Historians disagree about the exact origin of Capoeira with some saying it has its roots in African fighting traditions and others saying it has a purely Brazilian origin. Whatever its beginnings Capoeira has developed in Brazil amongst the Afro-Brazilian generations.
Capoeira was illegal at one time in Brazil and records show that many slaves were jailed for Capoeira. However, the traditions did not die and really bloomed in the 1930s under the influence of Mestre Bimba who opened the first Capoeira school.
Capoeira combines kicks, sweeps, head butts, elbows, punches and slaps and is done to music. Generally no contact is actually made, sort of like a virtual fight. Capoeira is normally performed in a circle called a roda and people take turns playing musical instruments, singing and sparring.
Capoeira has a tradition of respect, safety and freedom and the roda represents the world and the greatest challenge is mastering one's self.