What is a Batizado and what to expect!

TLDR (too long didn’t read)

What is a batiazado you ask! A batizado is your introduction into Capoeira during your first event when you receive your first chord. Graduation events after that are called “Troca de Cordões”, but we usually just call them all Batizados for short. They happen usually once per year and include workshops, roads, and other activities for the Capoeira community.

Receiving your first chord involves playing a Mestre. This mestre is usually referred to as your “Padrinho”, or a God-father who helps introduce you to the world of Capoeira. After your game, you receive your new chord.

Keep in mind that these chords are hand-made by your teacher, so treasure them.

Here is a promo video with footage from our 2019 Batizado:

Origins of the Batizado

Mestre Bimba was one of the first Capoeiristas to embrace the ritual of graduating a student to the next level. Previously, students would simply improve without any expectation of receiving a new chord.

Metre Bimba invented the scarf (lenço) system, which was scarves of different colors meant to represent your proficiency in different aspects of Capoeira:

The Bimba Lenços / Scarves

  • Blue – Graduado. This scarf was received after about 6 -12 months of training. This indicated that you were an advanced student and understood the fundamentals of Mestre Bimba’s training system. The majority of this training included the 8 sequences of Mestre Bimba.
  • Red – “Emboscada” (Literally translates to “ambush”). Mestre bimba created an ambush training course, which included going into the woods and needing to move from point A to point B while being ambushed by multiple attackers with weapons. This training was later used by the Brazilian Army to train their soldiers.
  • Yellow – Weapons training. After receiving the Red Lenço, you could further specialize by learning to defend yourself against knives and switchblades. These were very common in the early 1900’s, which made it very desirable for the student to know.
  • White – Mestre Charangueiro. The white scarf was the Mestre Charanguerio (the master of the bateria). This was not a mestre level scarf. It was simply meant to show that you were capable of playing all the instruments in the bateria (called a Charanga in Capoeira Regional).

Our graduation system

The following graduation system is based on the Brazilian flag, which is 1 of the 2 most popular graduation systems. The other graduation system is based off of the colors associated with the Orixas, gods of many enslaved Africans of Brazil.

For an in depth look at the Capoeira Graduation system, check out this deep dive:

Currently, Capoeira de Valor has the following graduation color system:

Students Chords

The “in-between” chords (below) may or may not be given. this will depend on the students and the teacher. Students may also teach Capoeira classes, but this depends on the student and the teacher.

  • Green 4-12 months
  • Green-Green-Yellow (in-between)
  • Green-Yellow 1 – 2 years
  • Green-Yellow-Yellow (in-between)
  • Yellow 3-4 years
  • Yellow-Yellow-Blue (in-between)
  • Yellow-Blue (Monitor / advanced student) 5 – 7 years
  • Yellow-Blue-Blue (Monitor2 / advanced student level 2 – optional)

Teacher Chords

The blue belt is the beginning of the teacher belts and is often considered the last “student” chord. Professors are often “formado”, which roughly translates to “graduate”. Being a professor and up, there is an expectation for you to teach and spread the knowledge you have been given. This is a transition to an elder who passes down knowledge to others.

The Contra-mestre is historically an honorific title given to the “right-hand” of the Mestre (master) of the group. Contra-mestres are Mestres in training. Getting ready to manage several students, teachers, and locations.

Mestre translates into “master”. Mestre Acordeon, student of Mestre Bimba once said that becoming a Mestre is like starting all over again into a whole new world.

  • Blue (Instrutor) 6 – 10 years
  • Blue-Yellow-Green (Professor) 10+ years
  • Blue-Yellow-Green White (Contra-Mestre) 15+ years
  • Green-White (Mestre level 1)
  • Yellow-White (Mestre Level 2)
  • Blue-White (Mestre Level 3)
  • White (Grão Mestre)

What to expect at the Batizado

  • Length: Usually 1 – 3 days
  • Number of workshops: This will depend on the length of the event. Saturdays are usually heavy days and can have up to 4 workshops.
  • Rodas: Several rodas are held during the event and are great ways to play with people outside of your group. Always try to play with others outside of your group! This is some of the best practice you can get.
  • Performances: Many Batizados have performances that YOU can participate in.
  • Samba / maculele / puxada de rede / etc.
  • Often people go out after to celebrate the event.

How to prepare for the batizado

  • Bring water
  • Bring a snack
  • Have ready a change of clothing.
  • Bring footwear that you can do Capoeira in. In case there are activities outside or if you get any blisters.
  • Bring your uniform as well as some casual athletic wear just in case. Batizados are held with everyone in uniform. But some days may be casual, which means you can wear any athletic wear, which should include some long pants.
  • Organize if you need housing with someone (ask the organizer). this is VERY common in Capoeira. Event organizers and their students often offer to house several people so they can come to the event from out of the region.

What is required to attend

  • A uniform, which includes your Abadas (white Capoeira pants), and a uniform shirt (white), and your chord if you have one.
  • Pro tip: Register early and pay for the event in advance (early bird pricing is best)
  • Volunteer where able. Helping at the front desk is a good way to meet people. Try to come early and help set up. It doesn’t require much more effort, but it makes a big difference for the person organizing!
  • If this is your event, greet people coming out of town. See someone new? Introduce yourself, remember their name, and ask how they are doing. You would want the same if you were coming from out of town. In summary, be a good host.
  • If this is someone else’s event, greet the organizer if they are not running around like a headless chicken. Greet people as you see them. Coming early makes it way easier to meet people.