Mestre Peixinho

Mestre Peixinho helped found Grupo Senzala in 1963, a pioneer and legend in capoeira history.

He had superior technique and timing that constantly placed him one step ahead of his opponent. Always in a calm balance, without unnecessary movements, with feints and attacks that to his advantage almost sucked or pushed the opponent to the wrong places.

His training discipline was rigid, like his shape curve and triceps, so he playfully spiced up his superior profit in the roda with the best acrobatics.

His teaching of children and adults, regardless of age and level, was always at eye level and exciting, with a clear purpose, so that everyone was challenged to the limit and wanted to learn more. He constantly developed new techniques and timing, and for his workshops always had a fresh novelty from the capoeira laboratory.

After a war-like capoeira decade in the 90s with the main focus on the fight, many serious injuries and an atmosphere afterwards, Mestre Peixinho realized the need to influence capoeira in a different direction, towards greater dialogue and joy of life.

He therefore developed a game for the berimbau rhythm "Jogo de dentro", where the objective was emphasis on flow and acrobatic equilibration along the floor, in as little space as possible. A stroke of genius that, like so much of his work, was ahead of its time.

As leader and eminent teacher of the largest group of students in Senzala, he managed to create an incredible number of skilled capoeiristas, each with their own personal style. He had great empathy for his less well-off and challenged students, to whom he again and again provided moral as well as financial help.

As a founder with so many talented students behind him, he was respected and recognized in the capoeira community worldwide, and was one of the most influential voices in Grupo Senzala. He was atypically quiet and reserved for a Brazilian, but when he finally said something, people listened. Even the biggest fighting machines bent their necks and aligned.

Mestre Peixinho had a great interest in and talent for handicrafts. He was one of the absolute best instrument makers in the capoeira world, and made atabaques and berimbaus with a sound and quality that no one has since succeeded in imitating.

He also made knives, jewelry and bats for beach tennis, his favorite hobby, which he played at Praia do Diablo in Ipanema.

He was always on the lookout for new but cheap and good tools to optimize his work processes. He lived for a good deal and was an expert at negotiating.

He therefore loved to hunt for good offers in the construction market Silvan. When he had to give a workshop for my students in Denmark, my wife Joy had saved Silvan's advertising newspapers for him. He studied the offers closely, after which I dropped him off at the store, well prepared, in a spare moment. After a few hours, I picked up a happy man, who had been quietly rummaging around the DIY market and doing his shopping, all to himself.

His curiosity and desire to always learn more about life and experience new things brought him out into the world. He was one of the main people responsible for the first European capoeira meetings (1987-1989) in Paris, and later in the mid-90s, introduced me to the idea of an annual Scandinavian capoeira meeting.

I miss his humor. When I asked for advice he always said "the problems are the same, they just change addresses". Then we talked about possibly solutions and often laughed at the absurdity of things. I miss the many wordless hours when we repaired instruments, or just looked after each other, together. I miss our adventures and the projects we did together.

I loved his loving way of playing with my children. I loved Mestre Peixinho like my father and I carry on his legacy with pride and love in everything I do.

Mestre Peixinho, 1947-2011, forever loved and missed.