A martial art of the slaves – Capoeira – became a great inspiration for Brazilian football to create a spontaneous, sensual identity.
Brazil is not home to football, but the country is the richest in World Cup history, with five crowned victories. Brazilian football is also different from football of the rest of the world. They think that football must go hand in hand with art, it must be art, the improvisation and sublimation on grass. So why are they so different?
That’s the question Simon Kuper brought with him on his journey to Brazil, and he immediately received advice from Professor Muniz Sore: “To understand Brazilian football, you must know what is Capoeira culture?” . Capoeira, in the usual sense, is a martial art that combines dance. But that is just the surface of the sinking ice, because hidden behind this martial art is an important part of the history of Brazil today.
Capoeira originated from Angola and was brought to Brazil in the 16th century, when Portugal lacked manpower and had to bring a large number of slaves from Angola. This is also the darkest period in Brazilian history, when they became the world’s largest slave importer (about 3.5 million people, six times more than the US).
Generations of audiences who have enjoyed two classic Brazilian movies – “Isaura female slave” and “Little hostress”, must have seen how brutal Brazilian slavery was at that time. In that situation, yearning for a free life that made Brazilian slaves at that time come to Capoeira, the martial arts helped them defend themselves against barbaric whips.
History records that to fool bosses, slaves often dance in the evening, while practicing Capoeira. At first glance, it is difficult to realize that it is a martial art, but hidden behind those beautiful dance moves are dangerous ones. It was from here that the revolts spread to the plantations and finally in 1888, turning history to the page when slavery was canceled in Brazil.