Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, is a combination of various fighting styles; fighters often have 2 or more different fighting styles for performance. You can learn hundreds of fighting styles, ranging from dangerous to defensive. However, people wonder if Capoeira is effective in MMA.
Is Capoeira effective in MMA? While Capoeira is not an aggressive style of fighting by any stretch of the imagination, it has some impressive mental features that help fighters combine martial art with other functional martial arts like Muay Thai. The style is useful for strategizing and often finding weaknesses or tiring out opponents.
If you are an MMA fighter with UFC aspirations, Capoeira is one of the fighting styles that you would want to incorporate into your arsenal if possible.
This article aims to see how Capoeira can be added to your current fighting styles and turn you into one of the most unbeatable fighters on the MMA circuit!
If you are wondering whether Capoeira is Hard To Learn or Not, I wrote a whole article where I share tips to get better at Capoeira.
How Does Capoeira Compare To Other Fighting Styles?
Most martial arts are focused solely on standing and transitioning to punching or kicking. The idea is that you break down your opponent’s defenses and slowly dissect some of their weakness to use your fighting style to beat them.
Capoeira does not focus on countering one specific martial art. In fact, it does not focus on countering any specific martial art that you could come across. The main purpose of the fighting style is to improve your mobility and the fluid movements that you can be doing.
Capoeira does not compare to any other fighting style. The main idea is that it would supplement other fighting styles to create something unique. Since the main focus is self-defense, you will have the elements of defending yourself, but it is interesting to use when it comes to attacking.
If we look at Muay Thai, which is arguably one of the most popular fighting styles you can do, you will find that it is a very stationary fighting style that focuses on counterattacking opponents when they move.
However, Capoeira would keep the fighter in constant movement, which means that the opponent would constantly be guessing. Instead of waiting for an opening, the style can confuse your opponents in such a way that forces them to be off balance.
It would force your opponent to focus on one element of the movement, but due to the nature of Capoeira, you might be in the next movement. This would confuse opponents of more rigid and linear fighting styles to often make some mistakes and reveal some of their weaknesses, which provides the opportunity to strike.
Capoeira is excellent for MMA because it helps develop MMA fighters’ strategies, mental and physical strength, physical capabilities, and game plans.
3 Important Advantages Capoeira Would Give You In MMA
If you decide to integrate Capoeira into your fighting arsenal, there are a few great benefits that it would bring to the table, which would help you perform much better.
When you master Capoeira, and you do MMA, you can expect the following three benefits to assist you in winning:
Capoeira involves plenty of fluid movements; during these, you won’t even need to strike or attack your opponent. The idea is to move around your opponent to not only tire them out but also identify some lingering weaknesses they might be bringing to the table.
As you are moving around, you can see how your opponent moves, and this is where the dancing element kicks in. The idea is to outwit your opponent and throw them off balance. Once a fight is off balance, they have no means of protecting themselves, which is when you would strike.
Other fighting styles tend to be very rigid, with a setup game plan that does not involve much thinking on your feet and strategizing on the fly. However, Capoeira would allow you to see some of these weaknesses, which means you can strategize on the fly and find out when and how the best opportunity to strike would be.
2- Physical Prowess
When you are just starting, it can be hard to get into the swing of things, and many people find Capoeira to be very hard when they are just starting. The first thing you would notice is the differences in your body composition and the overall transformation you are going through.
You would notice a drastic increase in overall fitness and mobility, meaning you can defend yourself and even dodge attacks in ways other martial arts do not allow. The physical prowess would increase your fitness, putting the element of outlasting your opponent on the table as well.
Much like some boxers would move around the ring for the first couple of rounds, forcing their opponents to move a lot, this is the same for Capoeira. In essence, you could assume the role of Muhammad Ali, whilst someone else will be the heavier fighter, who will be tired by the 10th round.
3- Element Of Surprise
Few people are trained in Capoeira when we compare some of the most used martial arts in MMA. This means that you simply have the element of surprise by being trained as a capoeirista. Even if someone knows you are trained in this martial art, it still means they must study it and understand how it works.
One thing I found is that it is very hard to understand martial art as an outsider if you are not practicing as a capoeirista. This is also why some people might not understand some of the concepts of this article until they visit one of the classes or try martial art for themselves.
These two elements of surprise could give you a distinct advantage, and when you pair it with an aggressive fight style like Jiu Jitsu or even BJJ, you could catch your opponent off-guard, which means you would have the functional advantage when it comes to winning the fight.
You might also enjoy reading: Is Capoeira Better Than Taekwondo? (It is not what you think!)
How Should I Use Capoeira When Doing MMA?
As mentioned, Capoeira is mostly designed for defensive purposes, and most practitioners consider it part of their rituals when they are performing.
If you enter the MMA circuit and your only skill is Capoeira, you might not have the same attacking prowess as many of the other fighters.
Someone like Brock Lesnar, who is trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and combines this with an amateur wrestling background, is known for takedowns and being aggressive. If you cannot match the aggressiveness, you will only be dancing around your opponent for five rounds when competing in UFC.
The best way to use Capoeira in MMA would be to combine it with a different, more aggressive form of martial arts. Something like BJJ and even Muay Thai are two of the most popular options that you should consider if possible. We would recommend using Capoeira as the supplement fighting style to other aggressive styles.
How Does Capoeira Help With Self-Defense?
While some people would want to know better when it comes to adding Capoeira to their MMA arsenal, others might simply want something they can use to defend themselves against other aggressive opponents.
The main benefit of Capoeira for self-defense is that it allows you to escape from fights. Instead of having to deal with fights on the street, your physical capabilities and speed would enable you to escape and get out of harm’s way. Additionally, you would find that it becomes much easier to dodge attacks.
One of the main principles of self-defense is to avoid a fight whenever possible. If you can avoid fighting with your opponents, you should find that it is easier to avoid trouble. The first step is often to find a verbal way to neutralize the fight. However, when this is not possible, you should defend yourself.
While it might not help you much against someone trained in boxing or even kickboxing, it would allow you to run away if possible.
Most Prominent MMA Fighters Trained In Capoeira
Since Capoeira is now shown to improve a person’s fighting skills and it works well to supplement fighting styles, many prominent figures on the MMA scene have incorporated the style into their arsenal.
Here are some of the most popular fighters that use Capoeira:
As you might have noticed, many of these have South American origins, where the fighting style rose to prominence. Others have added it to their arsenal over the years to help improve their fighting style over the years.
Capoeira is one of the best fighting styles to improve physical movement and fluidity when fighting.
It might not be the best style when standing alone, but when combined with other fighting styles, it does make a difference. Let us know in the comment section if you would add Capoeira to your MMA arsenal.