Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts and dance, which was developed on the sugarcane plantations of Bahia by the black slaves about 400 years ago. They used this form to express their resistance and defensiveness.
The three main elements of capoeira are martial arts, music and rhythmic movements. The capoeristas move to a rhythm of the Berimbau (an African bow instrument) and conga drumming, accompanied by fast movements of a tambourine, known as "Ginga". The participants are in a continuous movement throughout the whole time. The ginga (literally rocking back and forth) is the fundamental movement in capoeira. Each capoeirista has their individual rhythm.
Ginga movement is done to prepare the body for other movements such as hiding, dodging, feinting and attacking. It puts capoeiristas in constant motion, making them a frustrating target for an opponent. The Ginga is a combination of battle techniques and acrobatic movements, making it hard to define dancing or fighting. Capoeira is performed in a casual and light form, however, as a fighting method it proves to be very effective. Next to Asian martial arts, capoeira is becoming more popular. As well as the energetic battle, capoeira offers a whole range of Brazilian rhythm in music, chant and movement.