There is no written history of the early stages of Capoeira. However, the folklore suggests that because the slaves developed Capoeira as a fighting system to escape from the plantations into the surrounding forest. Because they were not allowed to train to fight, they disguised Capoeira as a dance, by practicing to the accompaniment of musical instruments. Whether or not this story is true, many of the rituals and traditions from Africa still seen today in the movements and body language of modern day Capoeiristas. Undoubtedly, Capoeira arose, at least in part, due to the need to establish a common cultural reference between Africans of different origins, all of which would have been suffering from being out of their natural environment, to survive as individuals within a multiethnic community.
Mestre Gato began training Capoeira in 1963 with a small group of friends that would later become the founders of Grupo Senzala in 1966. Grupo Senzala de Capoeira is based on the techniques of Capoeira Regional developed by Mestre Bimba while drawing on other influences, including movements from Capoeira Angola and Capoeira from Rio de Janeiro.
Grupo Senzala de Capoeira is represented in many different countries including Brazil, US, UK, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, the Basque Country, Serbia, Indonesia, Portugal and Australia.
Professor Risco (Marcos) has a Master’s degree in Sports Science. Under the guidance of Mestre Gato, for the last 20 years Marcos has been practising, teaching and promoting Capoeira around the world including, Cambridge (UK), Seattle (US), Washington DC (US), Lisboa (Portugal), and Melbourne (Australia).
Risco has moved to Melbourne in 2015 where he has been teaching a new Senzala Capoeira branch. Or as he likes to say: “Planting one more Capoeira seed”.
In his classes Risco emphasizes a strong technical foundation and exposure to a rich variety of movements to help students realize their potential and develop their own voice within the art form.