The dance like qualities of Capoeira often dissuade MMA fighters from training in the Brazilian martial art. Although the more acrobatics techniques serve largely aesthetic purposes, the various skills trained when attempting to execute the fluid movements benefit MMA fighters. Like most martial arts, Capoeira also contains techniques that are directly transfer to the octagon.
Spatial awareness. Capoeira practitioners need to flawlessly execute spins and flips midair without injuring their partner. By performing complex movement within a contained space, Capoeira practitioners heighten their sense of spatial awareness. Whether MMA fighter’s find themselves caught by a suplex throw or a berimbolo roll, staying oriented is essential retaining or regaining the initiative.
Balance. Capoeira techniques frequently require a great degree of balance, in both upper and lower body. Consequently, practitioners of Capoeira quickly develop the necessary muscles fibers and concertation to remain in control regardless of stance or setting. From being able to retain mount in grappling to avoiding a sweep in the clinch, balance plays a central role in MMA.
Fluidity. Capoeira training encourages fluid, looser movements. A growing number of trainers, including the likes of Conor McGregor’s movement coach Ido Portal, believe the often-rigid movements associated with MMA detrimentally affect a fighter’s performance. Stiff and tight posture makes it difficult for a fighter to remain flexible during a fight and dulls reaction time.
Techniques. Several capoeira techniques have successfully been used in MMA. The Meia Lua de Compasso, for instance, is type of spinning heel kick used by Capoeira practitioners and MMA fighters alike. Unpredictable and hard-hitting, techniques like the Meia Lua de Compasso adds versatility to an MMA fighter’s arsenal.
Unlike the conventional martial arts associated with MMA, like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, applying techniques in Capoeira to MMA requires careful consideration. The overall experience will undoubtedly benefit MMA fighters attempting to develop beneficial body mechanics, including, spatial awareness, balance, and fluidity of movement.
By Johan Vandeleuv