Capoeira Kicks

Capoeira is a martial art and thus has many attacks. Capoeira kicks form the majority of these attacks.

However these kicks are used for more than just offense. They are also used defensively and strategically while playing in the roda.

I’ll introduce the basic kicks and some key information about them below…

Straight Kicks

Generally, I’ve learned that most capoeira kicks can be divided into two categories, straight and spinning. The following are straight kicks. They are thrown directly towards the other player and don’t really travel like spinning kicks do. Here are some of the most common ones…

Ponteria (pon-tear-a)

This is a straight forward kick where the player kicks their leg straight up towards the opponent. In training we use it a lot for stretching out the leg to increase its range.

Martelo (mar-tell-o)

The martelo is a cross kick aimed at the other player’s side or head. It takes some practice to perform the kick correctly while maintaining your balance when you pivot. It’s still a work in progress for me :)

Benção (ben-sao)

This literally means ‘blessing’, but getting one doesn’t feel like it...

The kick is aimed at the chest and it is normally used to push the opponent back. For a tall person like me, it’s useful for attacking while keeping my distance.

Chapa (sha-pa)

The chapa is a generic name for a range of kicks using the flat bottom of the foot. Generally a chapa, as I’ve learned it, has the player pivot like a martelo, but push out with their foot like a benção.

Spinning Kicks

These capoeira kicks are those where the player either spins or the kick travels in a circular motion. There’s a wide variety differing in direction, speed and position. A few of the most common are listed below.

Armada (ar-ma-da)

The armada, or meia lua de costas in Angola, is a full spinning kick. The player spins completely around while bringing their outside leg forward for the kick.

The best advice I received for learning this kick is to look before you kick. Basically turn the top of your body first, to look, and then let the bottom follow through to kick.

Meia-lua de Frente (mei-lua je french)

Meia-lua de frente literally means ‘half-moon from front’. The player sweeps their leg up in a crescent towards their opponent and finishes by bending their leg back to their base.

This is another kick I find really useful being tall. It allows a good reach of the other person from afar.

Queixada (kay-sha-da)

The queixada is a crescent kick like meia-lua de frente but performed from the inside out. The player turns away from their opponent slightly and steps forward while twisting back to face the opponent with their leg out.

It sounds more complicated than it is, so just watch the video to understand it.

Meia-lua de Compasso (mei-lua je compass-o)

This is the signature kick of capoeira. The meia-lua de compasso is very unique, with the player twisting their arms down between their legs and twisting their hips to kick out in a wide arc. It’s also one of the trickiest to learn as a beginner.

My advice is to just keep practicing it. I did and my body eventually got used to the awkward position.

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