Who we are and where we come from
Monitor Pavão began training capoeira at the age of 17 on his own by mimicking the style from what he had seen in media. As a life long martial artist he had been fascinated by the art form and was determined to incorporate it into his repertoire. While training himself in the soccer field of his high school a Brazilian student notice him and informed him of what it was that he was poorly and unsuccessfully attempting to perform. She brought him to a studio and introduced him to the world renowned Lateef Crowder and from that day he was mesmerized by the art. He later found a group of capoeiristas that had created a club group at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Later on the group was officially headed up by then Graduado Maluco who had come to Albuquerque to formally establish the UCA group known as Capoeira Pegadas. From here Pavão moved to Phoenix Arizona, his hometown, where he began to train and teach with the help of the Tucson UCA chapter Capoeira Malandragem. Continuing to promote the artform even while in the US Marine corps, Pavão was able to keep up with his fitness regiment and further his martial arts knowledge. After he returned to Phoenix and began training again, he found that he had the opportunity and privilege to train with the renowned Grupo Axé Capoeira under the direct guidance of Mestrando Jay 'Camara" Spain. This period in his training helped to shape his style to a new technique and presented him the chance to learn to mold his game to others while committing to a focus on the elite performance aspect that the group is known for. After a period of about 4 years he was contacted by UCA Tucson's knew leader Besouro and asked if the prospect of opening a Phoenix chapter was of interest to him. He accepted this gracious offer and began teaching with the help of an assistant instructor Carlos "Primo" Herrera. Monitor Pavão is now working to further his own training and that of others through both private and semiprivate instruction and works in cooperation with numerous groups and practitioners around the country to do so. His love for the game and the culture is unquestionable and he is always willing to share his experience with those interested in learning.
Contramestre Maluco began capoeira in 1992 under (at the time) instructor Amunka and Mestre Rony. he started right here in Ukiah at the redwood health club. his father took him to his first lesson in hopes of giving him something to do to keep him out of trouble. Mario Ackerberg was given his apellido or nickname within the first week for trying to do a back flip off the wall while repeatedly landing on his neck. “Maluco” means crazy which may seem obvious after that stunt.
Maluco went off to Albuquerque New Mexico for two years in 2001 and opened up his first capoeira school “Capoeira Pegadas”. He graduated to “professor” in 2002, a title which allows one to break away from the parent school and teach unsupervised. In 2012 Professor Maluco became Contramestre Maluco — the next rung on the ladder to becoming “Mestre” which is the highest level you can attain in capoeira.
Contramestre Maluco is currently living and teaching in Ukiah after a 7yr stint at the United Capoeira Association headquarters in Berkeley. he is grateful that he was able to be there when his first teacher Amunka Davila received his cordoes (belt/level) of professor, contramestre, and mestre and also that the late Mestre Amunka was there to witness his own graduation to contramestre in 2012.
Ubirajara Almeida, a student of legendary Mestre Bimba, is an author, musician, historian, and most importantly, an iconic capoeira master. One of the early pioneers to bring Capoeira to the western United States in the late 1970's. Today Mestre Acordeon runs the Berkeley headquarters of the United Capoeira Association, a capoeira organization that has various schools across the US, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and academies in Brazil. Mestre Acordeon has been a guide for many generations of capoeiristas across the world in his nearly 60 years of dedication to this incredible art. In September of 2013, Mestre Acordeon, Mestra Suelly, and a group of students embarked on a historic, year long, journey from Berkeley, CA to Bahia, Brazil by bicycle. Mestre Acordeon's goal was to capture on film the diversity of the different capoeira communities along his route, to see not only the way that capoeira can be a tool for personal transformation, but also to see how the diverse cultures affect the evolution of capoeira. The B2B crew returned in October of 2014 and the soon to be released documentary of this journey is currently in production.
"Capoeira is a tool to make people better human beings"
- Mestre Acordeon
From Mestre Besouro himself:
I went to my first class in 1998 hoping only to find a fun activity to help maintain my overall fitness as I had previously achieved in the Marine Corp, I found more than I had anticipated. I immediately felt the passion, the beauty, and rhythms of Afro-Brazilian culture, along with the art, philosophy, and physical challenge of Capoeira. Over the last twenty-two years, I have dedicated myself to improving my skills as a capoerista and helping the ever growing community of United Capoeira Association.
In the early stages of my search for capoeira, I traveled throughout North America and Brazil attending several batizados & Troca de Cordas, shows and performances to further understand and increase his knowledge of the artform of capoeira. A Batizado (literally baptism in Portuguese, and borrowed from the religious tradition) is normally an annual event for a Capoeira group in a region or country. The practice of Capoeira Batizados originates from Capoeira Regional, but has been widely used by Capoeira Contemporânea groups.
After my first trip abroad to Brazil, my eyes were opened up to the idea that Capoeira was not only a martial art, but much more than that. It is a way of life. Throughout my travels in capoeira, I have had the opportunity to meet, train, play and get to know some of the most well-known teachers and mestres in the world of Capoeira including Mestre Acordeon. I received my training under the supervision and mentorship of Contramestre Dondi, a student of the renowned capoeira teacher, Mestre Acordeon of the United Capoeira Association.
Mestre Dondi “Exnu” Marble has been instructing variuos forms of martial art since 1974. In 1996,His capoeira training in Brazil and all over the Western United States has allowed Mestre Dondi “Enxu” to successfully establish different academies in Arizona and in other parts of the world. By bringing this art form to a smaller city such as Tucson, he is encouraging and influencing a diverse group of people from all ages to open their minds and free their spirits. Students from all backgrounds and cultures can participate in Capoeira and begin at any time. The classes range from teaching young children, to the most specialized Capoeira and all are encouraged as long as they maintain the passion for the game and culture.
Mestre Dondi believed that in order for his students to fully appreciate this art form
“You must free your mind and your ass will follow!”