Mestre Cobra Mansa

Cobra Mansa means tame snake, and Cobrinha means little cobra. These nicknames are apt descriptions of his graceful and deceptive style of play. His ability to transform situations through innovative and acrobatic solutions has made him arguably the most influential Angoleiro (practitioner of Capoeira Angola) of his generation.

After learning capoeira angola with Mestre Moraes/ Grupo Capoeira Angola Pelourinho Mestre Cobra Mansa moved to the United States and opened a school in Washington DC around 1994, which was solely dedicated to the teaching of Capoeira Angola. He later became an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University, and then eventually president of  Fundação Internacional Capoeira Angola, FICA.

In 2004 he left the United States to make his home in Bahia, Salvador, Brazil to create the Kilombo Tenondé. This organization is currently split over two sites, one in Valencia, in the south of Bahia. Quilombo Tenondé provides space for Capoeira and permacultura (permaculture – organic farming). The other site is a cultural center at Coutos in the suburb of Salvador.

Never one to avoid the complexity of Contemporanea Capoeira, he has traveled in many non-Angola circles and done a great deal to help mend old disagreements between the two. His Capoeira continues to be respected and admired through both the Capoeira Angola and Contemporanea Capoeira communities. He remains an inspiration to many younger players.


Mestre Cobrinha is well-respected for his deep knowledge and scholarship of the historical and cultural underpinnings of Capoeira Angola . He recently completed a journey to the west-central region of Africa to search for the African roots of Capoeira. He spent time in Angola and Mozambique learning about the ”N’golo” (Zebra dance) and other local African cultural traditions that have been attributed in the past as contributing to the development of Capoeira