What does Bantus Mean?
The name Grupo Bantus Capoeira was chosen by Mestre Pintor to honour the African roots of capoeira. The majority of slaves taken from Africa to Brazil were Bantu people.
The term Bantu refers to over 300-600 different ethnic groups, who share a similar language root, from the Central, Eastern and Southern African regions (Angola, Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zimbabwe etc). They speak Shona, Swahili, and Zulu to name a few languages.
A common characteristic of Bantu languages is that they use words such as muntu or mutu for “person”, and the plural prefix for human nouns starting with mu- in most languages is ba-, thus giving bantu for “people”.
To emphasize his philosophy of “pluralidade” (plurality), Mestre Pintor added the “s”, the create the word “Bantus”, meaning “peoples”.
Some well know words borrowed from Bantu languages include Bongo, Bomba, Bwana, Candombe, Chimpanzee, Conga, Gumbo, Hakuna matata, Impala, Jenga, Jumbo, Kalimba, Kwanzaa, Mamba, Mambo, Mbira, Marimba, Rumba, Safari, Samba, Simba, Ubuntu, and Zombie.
Grupo Bantus Capoeira Japão
The Grupo Bantus Capoeira Japão (GBCJ) was founded in Tokyo, Japan by Caçapa and Cafuné in 2004. The group is a branch of Grupo Bantus Capoeira supervised by Mestre Pintor in Brazil.
It is a well know and well respected capoeira group within the Japanese and international capoeira community.
The main goal of GBCJ is to promote the art of capoeira in Japan, we also hope to promote international friendship and understanding, healthy living, and social and environmental conciseness.
GBCJ has appeared in newspapers, magazines, on radio, and television in Japan and across South East Asia.
GBCJ currently runs classes for children, adults, and beginners in Kichijoji, Mitaka, and Shibuya. We have a “Capoeira Culture” class every Saturday afternoon focusing on Capoeira Angola, Singing and Instruments, Portuguese for Capoeiristas, Maculelê and Samba de Roda, and hold a monthly roda of capoeira and samba.
GBCJ has held workshops and capoeira courses at many Japanese and international kindergartens, high schools, and community centres for children from four years old to adults.
GBCJ regularly performs and conducts free workshops at annual sports and culture festivals in Tokyo including:
- MISHOP International Festival (Inokashira Park)
- Mitaka Sports Festival
- MIFA International Festival
- Antaru International Festival (Yoyogi Park)
- Asakusa Samba Carnival
- Festival Brazil (Yoyogi Park)
We have also performed at Design Festa (Tokyo Big Sight), Bem Brasil, and many successful nightclub and restaurant events in Tokyo.
The group is regularly invited to and participates in workshops and events of other capoeira groups in Japan and Asia where we have the chance to learn from and meet other famous masters of capoeira.
GBCJ also holds events outside of class, including park and beach trips, barbecues, parties, camps, and many social activities.
GBCJ often travels overseas for cultural exchanges with other branches of the group. These week-long international festivals consist of capoeira games, workshops, lectures, and presentations of all aspects of Afro-Brazilian culture and dance! It is an unforgettable experience mixing with other Bantulinos from Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Holland, Germany, and Israel. Here we are able to make lifelong friendships through cultural exchange and understanding.
GBCJ members had the oportunity to meet and train with famous masters such as Mestre Pintor, Mestre Jaime do Mar Grande, Mestre Ciro, Mestre Tamanduá, Mestre João, and the late great Mestre João Pequeno and his grand daughter Nani, and instructors and students of capoeira from around the world.
- 2005: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (4 GBCJ members)
- 2006: Belo Horizonte, Brazil (7 GBCJ members)
- 2007: Perth, Australia (10 GBCJ members)
- 2008: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Singapore (2 GBCJ members)
- 2011: Belo Horizonte, Brazil (4 GBCJ members)
- 2012: Belo Horizonte, Brazil (1 GBCJ member)
- 2012: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (5 GBCJ members)
- 2012: Bangkok, Thailand (5 GBCJ members)
GBCJ Capoeira Festivals
Grupo Bantus Capoeira Japan aims to hold a week-long Capoeira Festival, Batizado and Troca de Cordas each year. During this event we invite guests instructors from Brazil, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan etc.
- 2007: 1st GBCJ Capoeira Festival with Professor Gringo (GBC Australia)
- 2007: 1st GBCJ Capoeira Festival and Batizado with guests Contramestre Claudinho (GBC Singapore), Professor Rafael (GBC Malaysia), and Graduado Zoi (GBC Holland)
- 2008-2009: Hosted Graduado Lula (GBC Brazil) in Japan for three months
- 2008: 2nd GBCJ festival and batizado with guests Mestre Pintor (GBC Brazil), Contramestre Claudinho, Professor Rafael, Formado Grão, and Graduado Lula
- 2010: 3rd GBCJ festival and batizado with guests Mestre Pintor, Contramestre Claudinho, Professor Rafael
- 2011: 4th GBCJ festival and batizado with guests Mestre Pintor, Contramestre Claudinho, and Formado Grão
- 2012: 5th GBCJ festival and batizado with guests Contramestre Claudinho, Professor Rafael, and Formado Grão
Grupo Bantus Capoeira
The Grupo Bantus Capoeira was founded by Mestre Pintor on February 2nd, 1991 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Bantus Capoeira now has branches across Brazil and in Japan, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Israel. At Bantus Capoeira we play the Angola and Regional (Contemporânea/Benguela) styles of capoeira. We also practice Samba, Maculelê, Puxada de Rede, Dança Afro and Forró, all forms of Brazilian dance.
Who is Mestre Pintor?
Paulo Cesar Leite dos Santos, or Mestre Pintor as he is known within Capoeira circles, is the master of Grupo Bantus Capoeira. He started playing around with Capoeira on the streets as a teenager. Later on he trained in Belo Horizonte and then Bahia with various masters including Atenilo, Waldemar, Canjiquinha, Curió, Caiçara, Gigante, Boa Gente, Bom Cabrito, Medicina, and Papo de Santo Amaro, chasing after knowledge of Capoeira, before coming to rest in the academy of Mestre João Pequeno da Pastinha in Salvador, Bahia. He graduated as a master on May 20, 1989 with the Grupo Ginga of Mestre Macaco at the Escola de Educação Fisica in Belo Horizonte, and after a few more years training with Mestre João Pequeno also graduated as a master of Capoeira Angola.
Mestre Pintor has been dedicated to teaching capoeira to underprivileged and at-risk youth for over 20 years. Throughout that time he has had graduated students successfully teaching capoeira in Brazil, Argentina, Israel, Germany, Holland, England, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Who is the teacher in Japan?
Marcello Pietrantonio was born 1978 in Melbourne, Australia and grew up in the sunny beach-side city of Perth, Western Australia. He first became interested in Asian martial arts as a child, practicing karate and taekwondo until he graduated high school.
He was first exposed to the Brazilian art of capoeira by chance, watching the American children’s television program Sesame Street around 1990 featuring Mestre João Grande and Mestre Nego Gato. A few years later he was again impressed by capoeira in the American movie Only The Strong (1993) featuring Mestre Amen.
Caçapa finally found a flyer for a capoeira class in Perth as if by destiny, and started in 2000 under the guidance of Graduado Canguru. It was a painful first class but it was love at first ginga!. The group had worked hard for several years to bring over Professor Gringo from Brazil, and Caçapa trained under him while he was head instructor of Grupo Bantus Capoeira Australia.
- 2000: Started training capoeira with GBC Australia under Graduado Canguru
- 2001: Received capoeira nickname “Caçapa” from Professor Gringo
- 2002: First GBC Australia batizado, awarded Green Cord (Corda Verde) by Graduado Canguru, Professor Gringo, and Mestre Pintor
- 2002-2003: Trained and played capoeira in Brazil (Rio, Espirito Santo, Belo Horizonte, Bahia, Sao Paulo, Paraná), Argentina, Chile, USA (New York), Canada (Vancouver), Germany (Munich), Austria (Salzburg), Japan
- 2004: Moved to Tokyo and co-founded GBC Japan
- 2005: Awarded Green/Yellow Cord (Corda Verde Amarela) by Mestre Pintor at the GBC Malaysia World Meeting
- 2008: Awarded Yellow Cord (Corda Amarela: Instrutor) by Mestre Pintor GBC Japan 2nd Batizado
- 2010: Awarded Yellow/Blue Cord (Corda Amarela/Azul: Graduado) by Mestre Pintor GBC Japan 3rd Batizado
His philosophy of life, sacrifice to the group, and whole-hearted love for capoeira has been recognised and praised by Mestre Pintor and the other Brazilian instructors of GBC, as well as mestres living around the world.
Graduado Caçapa continues to dedicate his life to capoeira and strives to create a close-knit capoeira family, strong capoeira group, and thriving capoeira community here in Japan.