• Ginga – The most basic movement in Capoeira. It is accomplished by moving the legs in shoulder-width in a reverse lunge stance. The hands are moving with the body aiming to protect the face from attacks. The ginga is where all other capoeira movements initiate from.
  • Cadeira – A squat position with the feet parallel and the arms protecting the face. Every time a capoeirista brings his feet parallel during a ginga, s/he enters this position.
  • Au – A cartwheel in capoeira; different types of aus exist for different circumstances, however it is important to always look at the opponent while performing the Au.
  • Rolê – It is essentially a spin to one side by the capoeirista while remaining low to the ground and always watching the other player. The role is used to displace the capoeirista in the roda, transition from one move to another or to prepare for an attack or defense.
  • Rasteira – A movement used to sweep or pull an opponent’s leg in response to a kick
  • Cabeçada – A headbutt in capoeira.
  • Floreio – A term used to describe the acrobatics and aesthetically pleasing movements in capoeira. These movements require flexibility, balance, and proficient motor control.
  • Bananeira – A handstand in capoeira. Like the au, there are many unique positions depending on the circumstance.
  • Queda de Rins – It involves supporting the torso with the inside elbow and the head. The legs themselves may be together, tuck, or split depending on the position.
  • Negativa is used to escape an attack or used as a transitional floor movement by going low to the ground with the body sitting on the heel of one leg, while the other leg is extended with a slight bent of the knee. The body weight is supported with the hand (on the same side as the extended leg) on the floor, while the other arm is raised to protect the face.
  • Troca Negativa – From negative, a slight hop during which the extended leg becomes the support leg and the guard arm becomes the support arm and vice versa.


  • Sapo (Frog)
  • Carangueijo (Crab)
  • Cocorinha (Squat esquiva/dodge)
  • Ponte (Bridge)
  • Bananeira (Handstand)
  • Bananeira finish in Carangueijo (Handstand, finish in crab)
  • Au (Cartwheel)
  • Au from Carangueijo (Start in crab, go to a cartwheel)
  • Macaquinho 
  • Pião de Mão (hand spin)


  • Esquiva – An esquiva is a position entered to escape or dodge an incoming attack. There are various positions including:
    • Esquiva de Frente: Enter ginga position and further lower the upper body by bending the back leg. Have the correct arm protecting the face and the opposite arm off the floor.
    • Descida Basica: From esquiva de frente, lower the hand flat on the floor and bend the front leg approximately 90 degrees.
    • Esquiva de Lado: Keep the feet in a parallel position and lower the torso. Have the hand closest to the opponent protecting the face and keep the other hand firm in preparation to change movements.
    • Esquiva Diagonal: Step diagonally to the left or right of an attack, advancing forward. Lower the chest to the front knee. The left or right arm comes up to protect the face depending on the direction of the attack while the other arm maintains the body’s balance.


  • Armada – Step across the body (to the right or left) at around 45 degrees, the hips are spun while the arms are up to protect from punches or other kicks. Once there is enough torque, the kicking leg is “released” rather than kicked. After completing the circular motion, return to ginga.
  • Benção – It is a straight forward frontal push kick. It is commonly aimed at the abdominal or chest area, and the capoeirista hits with either the whole sole of the foot or with the heel.
  • Martelo- Move the kicking leg in front of the body, while turning the supporting leg out approximately 90-180 degrees. The martelo is then executed by extending the leg so that the front of the foot is kicked at the opponent.
  • Gancho – It is an attack that starts off in the same way as a martelo. The knee and thigh of the kicking leg is brought up and across the body. The leg is then extended toward the opponent and quickly jerked into a hooking motion striking with the heel.
  • Meia Lua de Compasso – Step across the body at around 45 degrees, place one or two hands on the floor so that the kicking leg can sweep across in a half-moon motion.
  • Queixada – With the feet parallel, bring the leg furthest from the opponent behind the front leg. Moving the torso until enough torque is reached, release the front leg, making a circular motion until the leg is back in ginga.



  • Berimbau – The berimbau is a musical bow of African origin, consisting an arc of biriba wood (verga), wire (arame), and a dried, hollowed-out gourd (cabaça). The lower end of the verga is carved into a peg to attach the arame, which is then stretched over the top end of the verga, giving the berimbau its bent shape. The arame is a steel wire taken from the inside of a car tire. The instrument is balanced on the pinky finger, and a rock is held between the thumb and forefinger; this serves to press against the arame and alter the notes. The free hand holds the caxixi, a rattle woven of wicker with seeds or pebbles inside, as well as the baqueta, a thin wooden stick used to strike the arame. There are usually three types of berimbaus in a typical roda:
    • Gunga – The gunga has the largest cabaça and the most flexible verga. It has the deepest sound, and in the roda it is responsible for keeping the basic rhythm and commanding the roda.
    • Medio – The berimbau médio has a medium-sized cabaça. In the roda, it plays the inverse of the gunga’s rhythm.
    • Viola – The viola has the smallest cabaça, the stiffest verga, and the highest sound. Its role is to play variations on the rhythm.
  • Atabaque – The atabaque is a tall handmade drum. The atabaque maintains the beat and secures the pace of the rhythm being played in the roda. There are three sizes of this instrument: rum (the tallest with the lowest sound), rum-pi (medium height and medium sound) and lê (shortest with the highest sound). Multiple atabaques are used in maculelê and in traditional dances, but the capoeira roda uses only one.
  • Pandeiro – The pandeiro is a type of tambourine. The pandeiro’s surface may be made of leather, snakeskin, or plastic. Capoeira, samba, reggae, and many other forms of Brazilian music utilize this instrument.
  • Agogô – The agogô is made of wood and two different sizes of thick Brazilian chestnuts and is played with a wooden stick. Its role is to keep the tempo along with the atabaque.