20 Facts About Mestre Bimba


Manuel dos Reis Machado, commonly called Mestre Bimba, was a Brazilian capoeira mestre .

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Mestre Bimba founded the capoeira regional school, one of the art's two main branches.

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Mestre Bimba's mother bet that he was going to be a girl and the midwife bet he would be a boy; after he was delivered, the midwife revealed that he was a boy by pointing between his legs at his bimba.

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Mestre Bimba started learning capoeira when he was 12 years old, with a Capitao da Companhia Baiana de Navegacao from Estrada das Boiadas in Salvador, called Bentinho, even though in those days capoeira was still being persecuted by the authorities.

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At 18, Mestre Bimba felt that capoeira had lost all its efficacy as a martial art and an instrument of resistance, becoming a folkloric activity reduced to nine movements.

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Mestre Bimba was the first to create a method of teaching to help facilitate learning because, until then, capoeira was only learned by watching and participating in the roda.

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Mestre Bimba is known to have studied the method of capoeira teachers like Mestre Sinhozinho, Mario Aleixo and Anibal "Zuma" Burlamaqui, who mixed capoeira with martial arts like judo, boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling and Portuguese stick-fighting.

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Mestre Bimba's students had to wear a clean, white uniform, show proof of grade proficiency from school, exercise discipline, show good posture and many other standards.

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Mestre Bimba was not completely against accepting exceptionally poor students, but only when they showed talent or attitude.

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In 1936, Mestre Bimba challenged fighters of any martial art style to test his regional style in a fight, which would be hosted under the boxing-like ruleset innovated by fellow capoeirista Anibal Burlamaqui.

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Mestre Bimba won all matches, and received the nickname of "Tres Pancadas", meaning he only need three strikes at most to finish an opponent.

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Mestre Bimba taught capoeira to the army and at the police academy.

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Mestre Bimba answered by saying capoeira regional was for self-defense, not for fighting under sport rules.

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Mestre Bimba's school lost all the matches by either submission or knockout, with the main event being with his student Jurandir being defeated by carioca Luiz "Cirandinha" Aguiar.

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Mestre Bimba managed to recover the original values within capoeira, which were used amongst the black slaves centuries before him.

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For Mestre Bimba, capoeira was a fight but "competition" should be permanently avoided since he believed it was a "cooperation" fight, where the stronger player was always responsible for the weaker player and helped him to excel in his own fighting techniques.

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Mestre Bimba strongly believed capoeira had an extraordinary value as a self-defense martial art, hence his efforts to develop its learning in a structured and methodical way.

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Mestre Bimba developed a capoeira teaching method with commandments, principles and traditions, which are still part of the capoeira regional up to this day.

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Mestre Bimba established his own capoeira principles as the basis for his capoeira teaching method:.

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Consequently, Mestre Bimba created several traditions and rituals to support his methodology:.

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