brigade of the State capoeira is being taught. In Corta Braço and in the "north-east" of Amaralina, respectively the mestres Traíra and Valdemar; and Bimba can be met, the last with his regional, with looks like a distorted capoeira.
The outstanding figure, however, is Mestre Pastinha. He is a carpenter by profession and an artist. He doesn't live of capoeira, on the contrary. He has filled the walls of his academy with paintings of series of drawings showing the sequencies of kicks with the purpose of orienting his teachings.
His great ideal, is to spread capoeira in the schools. To achieve this he thought necessary to organize two things: to take his capoeira group on a trip around the south of the country and publish a book with the teachings of this fight.
The first took place two years ago, when they went to Rio Grande, where they gave presentations, being lodged in an Army unit.
Passing by Rio, Pastinha gave a show in the School of Physical Education, where he filled all with enthusiasm with his mastery, and astonished with his energy and liveliness. Small cinematographic documentaries were made in this occastion.
The lack of a solid teaching method of capoeira is what makes its spreading the most difficult. This lack is, however, perfectly curable since there are means for the systematic study of this fight.
The other difficulty that appears is capoeira's high capacity to bruise. A solution for this can also be found. This depends, also, on some observation and study. The folklorist and etnographer Edison Carneiro, in his book "Bantu Negros", has already offered an example of a fighting regulation which he witnessed, having illustrated, also, the book with the method which had been adopted by the judges, which he calls cabalistic signs. Such signs, however, to us look more like drawings of fighters when making a kick, wanting to determine this, the judges, to position one above the other in certain moments, such as the headbutt as a counter-attack to a cartwheel, or the execution of a throw; the annulment of the adversary's attack, on others, the good setup of a kick, in yet other, what appears quite intelligent, only difficult to execute and subject to shortcomings needing lots of skill.
In Bahia, the capoeiras resolved the situation, adapting the practise of this violent fighting sport to a state that makes it the most inoffensive that you can imagine. Another one of capoeira's excellencies.