Capoeira: Playing Honestly

“capoeira is treachery!”

  • Mestre Bimba

Something that was really difficult for me when I started playing, was figuring out how to use deception in my game. I’m not a very good liar and I thought that had something to do with why I couldn’t do any convincing feints. Now, I think the reason I wasn’t so convincing was because I never learned how to communicate my intentions in first place – I didn’t know how to play honestly.


honesty means playing without the desire to deceive the person you are playing with, but instead try to communicate exactly what you’re about to do. Want to do a meia lua? Extend your arms and swing your torso. Communicate to the person you’re playing that “THIS IS THE KICK I’M ABOUT TO DO!”. Some good examples are when teachers play with total newbies and older Mestres – here’s an example.


Ok, but why do this? How does playing honestly help you learn deception? Based on my experience seeing newer players trying to do fintas (feints), the problem is that they don’t know what they’re imitating. How can you lie if you don’t know how to tell the truth? As someone with more experience, you see  newer player throw a feint kick and you’re not convinced. Convince me! When you play honestly, you say exactly what you’re going to do and the best part is that you can verify that you’re doing it right when someone easily esquivas away from your kick. Once you have a grasp on this, then you can start learning deception by imitating what you did for the real kick and stopping half way to execute another options. This is my take on using deception in the roda, and it all stems from being able to play honestly – communicating exactly what you have in mind.


This post comes a bit from my personal experience playing Capoeira as well as some wisdom from my dad. I asked him what he thought about modern art after saying, “pppfff, I can do that”. But, he said, “no, no you can’t. You want to break the rules, but you don’t even know what the rules are yet. Once you learn how to draw and paint, then you can start breaking the rules”.  Love you dad.