Every group has its own grading levels (colours) and Capoeiristas can only receive their new cordas at a Troca do Corda ceremonies and/or Batizado, which are typically held once a year.
Here is some brief information about each corda:
Crua (Raw) – “Batizado” level
Students begin their Capoeira training at this level. Sometimes this level is also described as crua, or raw, which signifies growth potential rather than being seen as inexperienced.
» Students need basic understanding of the game, the etiquette of the roda, and must be able to fall correctly!
Yellow (Amarelo) – Beginner Level
Students demonstrate a basic understanding of the Capoeira game and have a basic knowledge of the movements, such as kicks and ground techniques, as well as music. Students know the choruses to many songs and have begun learning to play some of the instruments.
» Students must have a good understanding of the Angola and the Regional games. They must also understand the instruments played within the roda.
Orange (Laranja) – Intermediate level
Students have a deeper understanding of the Capoeira game, utilising many different kicks, ground, and acrobatic combination. At this level, students are also capable of leading a song during a roda and playing the instruments with increasing skill.
» Students must be able to play all the instruments of the roda and must be able to sing at the solo level in the roda.
Grey (Cinza) – Advanced Level
This is when things get serious! As Capoeiristas, they fully incorporate a large variety of advanced movements including acrobatics, strength movements and takedowns. They have a large repertoire of songs and can play all the instruments well. Sometimes the students earn the title of Monitor at this level ONLY if they wish to progress to become teachers and begin learning how to teach kids and beginner adults.
» Students must have an expressive style within the roda and show an understanding of mandinga. Must be able to play the music at a high level of coordination – and should be able to sing the Ladiainha.
Blue (Azul) – Graduado
Students at this level earn the title of Graduado. This where the students enter a new stage of Capoeira as they are assessed not only on their physical ability but also on their teaching, commitment to the art and their ability to communicate in their Capoeira game. Blue cords must have an excellent vision of the Capoeira game with exceptional technique, and dedicated training etiquette. A Graduado earns the title of an Instrutor (Instructor) when he/she begins teaching full classes and build a strong teaching experience.
» Capoeiristas must be able to teach within the group and need to make a conscious choice whether or not he/she wants to turn Capoeira into a career.
Green (Verde) – Professor
At this level, Capoeiristas continue to improve their skills, which now include teaching. They are very strong in the roda, and are equally strong in their instruction. Their strength comes from their ability to incorporate malicia (deviousness) and intuition into their games. It is malicia that gives Capoeiristas their ability to surprise and confuse their opponents.
» Green cords must take their training to another level by incorporating an intellectual awareness of the art as well as strength, skill, and reflex.
Purple (Roxo) – Professor
Capoeiristas at this level have proven themselves as skilled martial artists and proficient teachers. They are regarded highly because of their progress and devotion to Capoeira. Their malicia skill, intuition, reflex, and vision of the game continue to increase, as they now apply the knowledge they’ve gained within the roda to their dealings with the outside world, and vice-versa!
Brown (Marrom) – Contra Mestre
Contra-Mestres are some of the most important figures in their group and in the world of Capoeira. They are the right hand of their Mestres vital in the dissemination of the art form’s history, tradition, and skill as well as leaders in the group. It is their responsibility to continue their training and development in the art of Capoeira. Formidable players in the roda, Contra-Mestres can seamlessly combine all of their skills into a fierce and relentless game.
Red (Vermelho) – Mestre
This is the apex for Capoeiristas. Mestres are legendary for their skills, wisdom, creativity, and tact both inside and outside the roda. They have solidified their Capoeira game by fusing their physical skill, spiritual connection to the art, and vision of the game with the cunning and trickery they’ve learned throughout their lives. Mestres comprise the top echelon of all Capoeira groups and rightfully oversee the activities of their group. Mestres are also important figures in the community, maintaining an excellent relationship with their students and other leaders in their area.