Our Group

Pernada Baiana (Kick from Bahia) is a group of Capoeira that follows the Regional style, based on speedy, acrobatic kicks. Pernada Baiana started in Mercado Modelo and on the streets of Salvador da Bahia, and as such is firmly rooted on the history of Capoeira, understanding and respecting the tradition of Capoeira Angola, the energy of the roda, the discipline that takes to master the Berimbau and the cultural and social aspects that are part of Capoeira. 

 

Pernada Baiana was founded in 1998 by Mestre Márcio and Mestre Robô Gigante, who are both well recognised in Salvador by their powerful kicks and fearless style of playing Capoeira.

Soon after these two fellows completed their degree in Sports at the University of Salvador, they travelled to Europe where they have dedicated their lives to teach and keep the tradition of Capoeira.

 

Mestre Márcio has recently moved from London to Porto and Mestre Robô Gigante now lives in Amsterdam. Thanks to their passion for Capoeira, Pernada Baiana has also extended its presence to Rome (Italy), and continues to grow.

 
Our Teachers

Mestre Márcio

Name: Angelo Márcio Neves dos Santos

Residence: Porto - Portugal

Year of birth:1973

Home town: Salvador da Bahia -Brazil

Mestre: Mestre Indio

http://www.pernadabaiana.com/

Mestre Robô Gigante

Name: Adilson Almeida dos Santos

Residence: Amsterdam - Netherlands

Year of birth:1980

Home town: Salvador da Bahia -Brazil

Mestre: Mestre Itapoan, Mestre Piaui and Mestre Indio

http://www.pernada-baiana.nl/

Professor Valmir

Name: Valmir Manoel dos Santos

Residence: London - United Kingdom

Year of birth:1985

Home town: Salvador da Bahia -Brazil

Mestre: Mestre Márcio

http://www.pernadabaiana.com/

Professor Robosinho

Name: Adriano Almeida dos Santos

Residence: Amsterdam - Netherlands

Year of birth: 

Home town: Salvador da Bahia - Brazil

Mestre: Mestre Márcio and Mestre Robô Gigante

http://www.pernada-baiana.nl/

Instrutor Negao

Name: Adelmar Almeida dos Santos

Residence: Amsterdam - Netherlands

Year of birth:

Home town: Salvador da Bahia - Brazil

Mestre: Mestre Robô Gigante 

http://www.pernada-baiana.nl/

Monitor Charlie Brown

Name: Charlie Sokol

Residence: London - United Kingdom

Year of birth: 1981

Home town: Puyricard - France

Mestre: Mestre Caboclin and Mestre Márcio 

http://capoeiraclasses.co.uk/

 
Our Story

There are many ways to tell a story and we chose to interview Mestre Márcio to unfold his path through Capoeira and learn what motivated him and his very good friend Mestre Robô Gigante to found the Capoeira group Pernada Baiana. In this interview we navigate through Mestre Márcio's life and philosophy and we get close to the meaning of what he calls 'real Capoeira'.

Todo Duro (TD): So, Mestre Marcio – like in all good stories, let's start from the beginning. You've been training Capoeira for a long time – how did it all start?

 

Mestre Márcio (MM): I've started Capoeira, mmmmmh. How many years ago? Whoa, 31 years ago – with Manoel Olimpio De Souza, Mestre Indio. He's more famous in Southern Brazil where he's got a big Capoeira group called Oxossi. But he also has [a second] group in Mercado Modelo [in Bahia], which plays in the street.

 

I started Capoeira in a gym. But after a few years I also started playing in Mercado Modelo, where I began to improve much, much more by playing in the street.

 

Todo Duro (TD): Must have been much harder too.

 

Mestre Márcio (MM): Yes, much harder Capoeira!

Mestre Márcio training at the back of his house in Salvador

(Bahia, Brazil)

Mestre Indio

TD: How exactly did it all began though? Was it you who went out looking for a start in Capoeira or was Mestre Indio who spotted you and went “Oh look at that guy, I bet he's good! I want to train him!”

 

MM: No, it was really funny, because you see, I'm not a big guy – now I've got little muscles on [laughs], but before I used to be the same height – about 176 [cm] – and my weight was like 52 kilos! So I was like [draws a spaghetti in the air] a really skinny guy and everybody would beat me around in the streets...

 

My master lived across the street from my house and I started watching him, always saw him around with these beautiful girls and he had a six-pack abs, big arms, nice hair, the works... and I asked him, “How do you do that?”. He said “I do Capoeira” and I was “Jesus, I want to learn this too”.

 

He told me “I've opened a gym really close to your house, it's called Sitoc. When do you wanna start? Come in anytime”. So I started. Now my dad really didn't like Capoeira – he really didn't. But God, I really wanted to learn!

 

My mum - who was always my best friend - said “OK, you go on and start, just don't say anything to your dad!” So I started doing capoeira and it was really nice!

 

I have to thank God, my mum and my master, for everything I have in my life now.

 

TD: It must have been pretty hard at first.

 

MM: Yeah, it was hard! Because, you know, when you're skinny [laughs]...

TD: Tell me about it!

 

MM: …If you have no flexibility, it is more difficult to learn than it is for someone who's flexible, who can do acrobatic moves, who can kick much higher. You don't have to use so much strength when you're flexible and you can kick easily. But I pushed myself for many many years.

 

I used to watch Van Damme's moves and tell myself “Jeez, I'm gonna do a split like that guy too!” I tried to push myself and I trained, trained, trained.

 

Everybody in the gym beat me, and sometimes I thought “Jesus, I'm gonna leave Capoeira” But it was really strange – my master always told me “Don't worry, you're going to be the best student I'm going to have”. And I was like “What? How? I'm the worst one ever for God's sake!” He always had me in a corner, drilling my kicks and going “Come on, do it again, do it again, do it again. Don't worry, your time's gonna come.” I waited for many, many years! 

Mestre Márcio playing in Mercado Modelo at the age of 25 (Salvador, 1998)

The streets helped me a lot. I played with different people every day. He'd push me into the roda, cos I was really afraid to go in... you know, you see these kicks coming really fast, left and right, you think “Jeez, if one of these kicks get me, my head's gonna fly off”. But he pushed me, kept telling me “Come on, you can do it!”... And now I think I play good Capoeira! The way that I think is good – I try to follow his style, and everybody tells me I play it nicely! I'm also glad cos I know I can protect myself – I've gone to do Valetudo, MMA, where I've had a few matches...

 

TD: I was going to ask you about that!

 

MM: Yeah. I can protect myself and now I try to push my students to do it the same way, to improve for yourself and to help with living your life as well... cos Capoeira really has given me a lot!

TD: What was your first batizado like?

 

MM: Jesus! my first batizado was really strange. My master was always traveling around, go here, go there, and I'd ask him “Mestre, when am I gonna have my batizado”. I trained ten years to do my first batizado! But that was fun.

 

After ten years, he gave me the yellow belt. It wasn't even an all-out batizado! It was three of us, me, Juca and Oyama. He took us aside, sat down and then went “Do this, do that, you two play, now you two, play, play...” That was my batizado!

 

After that I trained many years again to get my blue belt. I got it in Mercado Modelo, which was great! After that everybody started inviting me around and I travelled to the South of Brazil, to Porto Alegre, to play all of his [Mestre Indio's] students. 

Mestre Márcio in Pernada Baiana Batizado (London, 2013)

When they organised a big batizado, then they invited me - “Marcio, why don't you come here to get your contra mestre belt?” I went there, got my contra mestre belt, and it was amazing.

 

And after many years, when I was about to finish uni – I have a Physical Education degree – Mestre Indio did a batizado in Mercado Modelo and he sort of gave me a present... It was strange at that time, some people were saying at thirty I was too young to get a mestre’s belt.

 

Well, now I'm forty and I think I'm a good Capoeira master! I can teach, I can play... maybe I don't sing beautifully like some guys, but I can teach and play!

Mestre Pastel playing in Pernada Baiana Batizado (London, 2012)

TD: You can definitely say that! That brings us to the next bit of your story, how did you decide to come to Europe?

 

MM: You know, I've never thought about this... That meant leaving my mum, my dad. I really loved my mum, she was my best friend – even though she's not here anymore, I still think about her every single day.

 

How did it go? My friend Pastel invited me here – you know him, crazy Pastel! He invited me here once when I was at university. I came over for a batizado, just for two weeks, and it was like “Whoa, London!” I went back to Brazil to finish uni, then he invited me again and I came back with his master and Mestre Boca Rica.

 

So, I gave it a try. I came here but I didn't teach Capoeira at first. It was hard. I didn't speak English, [had] no papers... I started working in construction, it was hard, hard work! 

 

After one year I started teaching, with a small group. But you know, at the beginning it's really hard to build a Capoeira group. Then step by step I kept going, now I have my group, not big on numbers but big on quality!

TD: And that was the birth of Pernada Baiana London.

 

MM: Yes! Pernada Baiana, with Mestre Robô Gigante. We started Pernada Baiana in the Terreiro de Jesus... He said “You know Márcio, me, you and the other guys kick real fast, [play with] energy, we do all the kicks from Bahia... let's call our group Capoeira Pernada Baiana!” I said “Good idea!” It started like this! Now the group is here in London, in Italy and in Amsterdam with Mestre Robô Gigante... he's gonna come this year, you're gonna see him!

Mestre Márcio and Mestre Robô Gigante giving the belt of Instrutor to Negão in Pernada Baiana Batizado (London, 2014)

TD: What about Mestre Indio? Does he still travel around a lot? He came to our batizado last year and I hear he's often in Italy...

 

MM: Yeah, that's right. I told him on his birthday – he's 65 years old – “I’m not saying that you're too old” – you cannot say that –, but when you get to this age, you have to think more. You don’t have to stop but relax, calm down a bit”. Cos if you come here - Brazil to London - that's an 11/12-hour-flight; you finish here, then you go to Italy, and do this for two months – it's really heavy! Also when he's in Brazil, he always takes the bus from Bahia to go to Southern Brazil – nearly 50 hours... But he loves Capoeira. 

Now, I think that he was the best in street capoeira, and when I meet him I always say “thank you”, always, always... “Mestre, thank you for everything”, and he knows I mean it...

 

I want to see him get to 95 years old at least, I want him to be around for a long long time. Then when it's time God will call him.

 

TD: You know, right at the start you said that one of the reasons you started Capoeira was that you wanted to be able to defend yourself. Which is something I find quite interesting, because you see, when you talk about Capoeira to people who are into martial arts, it always seems like a bit of an oddball... as in “yeah, sure it looks great, but is it effective?” A lot of people think it's only about moving and dancing, acrobatics and dance [related] stuff... obviously we know that's not true!

 

And in your classes you often say “it's nice to do acrobatics and all that, but you also need to be able to do this in real life; to defend yourself”

 

MM: Yeah, of course. Acrobatics are nice to watch, they're cool, and they’re fun. But if you train in something for say twenty years, you cannot let people come to you in the street, slap you in the face, and then cry “Ohhh, I'm gonna go home now”. Not that you have to be crazy and go out in the street to pick fights, but you have to be able to defend yourself.

Mestre Indio in Pernada Baiana Batizado (London, 2012)

Capoeira – I think I prove it every time I go into the ring – is a real fight. You see it in my matches. I do the ginga, I kick in the head, I feint, you know. I do my stuff. Capoeira is really dangerous!

 

TD: Well, I remember taking a couple of kicks from Mestre Indio last year – I'm still feeling them!

 

MM: [Laughs] Yeah, if you train hard... I always tell you guys, I love to do acrobatics and nice stuff, but Capoeira involves a lot of different things – music, dance, fight, culture, philosophy… You cannot say just what Capoeira is, because it's so many things. Really big things.

 

TD: That's right. This reminds me of something you said at class once that I found really interesting – you said that at some point everyone has to find their own way, their own style...

 

MM: Yeah!

Professor Valmir and Professor Robosinho in Pernada Baiana Batizado

 (London, 2012)

TD: And that's right! You can look at all the mestres and you'll see, say, Mussa's got his own style, and Ratinho's completely different, then again they're different from you and from Mestre Gandu. I don't think any other martial art works that way; mostly there is a proper form you have to follow and that's it...

 

MM: Yeah, but unfortunately that's true for Capoeira as well. There are so many Capoeira groups where you'll be like “Oh my God, everybody does ginga the same way!” The kicks are the same, all the same... they play more or less the same.

 

But when you see street Capoeira, you'll see it's completely different. I have my style. Although you can see Valmir is my student, you can [also] see he plays completely different from me. With Robô you can see that his kicks are the same of Robosinho’s, they play more or less the same, but there is an identity as well!

Like you don't have a big head of hair like me – it's the same thing. You cannot play Capoeira the same way as everybody else. You've got your kicks, the way you move your body, and there you go. This is the best thing with Capoeira – identity. It's not like Karate or Kung Fu, where everybody does the same thing. It's [about] identity.

 

TD: And that's what really makes it stand apart I think...

 

MM: Yeah!

TD: Now, you mentioned earlier you also do MMA fights. You cross-train a lot – apart from Capoeira, you do BJJ (Brazilian Ju Jitsu). How did that come about? Is it something you always did from the start or something you only developed later on?

 

MM: Well that was back when I went to university. I met my friend Adalberto and he asked me “Hey Márcio, why don't you try Brazilian Ju Jitsu?” But I was like “Mmmmh, don't really like this stuff. Too close – don't like being in really strange positions”. But then I started training with him at university, he started to teach me.

 

Afterwards, when he opened his own gym, he hired a guy to teach Brazilian Ju Jitsu, and I trained there – that was back in 1998 – and I really started to like it. I did many competitions in Brazil as well, won some golds!

 

Yeah – it was Adalberto, my friend, who got me on to BJJ, and my first teacher was Alex Cintra. After I started to train with his student – my friend Araujo. I didn't have money to pay for my BJJ classes so he would come to my house to teach me! I bought some mats – really thin ones – and put them down in my house, and so he started to teach me.

 

TD: I think in a way it really complements Capoeira. In Capoeira you don't really do grabbing...

 

MM: Well, you know, when you get some big guys who're not able to play fast, they'll want to grab them!

Mestre Márcio at Clash of Warriors

(London, 2008)

TD: Exactly! So you have Capoeira for one side of the fight, but if you really need to get close, that's where BJJ comes in.

 

MM: Yeah. It's really important. I tell people, if you've got free time, train – anything! If you keep your body worked out it's good for you. Good for your health!

 

TD: So apart from BJJ would you also recommend cross-training with any other martial arts, any discipline?

 

MM: You know, if you do Capoeira you can do whatever you want...

this is not just some hypothesis, because the best BJJ guys in the world now, they all did Capoeira before. Capoeira helps you do whatever you want. I do BJJ, I do MMA, I can do Kick Boxing, I can do Muay Thai... I can do spinning kicks that so many guys cannot do – Kick Boxing guys, Muay Thai guys, they show when they're about to throw the kick. With Capoeira, it's so quick you cannot even see it – one second, bam!

 

I always recommend it, if you want to get flexibility, agility, to be ready – Capoeira. After, you can train in whatever you want and it's going to be easy.

TD: What about MMA?

 

MM: Now, I'm happy because Capoeira is growing in the MMA as well. Everybody wants to learn that kick – Meia lua de compasso, what they call “spinning kick” or “capoeira kick”. Because the most famous kick in Capoeira is the meia lua, when you put your hand on the floor and spin with your leg, using your heel. That's one dangerous kick in Capoeira! MMA fighters love that kick.

 

TD: I'll bet they do! You can see some pretty amazing meia lua knock-outs online. I guess it's because it's the kind of kick you can't really defend against, your only option is to stand back or dodge. You can't block it.

 

MM: No, if you try, it's easy to break your arm. You can't block a kick like this with your arms, cos the leg is much stronger than the arm – three times stronger!

 

TD: And you've got almost a full body weight coming on the leg.

 

MM: That's right.

 

TD: Then what about your MMA fighting? Is it something you're planning to do more of?

Mestre Márcio (London, 2012)

MM: One guy called me now to do a match on the 22nd of November, but let's see. I'm not scared to fight, but my problem is that I really like food! And you can see I don't have any fat in my body, so to loose weight is hard for me, and makes me feel really weak. When I fight I always have to lose weight – like, 5 or 6 kilos – but there's no fat to lose! But maybe I'll do it – maybe. It's fifty-fifty.

 

TD: Last time you did it, the weight loss regime was pretty hardcore...

 

MM: Oh yes. Go to the sauna, stay there for half hours at a time, towel up, fast...

 

I was surprised you even made it to the ring!

TD: Well Mestre Márcio, we're almost done now. Is there anything else you'd like to say? Your message to the world?

 

MM: I really wish that everyone – not just in Capoeira, in the world – can be more relaxed, more real. (...) what goes around comes around. Do good stuff, and you're going to only get good stuff. This is my message!

 

TD: Karma, isn't it?

 

MM: Nice one!

 

TD: Nice one Mestre Márcio!

Interviewer: Andrea Bertuzzi (Todo Duro), student of Mestre Márcio

Edition and formatting: Angélica Quintero (Macumbeira), student of Mestre Márcio

Date: September of 2014

 
Our Website

Pernada Baiana website is a birthday present to Mestre Márcio from his students, who contributed with ideas, money, time and good vibes to this very challenging project. Thanks Andy (Cientista), Romain (Azeite), Alex (Fetiche), Andrea (Todo Duro), Tom (Dedo), Julia (Grandona), Marta, Jim (Paraguay), Catherine, Christine, Elisa (Ex-Bananera), Bruno, María (Perninha), Myriam, Rowena, Cassandra and Vicky (Esforçada) for all your great help. 

 

Special thanks to Rita (Tranquila) and Angélica (Macumbeira) who put to test their pacience and embarked on the adventure of melting everybody's contributions to create this website, even when they had never built one before!

 

Feliz aniversário Mestre Márcio!

Contact: Mestre Márcio Santos - (+44)75 2566 3258 / (+351)912131685 - pernadabaiana123@gmail.com

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