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  1. #1
    DdlR's Avatar
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    Early film footage of l'agya (capoeira-like MA from Martinique)

    http://memory.loc.gov/cocoon/ihas/lo...3824/full.html

    This is library film footage shot in 1936 by Katherine Dunham, a dance researcher. It shows the Martinequese MA/dance/ritual of l'agya, also known as ladja and as danmye, which is still practiced today. Interesting combination of contact acrobatic kicks and some wrestling throws, and very interesting to compare this to modern Brazilian capoeira.

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    Strange. I dont know if its because of the film that the kicks look fast. And also without the beat, they kinda seem to be spazzing out.

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    I do see the similarity.Strange.

    Is it possible that both styles are originally from the same source?A mother style if you will.

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    I'd say it's highly likely that ladya/danmye and capoeira are related - not necessarily by a single parent style, because many African cultures included acrobatic kicking styles. When France started to colonize continental Africa during the 1800s, they started to produce pictures of African warriors performing capoeira-like kicking techniques.

    Academic theses by Dr. Thomas Desch-Obi and Dr. Robert Farris Thompson have both convincingly shown how traditional African MAs/combat dances/rituals were spread throughout the Americas and the Caribbean via the slave trade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR
    I'd say it's highly likely that ladya/danmye and capoeira are related - not necessarily by a single parent style, because many African cultures included acrobatic kicking styles. When France started to colonize continental Africa during the 1800s, they started to produce pictures of African warriors performing capoeira-like kicking techniques.

    Academic theses by Dr. Thomas Desch-Obi and Dr. Robert Farris Thompson have both convincingly shown how traditional African MAs/combat dances/rituals were spread throughout the Americas and the Caribbean via the slave trade.
    Forgive my ignorance; but what, aside from the name and location, are the significant differences between ladya and caoeira?

    To my uneducated eye these styles appear almost identical. I have seen images of African warriors performing "kicking" techniques - jumping two-footed, but never anything that so closely resembles capoeira.

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    Some of the musical instruments, ritual aspects and terminologies are different; I don't know enough about danmye technique to comment on that, except that it seems to emphasize throwing techniques more than do either Angola or modern Regional style capoeira.

    There's a summary of danmye available in English at http://www.european-schoolprojects.n...htm#historique

    and some more, in French, at http://membres.lycos.fr/jla/ledanmye.htm

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    Thank you for that. Sadly my french is not what it should be so I'll refer only to the link to the article written in English.

    Given the inclusion of music, non-contact "The strokes must be restrained and given without intending to hit" and the dance elements, thiis to the unitiated (me) would appear to be Capoeira. The similarity is referenced in the article "It acts as an incentive on the wrestlers as in Capoeira (Brazil)." when discussing the purpose of percussion.

    If the only significant difference is the inclusion of grappling, does that suggest that perhaps Capoeira may have lost part of its art? I don't think it's unreasonable to explore the hypothesis that these two arts share similar/the same roots. Could, then,
    Damnye have an additional root that incorporates grappling? Or could grappling have been lost by Capoeira?

    Maybe our Capoeiraists on the forum may be able to point us in the direction of references or instances of grappling in their art?

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    In capoeira, contact levels depend on the whys and wheres of the individual game. I've seen video footage of capoeira games in Rio that resemble kickboxing with more evasions than punches, played at full speed and with full contact. Likewise, the ladya/danmye footage is clearly a contact fight, and I've read of danmye matches in which fighters were badly hurt. I assume that the description on the English language page I referenced earlier refers to a milder version.

    Re. capoeira throws, I know that mestre Bimba (who essentially created capoeira Regional) added a series of acrobatic throws as an exercise/display element - they are shown at http://www.gowiththeflow.nl/library/mestrebimba.html . Likewise, contact capoeira games do include leg sweeps, shoulder and back lifts applied as leverage throws against kicks, etc.

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    Great find. Thanks!

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    Talking about the loss of grappling in Capoeira, Capoeiristas of the era just before it's legalisation and systemization (pre-1930s) commonly used bladed weapons. There's no point trying to grab someone who's adept at using a blade! At least this is what I read in Mestre Cobrinha Verde's book (Mestre Cobrinha Verde was a student of Besouro Manganga, a turn of the 20th Century Capoeira master, widely accepted as the greatest Capoeira player Bahia ever produced). Throws came back into Capoeira with the creation of Mestre Bimba's Regional, which combined Capoeira with Batuque, a now extinct Afro-Brazilian martial art whose object was to throw or kick the opponent out of the circle.

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