Capoeira for Dummies: Batizado – part 1

The time for the 12th ABADA Capoeira Batizado by Instrutor Mucuiu in New York is approaching, and possibly some of the new students and their loved ones will be wondering “what is this batizado event that is driving her/him/everybody crazy?” So here are a few pointers for the newbies.

Batizado is the Portuguese word for baptism. Don’t worry there is no religion involved in the event, it is a ceremony of introduction to the capoeira community, and yes, as such it implies adherence to an ethical code of sportsmanship and discipline, that for our group you can read here.

Mestre Bimba capoeira schoolThis rite of passage in the capoeirista life was introduced by Mestre Bimba in the early 1960’s. At that time Mestre Bimba developed a modern form of capoeira that he called “capoeira regional” which is the foundation of contemporary capoeira.

His batizado consisted in giving the student a nickname, which would become his/her capoeira name indicating this way that the student had become a member of the group. Today the tradition of giving a capoeira nickname (apelido in portuguese) remains, while the batizado ceremonial has taken different forms according to the groups that perform it.

The batizado is a time of celebration and hard work for everybody. The local teachers introduce their new students to their masters, their peers and the group, while the students get to show off their skills and learn new ones from experienced athletes. The cords received during the ceremony symbolize the student’s status in the capoeira apprenticeship path within the group.

After the initiation of new students, the batizado event is completed by the “troca di corda” (change of belt) for the capoeiristas of the group who have progressed in their skills during the year.

In New York, ABADA Capoeira usually invites to its batizados several guests from Brazil, Europe and the US, they are well-rounded capoeiristas and teachers who come here to share their art with us.

batizado_voltaThe main event takes place in a few hours, but it is surrounded by several ones in the days preceding and following it. For instance this year our Batizado Integrado will be complemented by: a 3-day workshop led by Mestrando Canguru, special capoeira classes with the guests, music workshop and local capoeira games.

The batizado celebration is open to the public, indeed students are welcome to spread the word and invite friends and family to attend this event, for them it will be a unique opportunity to discover Brazilian culture and traditions.

Before and after training, local students can get to know the guests taking them shopping and sight-seeing in New York City, for the locals it’s the opportunity to practice their international relations skills in order to get as much capoeira tips as possible from the guests.

Abada Capoeira Batizado traditionTo those who are nervous about the upcoming batizado I will quote our Mestre Camisa, who once told us “Why are you worried? It’s a party, it’s your party, Enjoy it!” So there you have it, enjoy the event, the guests, the capoeira!

The next part of this series will deal with more details about the ceremony itself. Train hard & stay tuned!

ABADA Capoeira Batizado Integrado 2013 , June 25-30, 2013, NYC

Photos from our 2012 Batizado