Capoeira in popular culture

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capoeirista performing an Aú Batido

The Brazilian martial art of Capoeira, noted for its acrobatic movements and kicks, has been featured in numerous films, TV shows and video game series.


  • Cordão de Ouro (1977) is also the title of a futuristic Brazilian movie. Capoeira is central to the plot,[citation needed] and the movie stars several well-known Mestres, such as Nestor Capoeira and Mestre Camisa.
  • Rooftops, a 1989 film, is a film based around street kids who use dance fights to settle arguments and as a form of entertainment. One of the kids sees a capoeira group and starts to integrate it into his dance.
  • Only The Strong, a 1993 action film, is the only Hollywood film that showcases capoeira from beginning to end. While many capoeira fans appreciate the film out of a sense of irony, and as a showcase for the sport.[citation needed] It is generally considered to be of poor quality, probably due to almost completely unrealistic impressions of Brazil.[citation needed]
  • Bangkok Knockout, a 2010 Thai martial-arts action film. There is a fight between one of the main characters and a man who uses moves from capoeira.
  • The 2002 film Madame Sata is set in the seedy underworld of 1930's Rio de Janeiro. It tells the story of João Francisco dos Santos - a drag performer and capoeirista street-fighter.[citation needed]
  • Vincent Cassel, a proficient Capoeira practitioner showcased his skills in Ocean's Twelve (2004) to evade and bypass an advanced laser-based security system.[1]
  • In the 2005 movie The Protector, the main character Kham, played by Tony Jaa, fights enemies that all are masters of a different art. He faces a fearsome man who specializes in Capoeira, played by Lateef Crowder.
  • The 2009 movie BESOURO is based on the story of a legendary fighter and practitioner in Capoeira history who goes by the same name as the title starring Aílton Carmo as Besouro. It includes extensive capoeira fighting scenes.(Trailer)[1][2]
  • Many of Wesley Snipes' action films include scenes involving capoeira, as it is one of several martial arts he practices.[2]


  • Capoeira's "donkey kick" was a common part of Iolaus' martial abilities in the 1995 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
  • Capoeira first entered public consciousness in the UK by exposure from the Nokia Mobile 2000 advertisement showing Mestre Sylvia and Contra-Mestre Marcos of the London School of Capoeira performing on a beach.[citation needed]
  • One of the BBC 'Rhythm & Movement' idents introduced to BBC One in 2002 showed Mestre Poncianinho and Contra-Mestre Casquinha playing capoeira, which raised its profile in the United Kingdom. While the attention capoeira has received has caused a boom of interest in this martial art, more skeptical capoeiristas have argued that the way it is used in the media is a misrepresentation of what capoeira truly is.[citation needed]
  • Stargate SG-1 also used several capoeiristas from Grupo Axé Capoeira, namely Mestre Barrão, as well as several professores, instructors and students in many stunt choreographies, and conceptualized a race of alien beings practicing a martial art that is based solely on capoeira. It formed the basis for the martial arts style called Mustaba, used by the Jaffa people serving Imhotep in the Stargate SG-1 universe. The fighting style was highlighted in the fifth season episode The Warrior. In the Season 6 episode Allegiance, some Jaffa can be seen playing capoeira at the alpha site in the background of a conversation between Jack O'Neill and Jacob Carter/Selmak.[citation needed]
  • In the hit martial arts cartoon Xiaolin Showdown, one of the main protagonists, Raimundo, practices capoeira throughout the series.[citation needed]
  • Professional wrestler John Morrison formerly working for World Wrestling Entertainment incorporates many capoeira moves in the ring.
  • In the Bob's Burgers episode "Sexy Dance Fighting", Tina takes Capoeira lessons after developing a crush on the instructor.
  • In American Dad! Reggie the Koala uses Capoeira when fighting Bullock.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 TV series), the villain Xever/Fishface uses capoeira as his main fighting style.
  • In the Avatar the Last Airbender episode "The Headband", the dance between Aang and Katara is highly similar to a Capoeira game.


  • Batman is said to be trained in all "127 major martial arts". The DC Ultimate Guide to the character mentions Capoeira by name as one of these, as well as the Greg Rucka novelization to the "No Man's Land" story arc. Other characters in Batman's canon are also seen using capoeira like movements, including, notably, the most recent Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, although it is noted that she has no dominant style. Her natural ability of reading movement, however, and her resulting dodges are very similar to capoeira principals.
  • In the manga series, Black Lagoon, the character Fabiola Iglesias is a master practitioner of the art.
  • In Brazil, the heroes "Meia lua, o Rei da Capoeira" (Half Moon, King of Capoeira), "Corcel Negro" (Corcel Black), "Capoeira Negro" (Black Capoeira), "Homem Capoeira" (Capoeira Man) and Carlos da Silva Gimenes of the series Ronin Soul, represent Capoeira.
  • In the Death Note manga series, L uses a kick that is based on the Capoeira fighting style.
  • In the manga/anime series One Piece, Sanji uses a style of fighting that is partially influenced by the Capoeira fighting style.
  • Fai and Seishiro from the manga/anime series Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle use a kicking-based fighting style clearly influenced by Capoeira.
  • In the novelization of the movie The Incredible Hulk (film), Bruce Banner uses Capoeira to avoid confrontations with a violent co-worker, and to help him keep the Hulk contained.



  • Breakdancing, developed in the 1970s, has many analogous moves. However, the original breakdancers of the early 1970s based their style primarily on actors in Asian kung fu films, but received some influence because demonstrations of capoeira master Jelon Vieira in New York.[5][6]
  • The Southern California hardcore metal scene also uses capoeira as an evolution of the early 1980s "slam dancing". With many of the basic traditions of the "roda" and "volta-ao-mundo", the participants engage in capoeira at 144-180+ beats per minute.[citation needed]

Video Games[edit]

  • Capoeira Legends: Path to Freedom is a 3D action game created by Brazilian developer Donsoft Entertainment for PC. With a pace a bit more strategic, the game received colsultancy by Escola de Capoeira Água de Beber of Mestre Vuê.
  • One of the earliest video games to make use of capoeira was the 1993 Sega Genesis 2D-fighting game Eternal Champions. In this game, the Atlantian warrior Trident applied the technique in combination with several genre-typical supernatural attacks. As with all characters in the game, Trident's biography in the "Information" menu offered a brief description and history of the fighting style.
  • Martial Arts: Capoeira RPG action game created by Twelve Interactive for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 launch on 25 November 2011.
  • The Fatal Fury game series has two capoeira fighters, Richard Meyer and Bob Wilson, master and student. Richard Meyer was the first fighting game character to use Capoeira.
  • Eddy Gordo and, later, Christie Monteiro are capoeiristas in the Tekken series.
  • The Street Fighter III series had its own capoeirista, Elena.
  • On Rumble Fighter there is a capoiera fighting style you can choose.
  • Online martial arts game Zone 4 has capoeira as a fighter's type to play with.[7]
  • The series online flash games Capoeira Fighter,[8] focuses on the style
  • In Saints Row 2, once it has been unlocked, the player can choose Capoeira as his/her combat style.
  • In King of Fighters series, beside Richard Meyer and Bob Wilson, Soiree Meira and Momoko has the fighting style.
  • The Pokémon Hitmontop is based off this fighting style. Its Japanese name, Kapoera, further supports this.
  • In the video game Final Fantasy XIII, the character Lightning utilizes a Capoeira kick called meia lua de compasso in the opening cut scene.
  • In Bust A Groove the unlockable Capoeira characters use the eponymous style

Social Media/Facebook[edit]


  1. ^ Thelma Adams (30 November 2011). "Vincent Cassel: A Q&A With the Black Swan Star". Huffington Post. USA. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Wesley Snipes: Action man courts a new beginning". Independent (London). 4 June 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  3. ^ Black & Tan Videos
  4. ^ Simon, Paul. "The Obvious Child". MTV (7 July 2005). Retrieved on 31 January 2008.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Edwards, Cutler. "Kung-fu Cowboys to Bronx B-Boys: Heroes and the Birth of Hip Hop Culture."
  7. ^ Zone 4 Main Page
  8. ^