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About Us

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What is Capoeira?

Capoeira is a dynamic expression with origins as a form of martial arts and fighting in Brazil, capoeira combines martial arts, music, acrobatics and dance. Developed in Brazil primarily by African descendants with native Brazilian influences, beginning in the 16th century, it is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed and leverage for a wide variety of kicks, spins, feints, and highly mobile techniques. Practitioners or, Capoeiristas develop a great deal of flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular endurance. 

During a game of capoeira (the Jogo) Capoeiristas explore their strengths and weaknesses, fears and fatigue in a sometimes frustrating, but nevertheless enjoyable and challenging process of personal expression, self-reflection, and growth. ​​

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United Capoeira Association

The UCA (United Capoeira Association) was born in the vision of Mestre Acordeon and Mestre Rã to create an organization where they could work together with similar philosophical ideals and yet preserve their own identities. Some of their American students then began teaching capoeira in different locations under the umbrella of UCA. As many capoeiristas and capoeira schools have embraced the system of "groups" as the paradigm of a capoeira organization, this strategy has proven to be very positive for the growth and survival of capoeira.

However, Mestre Acordeon is from a time when the concept of "group" was yet to be developed; therefore, UCA is not a group as understood in the capoeira context nor is it interested in many "chapters." UCA strives to be a community of students which appreciates and respects the collective work developing for all capoeira tendencies and approaches in Brazil and beyond.

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Instructor Primo

Instructor Carlos “Primo” Herrera began practicing Capoeira 2002 in Tucson, AZ under the leadership and instruction of the late Mestre Enxu. After moving to Metro Phoenix in 2015, Primo founded, United Capoeira Association-Phoenix, AZ (Capoeira Phoenix), a collaboration with UCA-Tucson, AZ (Capoeira Quilombolas). Primo is currently lead Instructor of Capoeira Phoenix.

Our Mestres

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Mestre Acordeon

Mestre Acordeon is a native of Salvador, Bahia, and is one the most notable personalities in the martial art Of Capoeira.

He was a legendary student of Mestre Bimba and won several Brazilian National championships in the 1970s. Acordeon founded the Grupo Folclorico da Bahia in 1966 which greatly impacted capoeira at the time. He has founded several capoeira schools, including the Associação K-poeira with Mestre Onça in São Paulo (1968).

Mestre Acordeon was one of the first capoeira pioneers in the United States (1978), introducing it on the West Coast. He currently maintains his academy in Berkeley, California with Mestre Rã, and Mestra Suelly, the United Capoeira Association. The UCA has several associated schools in the US and Mexico. A great capoeirista, talented speaker and a consummate musician, Acordeon has recorded seven capoeira CDs and is the author of various magazine articles and books about capoeira, including Agua de Beber, Camará: A bate Papo de Capoeira. His book Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form, is one of the few capoeira books in English

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Mestre Ra

Cassio Marthino has been playing capoeira for over 40 years.  He began his capoeira path in his hometown of Jundiaí, SP, Brazil with Mestre Tarzan and Mestre Galo.  After both Mestre Tarzan and Mestre Galo left Jundiaí, Mestre Rã founded his group Capoeira Idalina as homage to his grandmother that inspired him to learn capoeira.  In June of 1988, Mestre Rã moved to the US where he befriended Mestre Acordeon and the seeds that lead to the founding of the United Capoeira Association were born. Mestre Rã has performed and taught all over the world. Currently, Mestre Rã is back in his hometown of Junidaí where Capoeira Idalina is thriving.  His focus is to attend to the needs of at risk children from the favelas of Jundiai.  

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Mestra Suelly

Suellen Einarsen, the first American woman to earn the title of mestre in 2000, has played a vital role for women in Capoeira. Her humility is boundless, and her grace and fluidity are unmatched.  She is an ever present inspiration to capoeiristas around the world.  She began her career in capoeira in 1982 as a part of Mestre Acordeon's first generation of students in the U.S.  As an accomplished performer in the Joe Goode Performance Group in the 80's, Mestra Suelly was one of the early dancers to incorporate capoeira movements into her modern/contemporary dance.  Mestra Suelly has been interviewed by numerous journalists in an effort to expand awareness of capoeira here in the United States.  

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Mestre Dondi Enxu

Since 1974, the late, Mestre Dondi “Enxu” Marble began teaching martial arts from Escrima to Muay Thai.

After having practiced Capoeira under Mestre Acordeon in Brazil and all over the Western United States, in 1996 Mestre Dondi “Enxu” established Capoeira Malandragem, UCA Tucson, AZ

With bringing Capoeira to Tucson, he encouraged and influenced a diverse group of people of all ages, cultures, religions and Social backgrounds to open their minds and free their spirits to create community, comradery, and share Capoeira to the Tucson community and beyond.

After hundreds teaching Capoeira to hundreds of students and touching and even many more lives, it is an understatement to say Mestre Enxu excelled in understanding people. In understanding that people may seek Capoeira for one aspect or another, but whether it be the dance, acrobatics, music, or self-defense, he was always able to get the best out of his students and ensured they grew as well rounded capoeristas.


” When you’re doing this…… to free your mind, sing the songs, then you don’t think about the pain, about the heat.”

 -Mestre Dondi Enxu


”It’s what the mouth takes in, it’s what you live and breathe. If I’m driving down the road, it’s capoeira, if I’m reading, it’s capoeira. It’s everything I see and do. It’s my guiding force. It’s how I treat everybody day to day. It’s my way of living.”

 -Mestre Dondi Enxu

United Capoeira Assoc. Tucson, AZ

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UCA-Tucson, AZ's Contramestre Besouro, Contramestre Cavalheiro, and Professor Meninão bring passion, experience, and expertise to make sure students develop concrete skills, reach their goals and their true potential. For competition, fitness, or fun, UCA-Tucson, AZ is also dedicated to promoting and teaching Mestre Acordeon‘s principles of Capoeira as a living example of Brazilian folklore and culture. For Tucson classes please visit. TucsonCapoeira.org

Weekly Classes

Monday

Capoeira Essentials

7 pm - 8:30pm

Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy, 511 W Guadalupe Rd Suite 12 Gilbert, AZ 85233

Event Details

Monday

Capoeira Essentials

During these classes students will learn about the history, culture, basic movements, defenses, kicks, feints, and simple acrobatics/tumbling.

7 pm - 8:30pm

Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy, 511 W Guadalupe Rd Suite 12 Gilbert, AZ 85233

Wednesday

Capoeira All-Levels (whites and Cordas)

6pm - 7:30pm

Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy, 511 W Guadalupe Rd Suite 12 Gilbert, AZ 85233

Event Details

Wednesday

Capoeira All-Levels (whites and Cordas)

During these classes students will learn about the history, culture, basic movements, defenses, kicks, feints, and simple acrobatics/tumbling.

6pm - 7:30pm

Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy, 511 W Guadalupe Rd Suite 12 Gilbert, AZ 85233

Pricing

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Capoeira Phoenix

Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy, 511 W Guadalupe Rd Suite 12 Gilbert, AZ 85233

(480) 340-2495 (520) 399-5671

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