“In order to become an Instructor, Teacher or Mestre, you must dedicate many years of hard work. It won’t happen overnight, but if is what you want, you can achieve it. Often you meet your challenges when you follow your dreams or passions. Capoeira must never become only hard work, it is the joy of playing that keeps the game alive.”
Students develop differently over the years. Promotions are not based only on the amount of time a student spends in class, but also on the skill level of that student. So two students who have trained for the same amount of time may not receive the same cord at a Batizado. This is why there are overlaps in the number of years it takes to receive a cord, the graduation process is subjective.
Crua (Raw): Beginner level. Students begin their Capoeira training at this level. The phrase, crua, or raw, signifies growth potential rather than being seen as inexperienced.
Yellow/Raw: Transition to Yellow.
Yellow: Students demonstrate a basic understanding of the Capoeira game and have a basic knowledge of the movements, such as kicks and ground techniques, as well as music. Students know the choruses to many songs and have begun playing instruments.
Orange/Raw: Transition cord to Orange.
Orange: Beginner/Intermediate level. Students have a deeper understanding of the Capoeira game, utilising many different kick, ground, and acrobatic combinations. At this level, students are also capable of leading a song during a roda and playing the instruments with increasing skill.
Blue/Red: Students earn the title of Monitor at this level and begin learning how to teach kids and beginner adults. As Capoeiristas, they fully incorporate a large variety of advanced movements including acrobatics, strength movements and takedowns. They have a large repertoire of songs and can play all instruments.
Blue: Students at this level earn the title of Graduado. Students enter a new stage of Capoeira as they are assessed not only on their physical ability but also on their teaching, commitment to the art and their ability to communicate in their Capoeira game. Blue cords must have an excellent vision of the Capoeira game with exceptional technique, and dedicated training etiquette. A Graduado who begins teaching classes earns the title of an Instructor.
Green: Instructor. At this level, Capoeiristas continue to improve their skills, which now include teaching. They are very strong in the roda, and are equally strong in their instruction. Their strength comes from their ability to incorporate malicia (deviousness) and intuition into their games. It is malicia that gives Capoeiristas their ability to surprise and confuse their opponents. Green cords must take their training to another level by incorporating an intellectual awareness of the art as well as strength, skill, and reflex.
Purple: Professor. Capoeiristas at this level have proven themselves as skilled martial artists and proficient teachers. They are regarded highly because of their progress and devotion to Capoeira. Their malicia skill, intuition, reflex, and vision of the game continue to increase, as they now apply the knowledge they’ve gained within the roda to their dealings with the outside world, and vice-versa.
Brown: Contra-Mestre or Formando. Contra-Mestres are some of the most important figures in their group and in the world of Capoeira. They are the right hand of their Mestres vital in the dissemination of the art form’s history, tradition, and skill as well as leaders in the group. It is their responsibility to continue their training and development in the art of Capoeira. Formidable players in the roda, Contra-Mestres can seamlessly combine all of their skills into a fierce and relentless game.
Black: Mestre or Formado. This is the apex for Capoeiristas. Mestres are legendary for their skills, wisdom, creativity, and tact both inside and outside the roda. They have solidified their Capoeira game by fusing their physical skill, spiritual connection to the art, and vision of the game with the cunning and trickery they’ve learned throughout their lives. Mestres comprise the top echelon of all Capoeira groups and rightfully oversee the activities of their group. Mestres are also important figures in the community, maintaining and excellent relationship with their students and other leaders in their area.
Please Note: that the colours of the cords(belts) will vary according to the different Capoeira groups. It is always wise to check the grading system of colours of other groups before you enter into the Roda with another player.