If you’re new to Capoeira, then you might be wondering how yu ca get a leg up on getting better. One of the best ways is to take a look at some of the most important books ever written about the art. Many of these authors were legends of Capoeira in the 20th century, and their words provide a lot of knowledge, wisdom, and an insight into the mind of a lifelong practitioner.
The best Capoeira books for a beginner are:
It’s hard to express just how important reading Capoeira books is. It’s not enough to just watch people on youtube. You need to educate yourself as well. Here are some of my favorite Capoeira books. There are many others not available online or at books stores near you, but ask fellow capoeiristas to borrow a copy. Request these books be made in digital format. Books are meant to spread education to the public so look at some of the ones below. I suggest starting from the top and working your way down, but feel free to pick any book that catches your eye.
One of the most widely distributed Capoeira books out there! The little Capoeira book is a great introduction for anyone interested in the art. This book does a great job at breaking down some of the fundamentals of Capoeira.
This book is very beginner friendly and meant to be a guide to start learning the art of Capoeira.
This book is written by one of the most respected mestre of capoeira, Mestre Acordeon. Also known as Bira Almeida. This book takes the reader through the history of Capoeira from the colonization of Brazil to the twentieth century in Bahia. Mestre Acordeon does this from the perspective of someone who has one of the most impressive pedigrees of any Capoeirista. In the 1970’s, Mestre Acordeon came to the United States, which gives a unique perspective to the book as someone who’s grown up in Brazil learning Capoeira, but has travelled to the united state and has an understanding of both cultures.
Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form – A wonderful look at the history of Capoeira through the eyes of one of the most respected Mestres in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Nestor Capoeira’s third book is a deep dive into the philosophy of Capoeira. This was the first Capoeira book I read, and I place it here on the list because it’s accessible and gives a great discussion about the essence of Capoeira. This is something that can seem so mysterious, but Nestor Capoeira does an amazing job at distilling the discussion into how the art has evolved, who the main players are/were, and what the attitudes were at the time. A fascinating read for anyone interested in the art.
A Street-smart Song: Capoeira, Philosophy, and Inner Life – Nestor does a fantastic job with this book. I think its one of the most fun Capoeira books out there and I highly recommend it.
Like the title implies, this two part series of book covers the origins of Capoeira and takes the story forward to the present day. I decided to place the second volume of Gerard Taylor’s Book higher on the list because modern history will generally impact us more. As soon as I started reading this book I was extremely impressed by the level of detail, the academic rigor to source material, and the relevance to Capoeira today. Gerard Taylor goes over the competition between Capoeira styles, the origin of the chord system, and many other things you may have wondered about, but never knew who to ask about. This book is a gem.
Capoeira: the Jogo de Angola from Luanda to Cyberspace V. 2 – Amazing resource for people looking for an in depth and academically researched guide to modern Capoeira history (specifically the last 20th century).
The first is a two part series of books that covers the origins of Capoeira and specifically looks at the origins of the art and leaves us at the beginning of the 20th century. The book opens with the slave trade of the 1500s and explores the music, self defense, religions, and other cultural elements that influenced the art of Capoeira. A fascinating read that dives into the 500 year old history of Capoeira and a must read for anyone who wants to learn the art.
Capoeria: The Jogo de Angola from Luanda to Cyberspace V.1 – Amazing resource for people looking for an in depth and academically researched guide to the 500 years of Capoeira history.