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Mestre Kinha

Mestre Kinha was born in 1969 in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in a Favela (ghetto) formerly known as Catacumba. Shortly after his birth, the government of Rio de Janeiro seized the land and forced the residents out of Catacumba and some other nearby favelas and move to housing projects roughly 30 miles north of the center of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Kinha and his family relocated to a housing project called Quitungo. Residents of the housing projects faced daily encounters with rampant violence, crime, gangs, and shootings. From the time that Kinha was a small child, he learned to run for cover with the sound of gun fire and had witnessed deaths of friends and neighbors. 

    At the age of seven, Kinha began training capoeira with a neighbor named Beiçola. Mestre Beiçola taught capoeira classes to the children in the projects. Training capoeira saved many of the children from entering into a life of crime and drugs because Beiçola, who was a sergeant in the army, taught the children about discipline and respect. Capoeira also kept the children busy from the distractions of actions that could lead them into mischief and danger. Children from favelas and projects were not afforded the opportunity to study other activities such as music, theatre, sports, and other martial arts due to the inaccessibility and cost. Capoeira was one of the few diversions that was available for children to learn.  

    Kinha dedicated all of his time outside of school to learning capoeira. By the age of 11, Kinha received his Yellow belt (1st advanced belt). At age 21, Kinha received the belt of “Professor” and began teaching capoeira. A year later Kinha won the title of Capoeira State Champion for the State of Rio de Janeiro. In 1992, Kinha was one of the top 10 finalists for a national competition for Brazil. In 1994, Kinha received the title and belt of Mestre (master).

    Mestre Kinha always had the desire to travel, discover the world, and divulge the art of Capoeira. In 1999, Mestre Beiçola invited Mestre Kinha to visit California to teach workshops to the students of Mestre Beiçola. In 2001, Mestre Beiçola arranged for Mestre Kinha to go to Hawaii to train the teacher and students of Capoeira Hawaii. He spent over three years working with the group before launching his own school.

    In 2004, Mestre Kinha and Carmen Linhares (student and wife of Mestre Kinha) began a class in Kailua on the Windward side of Oahu. They started with 7 students, three of which were their own children. Before long, students enrolled and the school expanded with more classes and locations. 

    Mestre Kinha has taught Capoeira in many different locations in Oahu including Moilili Community Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa Outreach College, Fort Shafter Army Base, Boys and Girls Club, Department of Parks and Recreation and Summer Fun Programs, Kama’aina Kids, Kamehameha Schools, Punahou School, Boca Hawaii, Arthur Murray Movement Center, and 24-7 Dance Force Studio. 

    Mestre Kinha and his students have done countless presentations, demonstrations, and workshops divulging the art of Capoeira, the music and its history, including cultural dances such as Maculele, Puxada de Rede and Samba. 

    Capoeira Besouro Hawaii has performed for Honolulu Museum of Art, First Friday, University of Hawaii at Manoa and Kapiolani Community College International Festivals, Bishop Museum, Honolulu Night Market, Honolulu Mardi Gras Festival, several local television stations, TV Record (a Brazilian TV station filming in Hawaii), Wet and Wild Waterpark, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s congressional seat election night party, the Hōkūle’a Voyaging Society celebration honoring the vessel’s arrival in Brazil, Ko’olina Children’s Festival to benefit Kapiolani Medical Center, Hispanic Heritage Festival, Martin Luther King Day Festival, and many other events.

    Capoeira Besouro Hawaii has also done workshops for many public and private schools including Kamehameha Schools, Star of the Sea Schools, La Pietra, Le Jardin Academy, Punahou, and Iolani School. Mestre Kinha and Carmen Linhares were invited to choreograph capoeira presentations for student productions at Castle High School’s Geo Dance Production and St. Ann’s Model Schools May Day. They were also invited to perform in a production entitled From the Horse’s Mouth which was presented at Kennedy Theatre at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  

    In light of Mestre Kinha’s humble beginnings, he has always maintained a strong desire to help those in need and give back to the community. Hence, Mestre Kinha has maintained weekly classes at Care Hawaii, Inc. since 2010. He teaches adolescents with complex social issues who are in rehabilitation for substance abuse. Having capoeira as part of the program was modeled after a popular movie called Only the Strong which is a story of a teacher who uses capoeira to help reform troubled youth. Mestre Kinha and his students have also done presentations at Habilitat, Inc., a residential substance abuse program and senior care homes. He worked with students with special needs who attended Academy of the Pacific as well.

    In 2014, Mestre Kinha and Carmen Linhares (Professora Globeleza) opened Capoeira Besouro Hawaii Academy. The academy is an 1800 square foot studio in Kaneohe. Along with capoeira and samba classes, the academy has been available to other schools who teach arts such as Hula, Tahitian, and kick boxing.

    Every year since 2005 Capoeira Besouro Hawaii hosts a graduation ceremony called a Batizado. The students are tested in capoeira moves and music, play capoeira with visiting masters, and then receive their belts. Capoeira Besouro Hawaii holds two events per year; one for the children and one for the adult students.

    Some students who have graduated to instructor and professor belt levels teach capoeira classes of their own under Mestre Kinha’s direction. Professora Gata has been teaching capoeira in Maui since 2015. Professora Globeleza teaches capoeira basics and samba at the Capoeira Besouro Academy since 2014. Instrutor Pe de Cabra has been teaching capoeira in Cape Cod, Massachusetts since 2014. Instrutora Girassol has been teaching capoeira in Yamanashi Japan since 2010. Mestre Kinha’s legacy also continues through his son and prodigy, Instrutor JP, an exceptional capoeirista.  JP has been invited to attend many capoeira events throughout the U.S.  JP joined the United States Navy in 2016.

    Mestre Kinha’s dream to travel continues to be fulfilled through capoeira. Mestre Kinha was invited to present capoeira in Molokai, the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui. He has traveled to many cities in the states of California, Oregon, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He has also taught capoeira workshops in Canada, Japan, and Switzerland.

    Despite Mestre Kinha’s accomplishments, he never forgets his roots. He regularly visits his hometown in Rio de Janeiro. He has graduated some of his original students (Mestre Naja, Mestre Tininho) to the master level and supports their continual work with Capoeira Besouro in Brazil. Mestre Kinha has held several Capoeira exchange trips for students from Hawaii to visit Brazil. Hawaii students visited Brazilian historical sites, experienced the language and culture, met Brazilian capoeira students, and trained capoeira in its motherland.  Capoeira Besouro Hawaii also sponsored the visit of Contra-Mestre Albatroz from Capoeira Besouro Rio de Janeiro to attend the 13th Annual Batizado Graduation Ceremony in Hawaii. 

    Mestre Kinha’s goal is to foster the exchange of culture and knowledge between students of Capoeira all over the world and to propagate the art of capoeira in a safe family environment incorporating respect and discipline.