Hi, my name is Eva, welcome to my travel blog.
I travel since I was a kid but seriously started to discover other continents and more countries in 2006, first in Europe, then in Central America and Africa.
Currently I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Where To Learn Capoeira in Rio de Janeiro

31 May 2019

You probably heard of it or already know that capoeira is Brazilian martial art. It's not the most popular of all martial arts but for sure it's one of most intriguing and quite different than Asian versions. It combines physical training and fight with music and singing which sometimes make people believe its rather a dance.

This believe originates in capoeira history which is also very interesting and I reocmmend you to search and can get familiar with it in another source.

Before coming to Brazil I had already been learning capoeira for a few months and obviously wanted to continue the training here. Where is best to learn Brazilian martial art if not in Brazil? I started searching for classes in Rio de Janeiro but had some difficulties to find them. I queried internet both in English and Portuguese but the classes I wanted seemed not to be that much advertised. Here I must note that capoeira has a few versions and associations, mainly are three different styles:

  • Capoeira Angola
  • Capoeira regional (or Banguela)
  • Capoeira senzala (or contemporânea)

In England I had a chance to try capoeira contemporânea in Leeds (with Zumbi) and capoeira regional in Bristol (with Rad) - both of schools I recommend. Those were styles I was looking for in Rio. However most classes I found were of Capoiera Angola. I finally got a hint after my teacher from Bristol told me to look for Capoeira Abada, this seemed to be the common name for regional style.

ABADA is an abbreviation of Associaçao Brasileira de Apoio Desenvolvimento da Arte Capoeira, founded by Mestre Camisa, and is probably the largest association of this martial art in Brazil and the world. Their website features a map with places where to train and this is where I started looking. There are some groups of Abada Capoeira classes on facebook but they're practically inactive or very occassionally updated. I messaged a few of them centres form the map and facebook and mostly had no reply or some replied the class is no longer going on.

Capoeira at Santo Amaro, Glória

However I got a message back from the group training in Glória neighbourhood. At the moment it meets in the community at the Sala das Lutas at the top of Santo Amaro street under the direction of instructor Naldo. He has been teaching there for 18 years and is a great tutor pushing hard but with good effect. The school has a class for kids as well as for adults and students are mostly young people from the community. The group is open to anyone though who wish to progress in this martial art. As a curiosity I can reveal that the group sometimes make a trip to Praia do Flamengo, not to relax though but for another good training on different grounds.

The only downside is that it's quite a hassle to get to the top of Santo Amaro because the community lays on the hill and not many taxis want to go there (for instance Uber stopped servicing this area). The best is to pick up a moto 'taxi' from the corner of Rua da Gloria with Rua Benjamin Constant in Glória. Alternatively try to pick up 99 taxi (Uber's competitor in Brazil) or walking takes 20 mins one way.

Capoeira at Circo Voador

Another class I found after a while is the training at Circo Voador in Lapa. It is advertised on the Abada World map as Rua dos Arcos 1. That's great but there are a few buildings there, the number is not displayed on any of them and to get inside you need to know when to come and where to knock. So that was tricky as well. I only heard at Santo Amaro group when the Circo Voador's group is meeting and found an information about the class on its website dated a few years ago. Following this track I knocked to Circo Voador's gate on one sunny Monday and found out students of capoeira waiting for the instructor. Bingo.

The students are a mix of adults of all ages, some graduated and very experienced, some just starting but is friendly and everyone eagerly helps one another to improve and get better. It trains under professor Arpoador. The space at the circus is also generous so it makes the class more comfortable as it can be as much as 14-15 students training together.

Capoeira at ACM & Democraticos Club

I once saw a poster just near a place I lived in Lapa neighbourhood about a capoeira class at Mem de Sa street but this seemed to be an old one because when I got there at the time advertised the gate was locked.

Rio Capoeira ACM

Two months later I noticed another poster at Rua Riachuelo in Lapa advertising a capoeira happening at Clube dos Democraticos. Lucky for me that one had a telephone number because when I went there at the day and time advertised again the door was locked. I learned from a person who was just going locking up the door that capoeira is not happening here any more. I sent a message to the number I saw in the poster and got the reply that the timing has changed.

The group is still training at the Democraticos and also the same teacher, instructor Prainha, leads a group at ACM in Lapa. So this is where I went. The class are mostly young students of advanced and beginners level.

Schedule of Abada Capoeira Classes in the Centre of Rio de Janeiro

Here's a list of classes I found, their schedules and other information:

  1. Capoeira at Rua Santo Amaro 349, Glória, Rio de Janeiro
    Instructor Naldo
    Tuesdays and Thursdays at 20:00 to 21:30
    Facebook (very few posts but Naldo is responding messages)
  2. Capoeira at Circo Voador, Rua dos Arcos 1, Lapa, Rio de Janeiro
    Professor Arpoador
    Mondays and Wednesdays at 16:30 to 17:30
    Facebook (very few posts and I never got a reply to my messages)
  3. Capoeira at Clube dos Democraticos, Rua Riachuelo 89-91, Lapa, Rio de Janeiro
    Instructor Prainha, whatsup +55 21 98549-0761
    Tuesdays and Thursdays at 19:30 to 21:00
  4. Capoeira at ACM, Rua da Lapa 86, Lapa, Rio de Janeiro
    Instructor Prainha, whatsup +55 21 98549-0761
    Mondays and Wednesdays at 19:00 to 20:00

The cost of lessons vary and is up to R$100 per month per 2 classes a week so it shouldn't break your pocket. In case the schedule changes you need to contact the instructor directly or find out at the venue if the class is still going and when.

All above capoeira schools are located in Rio de Janeiro's central neighbourhoods, are led by very good, experienced instructors and will give you good start or progress whatever level of training you are looking for. It wasn't that straightforward to find them and I hope this short guide will make things easier for you.