This feature is designed to spark your interest in researching the world of capoeira's vocabulary, history, and philosophy.
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"Corpo Fechado" literally translates from Portuguese to English... It means closed body.
It stems from Afro-Brazilian religions like candomblé.
In a literal and capoeira sense, corpo fechado is what we learn early on in the ginga, and then with our defenses. The idea is that the limbs protect the vital organs and head.
As is often the case, there is a bit more to the story, and here we see a simple and effective description below.
From Angoleiro's Blog...
Corpo Fechado – in Life
Corpo Fechado does also have a very religious connotation. In Afrobrazilian practises achieving Corpo Fechado is possible through specific rituals and by wearing amulets. Having a Corpo Fechado means being invulnerable against all kinds of physical attacks. If it’s knives or bullets. The most favourite person to have had a Corpo Fechado was the Capoeira legend Besouro Manganga. Manoel Henrique Pereira (1897-1924) was a legendary Capoeirista and criminal in Santo Amaro, Bahia. He was known and loved by the folks for his fights with the police. In times of danger he would transform into a beetle and vanish from the place. He was also known to be invulnerable – or only vulnerable by an enchanted wooden dagger (made of the Tucum-tree), which was the reason for his death in 1927.But the Corpo Fechado does exist outside of Capoeira as well. As I said, it is part of Afrobrazilian culture.