Mestre Cobra Mansa was born Cinézio Feliciano Peçanha on 1960 in Duque de Caxias, Brazil. He is a mestre of Capoeira Angola who has extensive experiences teaching and performing capoeira around the world.
He begun his practice of Capoeira in 1973 with Josias da Silva and Raimundo in the Rio neighborhood of Duque de Caxias. He played Capoeira in the Duque Caxias street rodas and was one of the founders of the Caxias Street Roda with Rogerio Russo and Peixinho de Caxias.
In 1974 Cobra Mansa became a student of Mestre Moraes after he saw Moraes play in the Roda of Central Brazil. Prior to dedicating his life to Capoeira Angola, he worked in photography, as a street vendor in a circus (Circo Picolino) and even served as a police officer for 2 years in the state of Belo Horizonte.
In 1996, he founded the International Capoeira Angola Foundation (Fundaçao Internacional de Capoeira de Angola) in Washington DC, which was solely dedicated to the teaching of Capoeira Angola. This is perhaps the largest Capoeira Angola organisation in the world. FICA is currently split over two sites, one in Valencia, south of Bahia. Quilombo Tenonde provides space for Capoeira and permacultura. The other site is a cultural center at Coutos in the suburb of Salvador.
Mestre Cobra Mansa's nicknames are apt descriptions derived from his graceful and deceptive style of play. His ability to transform situations through the use of innovative and acrobatic solutions has made him arguably the most influential practitioner of Capoeira Angola of his generation. Never one to avoid the complexity of Capoeira Reigonal, he has traveled in many non-Angolan circles and done a great deal to help mend old disagreements between the two. His Capoeira continues to be respected and admired through both the Capoeira Angola and Capoeira Reigonal communities. He remains an inspiration to many younger Capoeiristas.
In addition to being an incredibly well respected teacher and capoeirista, Mestre Cobra Mansa is a scholar, historian, and documentary filmmaker.
Mestre Cobra Mansa recently completed a journey to the west-central region of Africa to search for the African roots of Capoeira. He spent time in Angola and Mozambique learning about the "N'golo" (Zebra dance) and other local African cultural traditions that have been attributed in the past as contributing to the development of Capoeira. He also conducted a workshop in South Africa where he shared his knowledge and experiences.