Mestre Gato has almost 50 years of playing capoeira. It has been a well know figure in the capoeira scene and has in this time played an important role on the development of capoeira, organizing many meetings in Brazil and through out the world.
Mestre Gato, (Fernando Albuquerque) began studying Capoeira in 1964, at the age of 16 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He began training with the Flores brothers at the Laranjeiras.
During the late 1960′s in Brazil there were a number of competitions open to Capoeiristas, the premier of these being the “Berimbau de Ouro” and on the very first attempt, the team of Gato and Preguica won the competition and did so again the following year.
On the third attempt the Capoeira Association prevented Gato and Preguica from entering, claiming that only students were allowed to participate…not masters!
Gato and Preguica protested that they were not masters, only students! The Capoeira Association responded saying that due to their record over the past two years they were being recognised as Mestres.
In the early 1990′s Mestre Gato began studying in Newcastle at the University. As a student, he discovered “the English have rhythm and like to fight”; he organized various capoeira rodas on the University. It was such a success that Master Gato ended up creating Senzala Group of Great Britain, a branch of the original.
Mestre Gato is one of the founder members and one of the leading teachers of Group Senzala and is also the head of Group Senzala: Great Britain. Mestre Gato travels to the UK at least twice a year to teach workshops and to take part in batizado’s (baptism ceremony) with all the Senzala groups.