Capoeira Belts

“Capoeira belts & ranking system”

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Capoeira Belts – Ranking System

Because of its origin, Capoeira has never had unity or a general agreement for a ranking system. Graduation style changes a lot depending of the group’s traditions. Mestre Bimba was the first to establish a graduation system in the 1930s. He used silk scalfs to separate his students, based on their skill and experience.

Some capoeira groups have a ranking system and typically use cords or ropes (called cordéis or cordões in Portuguese) tied around the waist using different colors. Some masters use different systems, or even no system at all.

Capoeira regional and capoeira contemporânea groups tend to use cords, whereas capoeira angola groups do not. The cord system in capoeira is not standardized and many groups have a different order of colors. Some follow the colors of the Brazilian flag, such as the Confederação Brasileira de Capoeira (Brazilian Capoeira Confederation), which has tried to unify the graduation system and setup a graduation system.

Even though it’s widely used, with many small variations, many big and influential groups still use different systems. Even the Confederação Brasileira de Capoeira is not widely accepted as the Capoeira’s representative.

Different groups have different requirements for advancement to the next cord level. Some of the strictest groups actually test their students in fitness, movements, game, music, and knowledge of the art’s history and philosophy. However, some capoeira groups either have loose requirements for each cord level, or leave it up to the instructor to simply decide when each student is ready to receive the next cord. Students usually receive their cords at an event called a batizado (baptism) or troca de cordões (changing of cords).

Confederação Brasileira de Capoeira’s ranking system

Beginner: no cord
Baptized: green
Graduated: yellow
Graduated: blue
Intermediate: green and yellow
Advanced: green and blue
Trainee: yellow and blue

Advanced adult graduation – Teacher of Capoeira

Formed: green, yellow and blue
Monitor: green and white
Teacher: yellow and white
Contra-mestre: blue and white
Mestre: white

Children’s graduation (until 14 years old) – the same as the basic graduation, but adding the grey color. After completing it, if the child is still under 14, he’ll earn the green adult graduation.

Initial cordas can be earned in less than a year. Advanced cordas, notably the ones for contra-mestre and mestre, take several years and a deep understanding of Capoeira techniques and culture to be earned.

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