Saturday, April 11, 2009

Capoeira in MMA? It IS Possible...

Jon (one of my esteemed martial arts colleagues) and I were recently debating the effectiveness of Capoeira (a Brazilian martial arts with African connections) as a fighting style. He had mentioned that he had heard that it was being used effectively as a contact fighting style on a martial arts documentary he'd seen. Given what I had seen of Capoeira, mostly from my experiences in the stunt industry, I found it hard to believe that it would be all that useful in real fighting context. Capoeira, for the most part, is taught as a demonstration style martial art with fancy kicks and gymnastic tricks.

Here is an example of how Capoeira the way it is typically practiced:



After my inconclusive discussion with Jon, I turned to YouTube to find examples of how it was being used in the ring. The first fight I found was pretty much what I was expecting... though apparently it's from the movie 'Never Back Down.' Check it out:



While I found this example amusing, a Capoeira fighter would pretty much have to be an idiot, to show off like that mid-fight. This next fight, a real one, happened only a few days ago. It features a Capoeira fighter from my local Vancouver, BC, using it far more effectively.



Any martial art has the potential to be effective in the ring or on the street... as long as you fully understand its weaknesses and limitations in addition to its strengths. In my opinion, it is true that some arts may lend themselves better to certain contexts and therefore can be learned to a usable level of skill more quickly in those contexts. That being said, if you devote years or decades to learning a martial art, even one that may appear less practical for those contexts, it can have the potential to be equally effective, despite their limitations. People like Lyoto Machida have founded impressive MMA careers based on this kind of devotion.

7 comments:

markstraining.com said...

This is the beauty of martial arts and what a lot of MMA fighters dont understand. Any technique can be efffective if used at the right time. This spinning back roundhouse in the bottom vid hit at the right time and caused a knockout. It could have been a hook punch, spinning backfist or anoother kick. As long as it hits hard and is effective at the right time, why can it not be used! Good post.

Gaz said...

Afraid your middle video isn't real Lori, it's from a film called "Never back down"

Lori O'Connell said...

Gaz, thanks for telling me. I'll alter the post to reflect. Much appreciated.

Duncan Seward said...

The guy had his hands down while his opponent was throwing kicks at his head. He set himself up for the knock out.

Lori O'Connell said...

True enough, but it is pretty cool that the Capoeira fighter used his style to do the job.

I do also think that his opponent wasn't sure how to react to the odd style of movement and was, as a result, rather distracted.

Colin Wee said...

The guy had his hands down while his opponent was throwing kicks at his head. He set himself up for the knock out.Not true. Before the first spinning heel kick his hands were up and he was fairly well guarded. After the first kick his hands dropped because the opponent's body was deceptively low. However, the second kick could still reach head high because of the hip position - which is irrespective of how low the body is. But yes, the hands came down and then he caught it in the side of the head. Colin

gyia said...

Capoeira has a long history in the MMA. It's a kind of new thing in the USA, but they always tested themself in Brasil in the Vale tudo (mma in brrasil) You can check the capoeira in mma on the bloodyelbow.com. Use the search on the site.