Practiced for hundreds of years in Brazil, capoeira, mix martial arts, acrobatics, dance and music, is being honored this Friday, November 23, by the Google search engine. And more specifically Manuel dos Reis Machado, aka Mestre Bimba, the teacher who has legitimized the practice and founded the first school in the world to promote this style of martial arts, afro-brazilian.

Mestre Bimba, with his full name Manuel dos Rei Machado, was born on 23 November 1899 in the neighbourhood of Engenho Velho, Salvador de Bahia, so there are 119 years of age. The youngest of a family of 25 children, he is the son of a champion of batuque (another form of struggle in brazil) and one of the most famous practitioners of capoeira.

martial Art of the slaves

Developed by former slaves, capoeira was for a long time prohibited by the brazilian government. The law prohibiting the study of the martial arts for the slaves, music was added to hide powerful fighting techniques in dance movements. Music and song accompanying the combos, acrobatic, masters do not doubt that the slaves were at the point of genuine methods of combat. Developing his own style, known as ” capoeira regional “, Mestre Bimba codified the genre, establishing a strict set of rules and a dress code. In 1928, he was even invited to give a capoeira demonstration in front of the future brazilian president Getúlio Vargas, then governor of the State of Rio Grande do Sul. Very impressed by the performance of Mestre Bimba, it will allow to open the first capoeira school in his hometown of Salvador, legitimizing, therefore, the practice of any such martial art.

Mestre Bimba will go down in history in 1996, when the federal university of Bahia and was awarded the title of doctor honoris causa, him, Black, illiterate. Bimba remains one of the symbols of afro-brazilian culture. He died on 5 February 1974.

In 2014, the Unesco has recognized capoeira as intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

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