Techniques – Expressão Paulista

Capoeira techniques

We’re offering a video tutorial with basic capoeira elements. But new kicks, takedowns, moves and acrobatic are better to study under the guidance of a professional trainer. So here you can get a rough idea about the elements and how they should look like.

Basic kicks

You can find more information about basic kicks below:

Meia-lua de frente

Meia Lua de Frente (Front Half Moon) is an outside-inside crescent kick. This kick involves using the hips to generate enough force to bring the foot of the kicking leg across the face of the player. The back leg in the base position goes up and in a crescent towards their opponent to the side. The striking surface is the inner part of the foot. At the same time your arms can do some reversing.

It literally means “hammer”. The kick starts from the base position. Turn the front foot towards the kick, bring the back leg bent at the knee up. The force of the kick sets parallel to the ground. The striking surface is the foot or lower leg.

Meia-lua de compasso

It’s a roundhouse kick with a back leg with reliance on the arms. The meia-lua de compasso is very unique, with the player twisting their arms down between their legs and twisting their hips to kick out in a wide arc. The weight is put on the front leg, the striking leg is straight. You kick with your heel holding the foot parallel to the ground.


The kick starts from the base position. First, you spin your body standing on the front leg towards the kick direction. The weight is put on the front leg, the hips and shoulders are spun till you face another player while the arms are up to protect from punches or other kicks. The striking surface is usually the outside blade of the kicking foot.

Meia-lua de compasso solta

The difference from meia-lua de compasso is that you place only one hand on the floor while the other one protects your head or blocks sweeps.

Chapa de frente

It’s a straight push kick from the base position. In a standing position you throw one leg to the opponent aiming his/her chest or stomach. The front leg is turned towards the kick. The striking surface is the sole of the foot.


It is a straight forward frontal push kick from the base position. The striking surface is the whole foot. It’s aimed at the abdominal or chest area.


It is a deceptive attack that starts off in the same way as a martelo or roundhouse kick, but it has a reversed direction. The kick is performed by bending the leg at the knee. The striking surface is the heel or the foot.


It’s a straight kick with the back leg from the base position. The striking surface is the front part of the foot. It’s aimed the abdominal area of an opponent.

Queixada direta

First turn the body into “kebra” position, make a step to the front with the back leg, spin the body towards the kick starting from the head and shoulders. The striking surface is the blade of the kicking foot.

Queixada de avanço

The difference from Queixada is movig to “kebra” position. You do a long step forward with the back leg to close the distance while attacking.

Basic escapes

The defense in capoeira is usually based on dodging from the kicks rather than blocking them.


One of the simplest defense movements. With the feet flat on the ground the player squats with the knees to the chest so as to close the body and covers the side of the torso and head with one hand while the other is flat and to the side for support.


is used to negate an attack by going low to the ground on one’s side, with the foot hooking the opponent’s leg, supporting one’s body weight with the hand, with the upper arm in a location to protect the face.

Negativa de avanço

The movement is similar to the previous one, but it’s done with a back leg sub-step forward and changing sides.

Rasteira em pe

It’s an escape with hooking the opponent’s front leg.

Rasteira de avanço

The movement is similar to rasteira em pe, but it’s done with a back leg sub-step forward and changing sides.

Esquiva lateral

It’s an escape aside from roundhouse kicks. One hand is placed on the ground, the other one protects the body which is turned towards the opponent.

Esquiva de segunda

Going down from the base position by placing one hand on the ground.

Escala com rasteira

Going down, the front leg is at a 45-degree angle to the opponent, supporting one’s body weight with legs and an arm, the second hand is protecting the head.

Basic floreios

Floreios (port. Floreios – decorations) – are acrobatic elements in capoeira. Floreios are typically used to show physical capabilities of the players and add more beauty to a game. Unlike kicks and escapes, there is no canonical variant of any acrobatic stunt, there are many variations of the same movements.


Au is more generally known as a cartwheel. It differs a bit from the traditional cartwheel because of their different intentions. The only one requirement while doing it is fixing eyes on an opponent (not on the floor like in gymnastics)

Au por cima

Au por cima is a back cartwheel (also named “Arabic front wheel”). While doing it the pelvis and the body should be turned up (while doing a regular cartwheel the body is turned “to the side”).

Au agulha

Au agulha is a cartwheel with a turn and simultaneous putting feet on the floor.

Au de role

Au de role – is a cartwheel that goes to “escala” position and finishes through a role.


S-dobrado is the generic name for a series of motions that takes a capoeirista from a low position to whip one leg across the floor in a half circle, then kick up his legs and invert on to his hands and then land back on his feet and stand.


Parafuso is a flying kick with two legs, also named armada com martelo as it’s a combined motion of armada and martelo.


Macaquinho is similar to a back handspring with the exception of starting with one hand planed behind he capoerista, it is low and starts from a “squatting down” position. It’s a combined motion of an arm swing and a push-off with two legs.

Bico de papagaio

Bico de papagaio – a “parrot’s beak”. It’s a one hand balance with the kicking leg next to the head and the other leg is held at the top. There is also f “closed” variant when both legs are to the body.