Basic Capoeira Moves

While capoeira has many diverse movements, it’s these basic capoeira moves that serve as the foundation for everything else.

They essentially make the game what it is.

Since they are so fundamental, they are used in everything from movement to attacks and defense. Their strength lies in their flexibility of use.

I’ll begin by first talking about the most important of them all…

Ginga (jing-ga)

The ginga is the first and most fundamental movement in capoeira. Without it, you’re not playing capoeira.

Ginga literally means ‘swing’. The movement itself has the player swinging side to side. It allows the player to get into rhythm with the music and is the base for their attacks and defenses. The capoeira ginga sets the pace for the player.

Aú (ah-ooh)

In capoeira the aú is basically a cartwheel. It differs from a normal cartwheel in that the player looks at their opponent instead of the ground when performing it. The aú is useful for maneuvering around the roda and setting up for other movements.

Negativa (ne-ga-tiva)

The negativa is a key ground move and a basic position for many other movements. It has the player sitting crouched on the heel of one foot with the other leg outstretched. This movement is a transition to many other floor moves such as queda de rins and tezora.

Rolê (ho-le)

Rolê is a movement used most often to get up from a ground movement such as the negativa. It is basically a roll which is meaning of rolê. It is also used to escape low attacks such as chapa.

The video below shows negativa followed by a rolê.

Ponte (pon-che)

This is a basic back bridge. It’s used as the foundation for many other movements, especially escapes.

Queda de rins (cada je hins)

Literally this move means ‘fall on your kidneys’. The player supports their body on a side using an elbow. It’s used to transition from many movements and also defensively to escape attacks.

Macaco (ma-ca-co)

The macaco is a low back flip using one arm. It means monkey since it resembles a type of movement a monkey would perform. This can be used in conjunction with other movements, attacks and escapes.

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