In part one, we looked at the early life and training of Mestre Bimba—Manuel dos Reis Machado—now we look at how he established Capoeira Regional as a legit style in 1936.
PROVING REGIONAL IS THE GREATEST
There are other native martial arts in Brazil: luta livre, Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Foreign martial arts have found a home in the country. The stigma of capoeira was lifting, Regional style was under fire. Criticism came from within the capoeira community in part because of hand strikes. Mestre Bimbo sought to establish his style as the essential Brazilian combat art and issued open challenges to all fighters. He would face and defeat four opponents but it would be his defeat of Vitor Benedito Lopes that rose the question again. A local police chief by the name of Lucio de Tal bet money on the fight and lost.
By most accounts, Bimba was ambushed by Lopes and a group of police officers with swords. He would end up disarming everyone and knocking them all out. Bimba’s account is that it wasn’t an ambush at all. It starts with the police officers being drunk, disorderly, and harming people. He steps in to help a victim and ends up in a fight which results in the police all being knocked out.
The next summer, Bimba’s school is certified by the state. It is worth noting that the school was located in the same general area as mestre Vicente Ferreira Pastinha’s school. This rival school taught Capoeira Angola and students occasionally clashed in rodas.
LEGACY AND CULTURAL INFLUENCE
The 1940s and 1950s saw a lot of growth for Capoeira Regional. Bimba opens another school in the early 1940s. In July 1953 he showcased the style to President Getulio Dorneles Vargas. Of Mestre Bimba’s style, he called it the most purely Brazilian sport. He personally trained the Brazilian army, police, and many politicians and future fighters.
Mestre Bimbo passed away February 5, 1974, at the age of 74.
-Mestre Bimba documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6nlbB6DLoQ
-1954 Demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIMUA0z8R78