In class and in the Roda, you will hear four main types of rhythms, each associated with a particular style of the game.
More than just a rhythm, Angola is Capoeira in its most historical, raw form; it constitutes its own, completely exclusive genre. Capoeira Angola is the mother of Capoeira Regional, the rhythm is slow, and the games are extremely expressive, low to the ground, and ritualistic. Games are long, and involve mental concentration as much as physical skill. Mandinga, essentially trickiness or cleverness, is fundamental in Angola. At Capoeira Brasil, a student does not begin to learn Angola until he or she is at an intermediate level in their training.
This game was developed by Manoel dos Reis Machado, the famous Mestre Bimba, creator of Capoeira Regional. Banguela is a medium-paced rhythm, a game where Capoeiristas test each other, play close and develop more complex, intricate movement combinations. Capoeiristas playing to this rhythm focus on their swing and graceful yet quick reflex. They come in close to mark takedowns and distance themselves for flourishes, all with ease and fluidity. As a beginner you will first learn to play to the Banguela rhythm.
This is a fast, much more aggressive game. Capoeiristas move quickly, using the same types of kicks, takedowns, and acrobatics as in a Banguela game, but much faster, more martial and dynamic. This is also the game in which players may explore the “fight” of Capoeira. A player’s reflexes must be sharp, in order to react quickly to the fast and powerful kicks and also be able to counter-attack in the same fashion. Beginners typically do not play the Regional rhythm.
Following the tradition of capoeira Regional the game of Iúna is extremely technical. Only the most graduated students of the group are permitted to play this game in the presence of their mestre. It is a game in which the Capoeirista demonstrates acrobatic skill, balance, strength, and agility. The berimbau rhythm is accompanied only by the atabaque and pandeiro and applause follows each game. Mestre Bimba created this game to show that Capoeiristas could land on their feet no matter how they fall.