Capoeira Regional is a style of Capoeira, created by Mestre Bimba (Manoel dos Reis Machado) in the early 20th century. Born in Salvador, he is a traditional capoerista known for developing the first structured training technique for Capoeira; back then you could only learn Capoeira by watching and participating in the roda. In 1932 he founded the first official Capoeira school. As Capoeira was still illegal in name, Mestre Bimba called his style ‘Luta Reginal Baiana’ (Regional fight from Bahia), and later became what we now know as ‘Capoeira Regional’.
Capoeira Regional is more focused on acrobatics, style and speed, compared to Capoeira Angola which mainly focuses on slow and smoother movements. Capoeira Regional is also more aggressive and played in a faster pace in comparison. The game itself is primarily shorter, upright and on the feet; lasting an average of 2-3 minutes. Capoeira Regional uses two pandeiros and one berimbau. It does not use chamadas or ladainhas. Not only did Mestre Bimba put his own spin on the Angola technique names, he also added jumping and spinning variations. Mestre Bimba added new techniques like the galopante (cupped hand strike) and own versions of the kicks like the martelo (roundhouse kick). He also integrated movements from Batuque, an Afro-Brazilian martial art based on aggressive grappling and attacking techniques.
Capoeira Regional is the first Capoeira style to introduces ranks. When you have shown enough skills in Capoeira, you are awarded with coloured cords (belts), and in the past capoeristas were awarded with coloured scarves. Capoeira Regional also has an admission exam which identifies a student's ability by their Capoeira movements.
Capoeira was criminalised in Brazil for many years and practitioners were fatally reprimanded for practising it. Mestre Bimba's goal was to change the image of capoeira to a reputable, socially acceptable and genuine Brazilian martial art form. Mestre Bimba promoted his capoeira as a sport, encouraging middle-class participants and underplayed its relationship to slavery in an effort to legitimise and legalise its practice. Since its legalisation Capoeira has become Brazil's national sport and an international sensation through its promotion of respect, fitness, diversity and discipline.
It is possible to specialise in one or other style of capoeira, depends on your own preferences and your personal point of view. You can attend classes for one style or the other. Why not find a capoeira class near you and discover the style within you?