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About Us

What is Capoeira?

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art disguised as dance developed by Angolan slaves in Brazil during the colonial period. Because slaves were not permitted to arm themselves and fight, capoeira allowed them to train physically while giving the impression that they were merely entertaining themselves. Over time, the art of capoeira evolved from its traditional roots into a formal martial art. In 1932, Mestre Bimba founded the first official school of capoeira, and is known as the father of capoeira regional. Since then, capoeira has become the national sport of Brazil, and is taught and practiced throughtout the world.

Capoeira is played in a circle called a 'roda' (pronounced ho-da), and is accompanied by singing, clapping, and several musical instruments, most notably the berimbau. Players of capoeira are known as capoeiristas. Playing capoeira is both a game and a method of practicing the application of skills and movements learned in training. Unlike traditional martial arts, the game usually does not focus on overpowering the opponent, but rather emphasizes speed and skill. Capoeiristas often prefer to rely on simple takedowns or trickery to lull their opponent into an 
unexpected strike.

Capoeira Resistência

Capoeira Resistência was founded with the goal of sharing the art of capoeira with the community. We believe that capoeira is about making friends and stimulating personal development. Our philosophy centers on caring about the well being of others, which results in close friendships and a strong community.

More than producing great capoeiristas, we teach the core values of capoeira: mutual respect, playfulness, and control over the body and mind. We believe these values enable our students to achieve and excel in all aspects of life. Our academy encourages physical, social, and mental empowerment by offering a learning environment where people of all ages and origins can come together to be creative and challenge themselves. Through practice of movement, balance, and rhythm, as well as culture, history, language and music, Capoeira Resistência advocates the principles of respect, responsibility, security, and liberty within individuals.

Mestre Panão

Mestre Panão (Robson Alexandre Pedro) started training capoeira in 1982, when he was just 13 years old. He began training with Professor To, who was a student of Mestre Paulo Carioca, at the "Netos de Amaralina" Academy in São Paulo. In early 1984, Mestre Panão went to train under 
Mestre Rizadinha (graduated by Mestre Suassuna), with whom he attained the level of Contra-Mestre, and to whom he credits his basic knowledge of capoeira. In 1992, Mestre Panão started "Grupo de Capoeira Resistência." With much hard workand dedication, he was able to stand out in the capoeira community of São Paulo by demonstrating that his students have the ability to truly play capoeira, not just to fight and use brute force.

Mestre Panão has participated in countless capoeira events in Brazil, the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. His dedication to capoeira has put him in high regard throughout the capoeira world. He has also appeared on television in Brazil and the United States, as well as in magazines and newspapers. In 2002, he opened his first academy outside Brazil in San Diego, California. In 2006, he moved to Richmond, Virginia, where he now teaches and resides.

Cord Levels

Cordãos, or cords, represent the experience level of a capoeirista. They are made of four braided strands and are worn around the waist. The colors of thestrands denote the specific level. Our cordão system is based on the Capoeira Regional system developed by Mestre Bimba. Each year, students are selected to receive a new cordão in our annual batizado. Capoeiristas receive their new cordãos based on their training, knowledge and dedication to the art.

System of graduation