Learning Portuguese Vocabulary is Essential for Learning Capoeira

Learning Portuguese Vocabulary is Essential for Learning Capoeira

The word capoeira in Portuguese is, well, capoeira and the word describes a mixture of martial arts and dance elements. This may be the extent of what many people know about the sport. You may know what capoeira is but in order to study it, it is important to nail down some basic Portuguese vocabulary to ensure you can keep pace with the development of the art itself. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a list of basic vocabulary to help get you started on the right foot! This post will teach you how to name body parts and how to count in Portuguese, as well as list pronouns and common, basic questions that are used in capoeira. Keep scrolling below for all the details.

Capoeira vocabulary may seem challenging, but with some practice you’ll be able to speak like a true Capoeirista! This article will teach you some of the more common words used in this Brazilian martial art that can help you get started on your journey towards expert status.

Body Parts

cabeca: head

mao: hand

braco: arm

cotovelo: elbow

joelho: knee

perna: leg

pe: foot

Knowing the different names for body parts is important for learning Capoeira. For example, if you know what to call the parts of the body to kick, punch or break, you will become a more skilled practitioner faster. Learning the name for these body parts in Portuguese can help you improve your skill level and help you be understood by your instructor.


um: one

dois: two

tres: three

quatro: four

cinco: five

seis: six

sete: seven (pronounced “setch”)

oito: eight (pronounced “oy-toh”)

nove: nine (pronounced noh-vay)

dez: ten

It’s important for capoeiristas to be able to count to 10 in Portuguese because this martial art uses more exact timing than it may initially seem when it comes to performing effective kicks, punches and other moves that require precision. If you don’t know the number or beat in Portuguese for the move you want to do, you may not get the order right or be able to communicate your intentions to your instructor, which can lead to frustration and a slower learning process. Learning how to count in Portuguese is an essential part of becoming a successful capoeirista.


eu: I

voce: you

ele/ela: he/she

nos: we

It is essential to know these pronouns so that you are accurately referring to others you may speak with in Portuguese. It is a sign of respect to understand these distinctions, both for your conversation partners and for the art of capoeira, in general.


quando: when

onde: where

o que: what

por que: why

quem: who

como: how

You must know how to ask basic questions in Portuguese, especially early in your learning, so that you feel comfortable communicating gaps in your understanding. Once these gaps are filled, your skill level will increase quickly and dramatically.

Learning basic capoeira vocabulary can help you progress more quickly from beginner to expert in this Brazilian martial art. If any of these words seem challenging at first, don’t worry – with some practice they’ll become easy to remember and use correctly. So the next time someone asks “How do I learn capoeira”, you’ll be able to confidently tell them, “I suggest you start with learning some basic capoeira vocabulary.” Then you can teach them what you’ve learned!

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