Capoeira is Afro-Brazilian martial art form that has earned international notoriety for its beauty and the skills required of its practitioners. Because capoeira requires a combination of dance, acrobatics and fighting skills, those who practice must exceed physical strength and cultivate endurance, flexibility, and intuition. The music played and sung by the capoeiristas provides the rhythm for the games while capoeiristas create a dialogue of movements.
The appeal of the game and its philosophy is so widespread that is now practiced around the world. Because capoeira was practiced in secret for many years, its definite origins remain elusive. Most researchers agree that capoeira emerged among the African slaves in Brazil in the 16th and 17th centuries as a means of fight training. Unlike slave masters in the northern hemisphere, masters in Brazil permitted the slaves to sing and dance. Eventually, Brazilian slave masters felt threaten by the slaves' games and the fight aspects that was camouflaged by the dance and music.
The beauty its players created in the "roda" (or circle) allowed the game to survive. After the slavery's abolition in 1888, capoeira was outlawed until the 1930's because it had become a lethal martial art. Once these laws were repealed, the Brazilian government recognized capoeira as Brazil's only true sport.