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Mestre Cobra Mansa (born Cinézio Feliciano Peçanha, 1960 in Duque de Caxias, Brazil) commonly known as Cobrinha, Cobrinha Mansa, is a mestre or master of Capoeira Angola. He is one of the founders and the guiding light of an organization known either as FICA (in Brazil, an acronym for Fundaçao Internacional de Capoeira de Angola) or ICAF (in English, this stands for the International Capoeira Angola Foundation, which is the literal translation of the words which make up the acronym FICA). The word "fica" in Portuguese is from the verb "ficar", probably the most used verb having many meanings, one of them is "you stay" or "s/he/it stays" (second/third person declarative). This meaning isn't necessarily significant, but because it has a meaning, it is slightly more catchy in Portuguese than ICAF is in English. One could interpret FICA as "let traditional Capoeira stay" or as "You become." But this interpretation is a conjecture. FICA/ICAF is the largest Capoeira Angola organization in the world, consisting of many local affiliates, chapters, and training centers incorporated as not-for-profits in the United States. These organizations charge nominal annual membership fees, and have locations in several countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Mestre Cobra Mansa is well known in the world of Capoeira. He started Capoeira in 1973 with Josias da Silva and Raimundo in the Rio neighborhood of Duque de Caxias. He played Capoeira in the Duque Caxias street rodas and was one of the founders of the Caxias Street Roda with Rogerio Russo and Peixinho de Caxias. (A roda literally means circle, and is the formation of persons that surround a game of the martial dance of Capoeira.) In 1974 Cobra Mansa became a student of Mestre Moraes after he saw Mestre Moraes play in the Roda of Central Brazil. Prior to his dedicating his life to Capoeira Angola, he worked in photography and as a street vendor in a circus (Circo Picolino). He went to Belo Horizonte in 1979 and was a police officer in this city where he spent 2 years. In 1981 he went to Salvador and started the organization and school, GCAP (Grupo Capoeira Angola Pelorinho) in Salvador with Mestre Moraes.
At some point during the later years of GCAP, Cobrinha and Moraes had a difference over the direction of the school where they were both authority figures. The result was the departure of Mestre Cobrinha and several other members of GCAP as well as the formation of FICA.
On invitation from the Aussar Auset Society, Cobrinha moved to the United States and opened a school in Washington DC around 1994, which was solely dedicated to the teaching of Capoeira Angola. He later became an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University, and then eventually president of the newly formed FICA. In 2004 he left the United States to make his home in Bahia, Salvador, Brazil to create the Kilombo Tenonde (www.kilombotenonde.com). This organization is currently split over two sites, one in Valencia, south of Bahia. Quilombo Tenonde provides space for Capoeira and permacultura (permaculture - organic farming). The other site is a cultural center at Coutos in the suburb of Salvador.
Cobra Mansa means tame snake, and Cobrinha means little cobra. These nicknames are apt descriptions derived from his graceful and deceptive style of play. His ability to transform situations through the use of innovative and acrobatic solutions has made him arguably the most influential Angoleiro (practitioner of Capoeira Angola) of his generation. Never one to avoid the complexity of Capoeira Reigonal, he has traveled in many non-Angola circles and done a great deal to help mend old disagreements between the two. His Capoeira continues to be respected and admired through both the Capoeira Angola and Capoeira Reigonal communities. He remains an inspiration to many younger Capoeiristas.
Mestre Cobrinha is well known as a mestre of Capoeira Angola. He is well respected for his deep knowledge and scholarship of the historical and cultural underpinnings of Capoeira Angola, as well as for his dynamic and aggressive style of play in the roda.
He recently completed a journey to the west-central region of Africa to search for the African roots of Capoeira. He spent time Angola and Mozambique learning about the "N'golo (Zebra dance)" and other local African cultural traditions that have been attributed in the past as contributing to the development of Capoeira. He also conducted a workshop in South Africa where he shared his knowledge and experiences.
He spent time Angola He spent time in Angola.
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