Significant Figures

MESTRE BIMBA – BA (1900-1974)

“A spider lives on what it weaves”

Manoel dos Reis Machado was born in the state of Bahia, son of Luis Candido Machado and Maria Martinha do Bonfim. He began capoeira in 1912 with an ex-slave known as Bentinho, a Captain of the Bahia Navigation Cia. An excellent fighter, Mestre Bimba, created “Capoeira Regional” in the 1930s as a form of restoration of capoeira’s characteristic fight features. In 1932 he founded the first capoeira academy in the world, which exists until today in Salvador’s Historic Centre. During his career as a capoeira mestre he trained some important people from Bahia’s society, such as Dr. Antonio Carlos Magalhaes (for many years Governor of Bahia State), Dr. Lomanto Junior, Dr Decanio and others. He is considered “The father of modern capoeira”, as he created his own teaching method. He is also one of the people responsible for recognition of capoeira as sport modality after many years of police repressions and social discrimination.

Mestre PASTINHA – BA (1889/1981)

“The capoeira is all that the mouth eats and the body gives”

Vicente Joaquim Ferreira Pastinha, son of a Spanish father and mother from Bahia, is one of the most important “Old Capoeira Mestres”. He was an artist, poet, writer and philosopher and one of the founders of the Capoeira Angola Sport Centre. His Mestre was the ex-slave, Negro Benedito. The contribution of Mestre Pastinha in the field of capoeira material is the book Capoeira Angola published in 1964 and the disc “Capoeira Angola – Master Pastinha and his Academy” recorded by Philips in 1969. He gained admiration of well known artists and intellectuals such as Jorge Amado, Carybe, Mario Cravo and others who have had the privilege to have known him. He participated, representing Brazil, in I Negro Art Festival in Dakar. Until today, “Seu Pastinha” is considered the great promoter of “Capoeira Tao”.

MASTER NORONHA – BA (1909/1977)

“The capoeira-trainee has to be very polite to be introduced in high society. If he is brave, he has to leave the life that he passed. We have to acquire a ballast of friendship. That is what we have to do”.

Daniel Coutinho was born in Salvador (state of Bahia) in the Baixa dos Sapateiros district. He began his capoeira practice at the age of 8 with Master Candido da Costa (Candido Pequeno). He worked as a shoeblack, docker, and truck driver assistant. Together with Livino, Mare, Amorzinho, Aberre, Percilo, Geraldo Chapeleiro, Juvenal Engraxate, Geraldo Pe de Abelha, Zehi, Feliciano Bigode de Seda, Bom Nome, Henrique Cara Queimada, Onca Preta, Cimento, Argemiro Grande, Argemiro Olho de Pombo, Antonio Galindeu, Antonio Boca de Porco, Candido Pequeno (Argolinha de ouro), Lucio Pequeno and Paquete de Cabula he founded “The First Bahia State Capoeira Angola Centre” at Ladeira de Pedra street, Liberdade district. Together with Livino he also founded “Conceicao da Praia Capoeira Angola Center”. He published his manuscripts through the National Capoeira Program, entitled “ABC of Capoeira Angola”, supervised by Frede Abreu.


“Two angoleiros who understand fight can not dispute because one will wish to defeat the other and can apply a deadly blow”

Rafael Alves Franca, always alert and very respected in his life, was born in Santo Amaro in Purificacao, Bahia. At 4 years old he started training capoeira with his cousin Besouro. He also trained with other Mestres such as Maitá, Licurí, Joité, Dendê, Gasolina, Siri de Mangue, Doze Homens, Espiridião, Juvencio Grosso, Espinho Remoso, Neco, Canário Pardo and Tonha. He was also a 3 rd Sargent at the old headquarters of CR in Campo Grande, and he fought in the revolution of 1932. Cobrinha Verde held classes of Capoeira Angola in his sport centre on Rua Dois de Junho at the Alto de Santa Cruz, Nordester de Amaralina.


“A sport that I really appreiciate is the fight Angola”

Waldemar Rodrigues da Paixao, a singer and a capoeirista since childhood, was present in the rodas and always teaching. He had 3 mestres: Siri de Mangue, Tanabi and Canario Pardo. He was always involved in the cultural activities of Festas de Largo. He had his gym at Liberdade where he used to teach and promote his famous rodas, which were appreciated and visited by many capoeiristas and artists, such as Carybe. He was also famous for the beauty and quality of his berimbaus. He was respected by everyone who played with him, by his admirers and his students (one of which was Zacarias). Many capoeiristas and folklorists went to the Merstre numerous times seeking knowledge to which he was always very sympathetic and courteous to help them as a genuine capoeirista. Now a days he takes part of other rodas but anyone who goes to Avenida Peixe of Liberdade can hear his song followed by his “berimbau voizero”.


Fancisco de Assis is known in Capoeira Angola as Mestre Bigodinho, and in Capoeira Regional as Mestre Gigante and by the elders as Pequeninho. He started capoeira in the Jardim Suspenso da Barra with Mestre Cobrinha Verde and then passed to train with Mestre Pastinha. He changed to Capoeira Regional later, training with Mestre Bimba. He was often confused with his very close friend from childhood, Gordo, due to his similar features. He started to teach at the Seminario Central, opening his own capoeira academy in Sao Goncalo at Rua Rodrigues Ferreira, 226, in Federacao. He used to take part of rodas at the Lar das Pombas on Sundays, also at Barra in Jardim Baiano. Mestre Bigodinho created the rhythm of “Cinco Salomao” which is for the “jogo miudinho” and took part in a film called “Os Cangaceiros”. He was a very good story teller and a good and passionate singer of serenades.