Welcome to Capoeira Nativos

Here you will find information about capoeira, our group in north London, and around the world. Capoeira means sport, martial art, music and body expression, all at once. It is also good for fitness and to maintain your body and mind in balance. Also, it will help you build good habits.

Our group

The 14th of January, 1992 the group Nativos was created in Bogotá Colombia by Mestre Aranha and Mestre acuatico. The main goal of the group was to maintain capoeira as an expression of art, culture, sport and life style; and to spread it over Colombia and the world. Since it was formed, the group has implemented a number of projects in gyms, schools, universities and organizations in different countries such as Brazil, the UK, USA, Switzerland, Sweden and Argentina. Capoeira Nativos is inspired by Mestre Bimba—and the capoeira movement that he developed (called CAPOEIRA REGIONAL)—mixed with other kinds of movements added along its trajectory. This style is called “Capoeira Contemporanea Regional”

Mestre Aranha tells his story

Joelson Borges de Oliveira (Mestre Aranha) was born in Tumiritinga (Minas Gerais - Brazil), in the bosom of a traditional and humble Brazilian family. From an early age he knew about capoeira and from the start dedicated his life to developing this discipline. As a result of this, along with his thirst for knowledge and his constant desire to travel, he got to know many different parts of the world.

"During his long journey and with his martial style of capoeira, in keeping with his personality, he soon built a reputation and became widely known in all the important capoeira locations"

He started in his home town under the tuition of his first teacher Mestre Acuático, his trainer during his career as a capoeirista. While today, the idea of having a master is synonymous with attending an academy, in those days it wasn’t the case, when neither the styles nor the lines of development had been formulated; capoeira centred at that time around what we call capoeragem or ‘capoeira of the road’. He was no stranger to this evolution of capoeira, typified by constant journeying around every part of Brazil where the berimbau could be heard. His eager pursuit of liberty and the search for his destiny led him to take the decision to set off towards North America at 23 years of age, with the unique distinction of doing this on foot. During his long journey and with his martial style of capoeira, in keeping with his personality, he soon built a reputation and became widely known in all the important capoeira locations: Salvador Bahía, Belo Horizonte, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Manaos, Venezuela, before finally arriving in Colombia, the place that captured him and where he dedicated 18 years to developing the discipline that is his profession.

He gave his first Capoeira classes in Bogotá in the discotheque Saint Amour, later transferring to the gym The Muscle Factory while also promoting the sport in the National Park and the Simón Bolívar Park.

In 1997 he founded Colombia’s first Capoeira Academy in Bogotá, Colombia. During the subsequent years he continued developing the group of which he was founder under the name Nativos de Minas, opening capoeira schools in various parts of Colombia.

Today, Mestre Aranha lives in London, Great Britain, where he runs a successful Capoeira Academy.

Among Mestre Aranha’s accolades are:

Capoeira classes in London

capoeira Nativos-UK has the pleasure to introduce to you our new capoeira project located in north London. Professor est, Japao comes from Bogotá Colombia and has 16 years of experience practicing capoeira. Half of that time he worked on high-risk community projects. He has also been one of the managers of the biggest Capoeira School in Colombia since early 2011, until early 2014. He directed capoeira events and taught classes to children and adults for 3 years. He traveled to Brazil to develop and update his capoeira skills and has a good knowledge of body health and personal training.

Now he’s planning to continue the process started by Mestre Aranha and capoeira Nativos in north London 5 years ago. Come join us!


Here you will found information about capoeira and our group in North London, It's perfect for beginners who never have been in touch with capoeira, intermediates and advanced students.


Mondays 7:30 pm to 9:30 Pm.

Wednesdays from 8pm to 10 Pm.


Muswel Hill

(selected days)


The office studio-bonny st 17-19 NW1 9PE London.

What is Capoeira?

Capoeira is a form of Afro-Brazilian cultural expression encompassing various different facets and originating in Brazil. The best-known of these facets is the martial art aspect, although in fact all the others are equally important: the musical aspect and expression through bodily movements, the oral/linguistic aspect, and the traditional aspect. 

Capoeira is a form of self-expression:

Os negros usavam a Capoeira para defender sua liberdade. Members of the black community use Capoeira  as a means of defending their freedom.

Mestre Pastinha

The most widely accepted origin of the word capoeira comes from the Tupi words ka'a ("jungle") e pûer ("it was"), referring to the areas of low vegetation in the Brazilian interior where fugitive slaves would hide. Practitioners of the art are called capoeiristas.

On 26 November 2014 capoeira was granted a special protected status as "intangible cultural heritage" by UNESCO.

Capoeira nowadays is not only a martial art, but an active exporter of Brazilian culture all over the world. Since the 1970s, capoeira mestres began to emigrate and teach it in other countries. Present in many countries on every continent, every year capoeira attracts to Brazil thousands of foreign students and tourists. Foreign capoeiristas work hard to learn Portuguese to better understand and become part of the art. Renowned capoeira mestres often teach abroad and establish their own schools. Capoeira presentations, normally theatrical, acrobatic and with little martiality, are common sights around the world.

The martial art aspect is still present and still disguised, leading many non-practitioners to ignore its presence. Trickery is ever present and expert capoeiristas can even disguise an attack as a friendly gesture.

Symbol of the Brazilian culture, symbol of the ethnic amalgam that characterizes Brazil, symbol of resistance to the oppression, capoeira definitely changed its image and became a source of pride to Brazilian people. Capoeira is officially considered intangible cultural heritage of Brazil.


The Roda (pronounced [ˈʁodɐ]) is a circle formed by capoeiristas and capoeira musical instruments, where every participant sings the typical songs and claps their hands following the music. Two capoeiristas enter the roda and play the game according to the style required by the musical instruments rhythm. The game finishes when one of the musicians holding a berimbau determine it, when one of the capoeiristas decide to leave or call the end of the game or when another capoeirista interrupts the game to start playing, either with one of the current players or with another capoeirista.

In a roda every cultural aspect of capoeira is present, not only the martial side. Aerial acrobatics are common in a presentation roda, while not seen as often in a more serious one. Takedowns, on the other hand, are common in a serious roda but rarely seen in presentations.

Capoeira Nativos Roda

Usually, in a Capoeira Nativos roda, the intention isn’t to fight. However, you can drag each other in a controlled manner. What determines the intensity of the “jogo” is the berimbau, which can be played in different rhythms such as, Angola and Sao Bento Pequeno where the jogo is more relaxed and filled with mysticism. However, you can also strike, and in some cases, destabilize your opponent. In Sao Bento Pequeno da Regional, which is the most intense rhythm and the “jogo” is more exciting, you may even fight and make each other fall. If the jogo becomes too violent the music is silenced and the jogo ends. Respect in the Roda is very important and whoever is leading, Mestre or professor, should be clear about this with their students and participants. Responsibility, safety and awareness are essential parts of capoeira. As long as you are conscious of the rights and obligations in Roda, you are free to do pretty much anything. Today it’s common that the participants are more focused on doing acrobatic movements rather than in interacting with their opponents. But to have control over the jogo is the most important aspect. You should be able to show that you can dominate the opponent in two ways: mentally and physically, and this will be appreciated by the public and participants.


"a ginga” (the basic step of capoeira) is the most important movement because it defines us as Capoeiristas. Ginga is the base for all other movements. Ginga consists of three positions; basic positions left and right and the parallel position. When we are in the basic position one of our legs is bent forward and the whole foot is on the floor, while the other leg is stretched backwards and only the toes are on the floor. At the same time it helps the ankle to push off to continue the movement flowing into the other leg.

"Ginga can give us advantages if we get used to it, and keep us active in order to quickly respond in any situation, either to attack or defend ourselves"

If we have the right leg forward then we will keep up the left arm to get a good balance and To protect the head, the arm bent over and held in front of the face.

The second position, is about to have a parallel position, then both legs stand forward and bent while your arms held up as protection for the head.


From the parallel position, we start with the other leg back and then repeat the movement to get a constant movement. The movement formers a triangle from the parallel position to the basics position.


"Os ataques" (attacks) the main capoeira attacks are made with the legs, like direct or swirling kicks, rasteiras (leg sweeps), “tesouras” or knee strikes. Elbow strikes, punches and other forms of takedowns complete the main list but they are not usuallty used. The head strike is a very important counter-attack move.

The kicks can be straight as “Martelo”, “Bencao”, “punteira” or circular movements such as the Meia-Lua de Compasso, armada, queixada etc. "A rasteira" (sweep) is a frequently movement. Many argue that it is even best attacking movement. It can be used when you are in an uncomfortable situation during the jogo, and if you use it in the right moment, you can take over jogo and get the control of the situation.


Defense is based on the principle of non-resistance, meaning avoiding an attack using evasive moves instead of blocking it. Avoids are called esquivas, which depend on the direction of the attack and intention of the defender, and can be done standing or with a hand leaning on the floor A block could be made when the esquiva is completely non-viable, you can also use your hands or legs to defend themselves from attack.

A ginga is a very important part in both defense and attack, because it means that you will not be so easily accessible, and often been in ginga mode a contra attack shows up during the jogo.

Finally, there is also "as Cabeçadas" (blow with the head), "floreios" (acrobatics), "tesouras"(nedrivningar), "cotoveladas" (elbow strikes) and so on.

The Batizado

The Batizado (graduation) is a ceremonial “roda” where new students will get recognized as capoeiristas and is very important because they obtain their first graduation. Also, the most experienced students may go up in rank, depending on their skills and knowledge about capoeira. After the batizado we usually have a big party to close the ceremony and to gather with our capoeira partners. This is a good time to meet new friends, and to exchange experiences during the event. In general, the batizado is an international event, where mestres, instructors and students from different countries find each other to teach, develop, and show their capoeira; it is a place to show what they have learned since the last batizado.

Capoeira Nativos graduacoes



Upcoming Events

Here we will share with you when we have special events and workshops.


Prof. Est. Japao / Samir Nuñez

Capoeira teacher, personal trainer.
Group classes, Capoeira shows.

For more information

Please contact Samir:
Tel: 079 80 11 26 70