Mestre Bimba Criador da Regional.
Manoel dos Reis Machado, nicknamed Bimba due to a bet between his mother and the midwife about whether the baby would be a boy or girl. His mother bet it would be a girl and the midwife thought it would be a boy. When he was born, the midwife said “It's a boy! Look at his bimba” - bimba being a slang for the male sexual organ.
Born on November 23rd 1899 (the exact year of his birth is still debated) in Salvador, Bahia. His parents were Luiz Cândido Machado and Maria Martinha do Bonfim.
Bimba was taught Capoeira from the age of twelve by a ship’s captain, an African named Bentinho.
Capoeira was only learned by watching and participating in the roda, and Bimba, at 18 years old, thought that capoeira had lost all its efficacy as a martial art and as an instrument of resistance, becoming a folkloric activity reduced to nine movements.
Bimba then started to re-intruduce movements from the old capoeira and added movements from an extinct African fighting style called Batuque, an art in which his father was a champion.
Back then capoeira was still being persecuted by the authorities. Despite the intense pressure of Capoeira still being illegal, Bimba was able to perform at the palace of Bahia's Governor, Juracy Magalhães, and, to the President of Brazil, Getulio Vargas.
After witnessing Mestre Bimba’s demonstration, the President was so impressed he made one of the most important decisions in capoeira history and authorized the opening of the first legal capoeira school in 1932 which Bimba named Centro de Cultura Fisica Regional (CCFR) in Salvador, Bahia.
Bimba created code of ethics before its reputation could be restored and to change the way Capoeira was seen by the middle and upper classes. This codified way of teaching Capoeira was called “regional fight from Bahia”, thus, creating the “Capoeira Regional”.
He gave to his students colored scarves to show rank, a system adopted after the Eastern martial arts’ colored belts.
His students wore clean, white uniforms and performed well in school, and made sure that everyone followed his academy's rules.
1 - Quit smoking.
2 - Quit drinking, alcohol is bad for your metabolism.
3 - Do not show off your progresses to your friends outside the roda. Hold them back and surprise people with them in a fight.
4 - Avoid conversation while training. Be quiet while in the academy and, by observing the other fighters, learn more.
5 - Always practice the ginga.
6 - Practice the fundamental exercises daily.
7 - Do not be afraid to get close to your opponent. The closer your keep, the more you will learn.
8 - Keep your body relaxed.
9 - It is better to get beat up in the roda than on the streets.
Unhappy with the lack of support from the local government, Bimba moved to Goiania, in the state of Goias. He died a year later after a Capoeira perfomance, on February 5, 1974, at the Hospital das Clínicas de Goiânia, due to a stroke.
Capoeira Regional was his legacy, but not the only one. He created the discipline that any martial arts need to be a real martial art. He was able to break Capoeira free from its chains, the chains that had kept its “founders” as eslaves. Capoeira today is practice by everyone; white, black, rich or poor, and he had a lot to do with it.
Axé mestre Bimba, criador da Regional.