THIS FIGHT SHOULD BE SEEN
16th November, 1969
This figth should be seen
16th November 1969
But, Capoeira Angola is, more than anything, a violent fight and extremely cunning.
Suddenly the "game" stops and in the "arena" an old man enters who, until now, had stayed unnoticed. He is very old, he is 80 years old and from his fixed look you can see he is blind. Then he presents himself. It's mestre Pastinha. He tells the story of capoeira, which is mixed with the story of his life. He started the practise of capoeira at ten years of age with mestre Benedito, a black guy, from Angola. He tells, then, experiences of his youth, when capoeirista was synonymous with a rioter and vagabond. When the capoeirista was persecuted by the cavalry. When the women were more brave.
He is telling that, since the capoeiristas were troublemakers, who fought with the police in violent fights, the "game of capoeira" needed to be practised in hiding, with one companion keeping watch.
When the police arrived, who in these times patrolled the city on horseback, the watchman came running, gave the "cavalry rhythm" on his berimbau and his buddies slipped away right away. The police knew about it. For this the instruments of the rhythmical ensemble of capoeira had to be concealed.
Pastinha starts to talk about the great capoeiristas who he knew. And he talks about a case, talked about alot, that happened with a famous woman, about whom even the police chief was afraid of. She was called Maria Homem. There was no policeman who could catch her.
He tells about the misadventures of an "outsider corporal" who meddled with the brave Maria Homem. He had a "small shop" on Pelourinho Square, which she liked going to to "have a few mouthfuls". She drank so much that stayed there. It was when the said corporal came with two policemen. When he saw her streched out there, he ordered her to be arrested. The policemen who knew her didn't obey the order. The corporal braved up and decided he would himself arrest Maria Homem. It was then, that he without knowing it flew six meters and his companions ran away. The unfortunate corporal didn't resign. He returned with force. And it was then that the whole Pelourinho slope saw a soldier "flying".
Pastinha complains that in his academy, as in all of Salvador, there aren't any woman capoeiristas any more. - It's a pity - he says - that there aren't any women made of such material, because women should also share defending their place.
His narrative preserves still in nowadays a tasty vigor. With enthusiasm and joy he talks about the prestige that capoeira reached amoung our people. Exited, he challenges the visitors:
- Fighters of box, judo, free-fight, karate, present yourselves. I challenge you to face Capoeira Angola. I am mestre Pastinha, I haven't "died", I'm still a capoeirista. My capoeira is Capoeira Angola, the legitimate capoeira. It's not "mixed", capoeiristas of other capoeiras, I challenge you.
Old and blind, he doesn't feel the weight of the years, his bravery doesn't know age. The loss of sight doesn't break his courage, because as Jorge Amado said: "in Pastinha you feel the invincible force of the people of Bahia, surviving and building their lives despite the infinite poverty, the misery and the abandonment".
Pastinha maintains with loyalty and self-denial the teaching of Capoeira Angola as he received it. He hasn't allowed his academy to become deformed with the introduction of the practises of other fighting methods. For this he is ridicularized alot by other academies, who wanting to gain fame, aren't ashamed to say that his capoeira died. That Pastinha is no longer capoeirista. They forget that he was a sort of predestined, who formed capoeira into a style of sport, allowing them, nowadays, to use her as their livelihood.
[..] against the adversity. His best payment, the one that recompensates him for the loyalty and self-denial that he dedicated to teaching Capoeira Angola, was the prestige that the authorities gave his capoeira, considering it one of the most authentical manifestations of national folklore.
Great is the debt to this master capoeirista who so fervently defends this fight in its original purity.
Pastinha and his capoeira haven't died. Every day, on Pelourinho Square, you can hear the capoeiristas sing:
In this old capital
Don't fool yourself
Mestre Pastinha is the best
He represents in the heart of Salvador not only an established master of a fighting style, which is considered by many better than judo or free-fight, but also a living chronicle of the old Brazil.