Monday, October 12, 2009
Batman -- Martial Artist - 05 - Capoeira
Capoeira is an art that originated in Brazil, developed by African slaves sometime in the 17th century. It is characterized by its high, sometimes acrobatic kicks, moves that seem similar to modern break dancing, and typically being accompanied by music.
Firstly, it should be said that Capoeira is really less a martial art than a cultural practice. It is, in essence, a dance. Its fighting origins are debatable, but it is generally accepted that the slaves brought to Brazil by the Portuguese (from what is modern day Angola) developed a fighting style that could be used while their hands were shackled, but they disguised it as a dance so the slave masters could not stop its practice.
While African tribes did have fighting styles, and similar techniques could be seen in the fights amongst Afro-Caribbean slaves, the generally accepted origin story of Capoeira is highly dubious. One problem with this origin is that slaves were most typically shackled by their ankles. How much work can a slave really do if his hands are immobile? Another problem is the question of effectiveness: if the slaves really had such a great fighting style, why are there not MORE stories of escape and uprising? While plenty of slaves would have known wrestling, stick fighting, and kicking techniques, the slaves had often been captured in the first place because they were not the best fighters around.
This is not meant to discount Capoeira as a fine cultural tradition. It can even be described as a martial art, but with the emphasis on ART. Capoeira is really a dance or game. It is NOT recommended for anyone looking to learn practical self-defense. But, if one wanted to get in great shape, dance to great rhythmic music, and meet fine Brazilian girls, then by all means he should take up Capoeira.
So, would Batman practice Capoeira? No. He would certainly become familiar with it, maybe even borrow a move or two, but it is not an art that Bruce would have spent time diligently practicing or attempting to master Capoeira. While it would be a good idea to learn some techniques that would allow him to fight while shackled, Batman would be able to use kicks from Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Savate, or any other art more effectively than the break dancing moves of Capoeira. Also, Batman’s Plan A is to simply not get handcuffed in the first place.
Remember, Capoeira is a dance. While Bruce Wayne may do the tango or salsa, or waltz with gorgeous society girls, we know one thing for sure -- Batman does not dance.
-There is a delightful bit in the movie “Never Back Down” in which the main bad guy faces a fighter who shows off with some fancy Capoeira moves. The bad guy dispatches him quickly with a simple, direct punch.
-The villain in “Ocean’s Twelve” uses Capoeira to slip through a security laser field.
-Capoeira is the art used by Eddy Gordo and Christie Monteiro in the Tekken video game series.
-As per usual, check out youtube if you want to see Capoeira in action.