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Is Capoeira Effective?

Two girls playing Capoeira

Have you ever wondered, "Is Capoeira effective?" I've been in the martial arts community for over 30 years and I still get asked this question. Ultimately, yes Capoeira is effective, but it's so much more than that. Keep reading and discover just a few ways in which I believe Capoeira is effective.

Capoeira is an effective workout:

Capoeira is possibly one of the most effective workouts you could do. It is a MAJOR calorie burner; I frequently burn 500-800 calories in an hour-long class. Due to the repetitive nature of the basic movements, there is a tremendous amount of muscle endurance gained from training. New students expect a leg workout but are often surprised at how sore their upper bodies get after class. There is also an element of explosive strength gain in Capoeira. With plenty of small rapid movements, jumping, changing directions, twisting that activates the core-it’s all here. If this isn’t enough, many academies often have separate workout classes that incorporate Capoeira movements. My school offers several circuit-training based Capoeira workouts per week.

Check out this Capoeira conditioning guide. This guide will help you balance your workouts and support your efforts to improve your fitness.

Capoeira conditioning circuit

Capoeira is an effective martial art:

Is Capoeira an effective martial art? This is a very common question, and it’s honestly not something I give much thought. Like pretty much every other martial art, Capoeira is a combat sport. It has its own general rules and guidelines that we follow. For example, if you kick someone in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament, you will be disqualified (and possibly banned from competing in the future). Like Capoeira, BJJ is a combat sport. There are rules that must be adhered to if you want to compete or accurately represent the art. Therefore, it is somewhat difficult to establish which art is the most effective in this way, because each art operates within its own rules. The solution is probably to try a few martial arts and see which ones resonate with you the most on a personal level.

Mestre Aranha doing parafuso

Capoeira is an effective form of self-defense:

This is something I really enjoy thinking about. I have been in quite a few situations that required some knowledge of self-defense and have found that Capoeira has always been there for me. It should be noted that I have trained some boxing, Muay Thai kickboxing, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but I have done far more Capoeira than any of these arts. Capoeira is definitely my martial art of choice. I was a bouncer for years and did a little body guarding, and many Capoeira techniques have worked well in these situations. Here’s the thing though, Capoeira is not an art with a quick turnaround in the self defense department. It’s a slow burn of unique philosophies and approaches to problem solving that is slowed down a bit by an appropriate order of laying building blocks. For example, my Capoeira curriculum is certainly not based on up front fighting prowess. These skills come after a basic understanding of how unique Capoeira is ideologically. That being said, in its ultimate form Capoeira has a touch of everything. Powerful kicks, headbutts, elbow and knee strikes, and takedowns are all a valid part of this art. Capoeira is a great form of self-defense, but it takes a while to get to that level.

Capoeira is an effective means to self-empowerment:

Capoeira is hard. It’s really, really hard. But it is absolutely learnable if you are willing to put yourself out there. Most people who try Capoeira do not train for very long, and usually this is due to the physical difficulty. Even if you are physically fit, you may well feel out of shape. This is because Capoeira will hit you from every direction. I’ve reached the point where if I’m not a little sore all the time, it doesn’t feel right.

Capoeira student winning a tournament.

As you can see, Capoeira is so much more than just its effectiveness. Capoeira also will challenge you mentally and emotionally. There are concepts that can be difficult to understand. There are aspects of the art that will make you uncomfortable (fighting, dancing, music performance). But, if you see it through, the potential growth as a human being is off the chart. You will learn things about yourself, and you will gain confidence in other activities.

To reap all of these benefits from this amazing martial art, resilience is key. Read this post about how training Capoeira will increase your resilience. Don't Quit! Build Resilience Through Training Capoeira.


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