Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that blends footwork, music, and acrobatics. Meant to be hidden as a dance, students step back and forth in a rhythm (ginga) to keep themselves moving. Quick, powerful kicks and spins are then employed for both offensive and defensive purposes. Regular practice improves upper body strength, increases stamina, and flexibility.
Coming from the 17th century slave trade in Brazil, capoeira began as a form of self defense for escaping slaves. The practice hid itself as a form of dance to avoid harsh punishments from the Portuguese. After the end of slavery in 1888, the local police banned the martial art and its practice. Over time these laws faded, and capoeira is now recognized as an important part of Brazilian heritage.
Capoeira is an active art form, and works best for those looking to increase their range of motion. Regular practice will improve your core strength while teaching self defense skills. Anyone interested in learning about Brazilian culture is also recommended to try a class.