Godeme

131

Back fist

Move Background

Godeme is another hand strike that is more commonly used in the roda. Unlike other hand strikes in Capoeira, Godeme uses the back of the fist to hit. This movement also makes up the first part of the 4th Mestre Bimba sequence that includes Galopante. In this part of the sequence, the first person will step forward and use godeme. The other person will block with their forearms and hands in front of their face. The strike is performed twice with both hands and is designed to be a drill that will teach students how to defend against this attack. According to Capoeira lore, the move was named when Mestre Bimba was sparring with some Americans. He was establishing the names they had for various techniques when performed this strike to the head to his partner, who responded with a hearty "God damn!" which Mestre Bimba assumed was their name for it. While the error was explained to him afterwards, he liked the name enough to retain it.

Step by step guide

  • Backhand strike, normally to the face.
  • The hand can made into a fist making it a backfist or done openhanded as a slap.
  • When swinging, the arms are relaxed making the strike faster and the sting more painful.
  • The godeme is obviously an aggressive attack.
  • The movement is a little more subtle and can serve many different purposes.
  • If a player wishes to attack their opponent, they aim the strike to the face.
  • Sometimes a strike like this is seen as having little grace, subtlety, or class.
  • For this reason, the attack is sometimes used as a feint that will lead to another attack.
  • The emphasis being on tricking your opponent and gracefully leading them into a hidden attack.
  • The last reason this attack is most commonly used is by teachers who want to remind their students to protect their faces.
  • It’s not uncommon to see teachers “gently” backfisting their students to “encourage” them to protect their faces.

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