Capoeira Sul da Bahia - Los Angeles

Capoeira classes in Culver City and Santa Monica

The Group

Capoeira Sul Da Bahia

Capoeira Sul Da Bahia is based out of a small beach town named Arraial d'Ajuda in the northeastern state of Bahia, Brazil.  It was there in 1987 that Mestre Railson (Railson do Carmo Domingues) started his first capoeira group under the guidance of his master Mestre Mão Branca of Capoeira Gerais.  In 1998 Mestre Railson fomally named his group Capoeira Sul da Bahia, affiliated to the ECCAGE (Escola Cultural Capoeira Gerais). There are now branches of Capoeira Sul da Bahia in four continents and over 14 countries all over the world. In Los Angeles, the group is organized by Monitor Espirro.


Mestre Railson 

Mestre Railson was born as Railson do Carmo Domingues on October 15th, 1967 in Arraial d'Ajuda, Bahia, Brazil.  He was introduced to Capoeira by his father at the age of eleven in Porto Seguro, Bahia.  The local teacher at the time was Mestre Estrela natural de Canavieiras. After a few months of training with Mestre Estrela, who eventually closed his academy, Mestre Railson then trained alone in Arraial learning from travelers and teaching locals at random improvised locations. In five years he acquired 20 students, however they had no graduations nor a formal training facility.

On his way to join the army, Mestre Railson passed through Salvador looking for Capoeira.  He went to Pelourinho and to the Mercado Modelo, but the Capoeira that he saw was not what he desired. There, the Capoeira was structured for the entertainment of tourists. Mestre Railson was looking for something with more organization and dedication.  At that time he did not know that there were other academies in Salvador so it wasn't until later on that he discovered Capoeira in Minas Gerais.  On a trip to Belo Horizonte Mestre Railson ended up in Praca da Liberdade where they were known to have the largest Capoeira rodas at the time. From there he started to learn about the local academies and in one of those academies, he met Mestre Mao Branca. His work, the level of his students, and their dedication all impressed Mestre Railson and after playing in a roda and speaking with Mestre Mao Branca, he began his training there. Mestre Railson stayed about three months learning and training capoeira.  He then went on to the national Capoeira meeting in Ouro Preto where he obtained the first two levels of graduation(green and green/yellow) of his school.

Mestre Railson then came back to Arraial, quit his job, and immersed himself in Capoeira. On Oct 12, 1987 Mestre Railson started his own academy now known as the Espaco Cultural Capoeira Sul da Bahia, dedicating his life to Capoeira.  From then on he would travel to Belo Horizonte once a year in order to train and graduate. In 1990 he organized his first Batizado in Porto Seguro under the guidance of Mestre Mao Branca and it was at this event that Mestre Mao Branca graduated him to the level of Professor. He later received his Contra Mestre cord in 1992, and in 1995 he became a Mestre at the first international meeting of Capoeira Gerais.

Mestre Mao Branca

William Douglas Guimaraes, better known as Mestre Mão Branca, was born in Belo Horizonte on the 14th of April 1960.  He was first introduced to Capoeira at the age of ten near Morro de Providencia, a favela of Rio de Janeiro where he used to live.  At the age of fifteen Mestre Mao Branca began training Capoeira in Belo Horizonte with his first teacher Luiz Mario Ladeira Jacare, or Mestre Jacaré for approximately two years before moving back to Rio de Janeiro. 

There he continued his training with a group of capoeiristas led by Mestre Elinho Aguia Negra in the square of a samba school called Porto da Pedra.  One day Mestre Elinho brought his students to visit Mestre Gigante (Jose Carlos Vicente) and the Associacao de Capoeira Negrinhos de Sinha (ACNS). After this encounter Mestre Mao Branca decided to join the ACNS to learn, train, and ultimately become a Mestre himself under the guidance of Mestre Gigante. 

In 1980 Mestre Mao Branca returned to Belo Horizonte to begin his work, teaching capoeira and creating the group Guerreiros de Angola.  On Nov. 13th 1985 Mao Branca was graduated to the rank of Mestre by his teacher Mestre Gigante and it was proposed that he use the ACNS group name with all the work that he was doing in the capital, which he did up until the death of his mestre.  After Mestre Gigante's passing, Mestre Mao Branca tried to restructure the ACNS but was unsuccessful.  It was then that he decided to create a new name for the work that he done, to develop his own ideas about capoeira without causing problems with his capoeira brothers who also came up under Mestre Gigante.  On Feb 5th 1993 Mestre Mao Branca created the group Capoeira Gerais which now has more than 20 schools in Brazil as well as Switzerland, France, Germany, Spain, Chile, the U.S, and many others.

He is also the President and Founder of the Federação Mineira de Capoeira, the co-founder of the Brazilian Capoeira Confederation, and in 2005 created the new federation in Minas Gerais, the Federação de Capoeira do Estado de Minas Gerais(FECAP-MG).  Mestre Mao Branca also created the ECCAGE (Escola Cultural Capoeira Gerais), an organization that helps other groups learn and disseminate the capoeira teachings of Mestre Mao Branca/Capoeira Gerais.

Contra Mestre Eros

Professor Estagiario Chin

Daniel Yoshimi, known as Professor Chin (Sheen) was born in Santos, Brazil. He began his capoeira training under the direction of Contra Mestre Eros in 1995.   Driven by his passion for working with children and his love for capoeira, he began teaching children’s classes in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In the year 2000 Professor Chin moved to Santa Barbara, CA. where he currently resides.

Soon after his arrival, with Mestre Railson’s encouragement and guidance, Professor Chin opened the first Capoeira Sul da Bahia academy in the United States in September of 2000. In 2002 he spearheaded the Kids Low Income Program in Santa Barbara County. It is a four month program for low income children to learn capoeira, the Brazilian culture, and to receive their cords at the Batizado (graduation ceremony).  Professor Chin’s warm personality and clarity in teaching both children and adults quickly found a place in the Santa Barbara community and later in neighboring cities: Ventura (2004), Ojai (2005) and Carpintaria (2006). 

In addition, Professor Chin teaches capoeira to elementary students in after school programs throughout the county.  He also teaches Brazilian percussion and Samba rhythms at the Jodi House to adults with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). This provides an avenue of self-expression for the individuals with TBI, but more importantly it helps their minds to focus and build coordination skills. In January 2005, in partnership with Vanessa Isaac and Jessica Elledge, Professor Chin opened Ginga Multicultural Arts Center. This is now the official home of Capoeira Sul da Bahia in Santa Barbara.

Professor Chin graduated to Instructor in 2005 and in 2007 he received his Professor Estagiario belt at the 3rd International Capoeira Sul da Bahia Encounter in Arraial D'Ajuda, Bahia-Brazil.  Professor Chin himself has graduated two advanced students out of his Santa Barbara group, Monitors Caicara and Espirro.

Monitor Espirro

Monitor Espirro (Thang Truong) started Capoeira in 2002 under Professor Chin in Santa Barbara, CA.  In 2004, after moving away from his Capoeira group and becoming the sole representative of Sul da Bahia in Los Angeles, Espirro went searching for any Capoeira he could find.  After visiting and training with various groups in Southern California including CentroSul(2004) and Capoeira Brasil(2005), Espirro met Mestre Batata of Capoeira Besouro.  Not looking to change group affiliations, Espirro gravitated towards Mestre Batata's welcoming energy and acceptance, training and learning from him until he began teaching in 2011.  With all the different groups and styles that Espirro had encountered, he has had many mentors along the journey including Professor Saleciano(Sul da Bahia), Contra Mestre Gui(CentroSul), Mestre Boneco(Brasil), Mestre Batata(Besouro), and Mestre Paulo Batuta(Mandinga).  However, throughout all the dynamic experience, learning, and training, Monitor Espirro continued to train with SDB at events and classes throughout California.  Espirro still holds onto Capoeira Sul da Bahia, its style, philosophy, and etiquette and remains one of Professor Chin's devoted students.

Outside of California Monitor Espirro has been to Brazil numerous times to train and learn from various teachers within the group.  Espirro has also trained with Sul da Bahia groups in Canada, Chile, Italy, and Peru; and Capoeira Gerais in Boston, Spain and France.

Graduation Levels

  1st Stage - Green Cord - Batizado
  2rd Stage - Dark Green Cord - (duas voltas)
  3rd Stage - Green/Yellow Cord - Intermediate
  4th Stage - Green/Yellow Cord - (duas voltas)
  5th Stage - Yellow Cord - Monitor
  6th Stage - Yellow/blue Cord - Instructor
  7th Stage - Blue/Green - Professor Estagiario
  8th Stage - Blue Cord - Professor
  9th Stage - Green/Yellow/Blue Cord - Contra Mestre
10th Stage - White/Green Cord - 1st level of Mestre
11th Stage - White/Yellow Cord - 2nd level of Mestre
12th Stage - White/Blue Cord - 3rd level of Mestre
13th Stage - White Cord - Grand Mestre

  1st Stage - Green Cord with White end
  2rd Stage - Green Cord
  3rd Stage - Green with Yellow end
  4th Stage - Green & Yellow with White end
  5th Stage - Green & Yellow with Green end
  6th Stage - Green & Yellow with Yellow end
  7th Stage - Green & Yellow
  8th Stage - Yellow with White end
  9th Stage - Yellow
10th Stage - Yellow with Blue end
11th Stage - Yellow & Blue