The UCA (United Capoeira Association) was born in the vision of Mestre Acordeon and Mestre Rã to create an organization where they could work together with similar philosophical ideals and yet preserve their own identities. Some of their American students then began teaching capoeira in different locations under the umbrella of UCA. As many capoeiristas and capoeira schools have embraced the system of "groups" as the paradigm of a capoeira organization, this strategy has proven to be very positive for the growth and survival of capoeira.
However, Mestre Acordeon is from a time when the concept of "group" was yet to be developed; therefore, UCA is not a group as understood in the capoeira context nor is it interested in many "chapters." UCA strives to be a community of students which appreciates and respects the collective work developing for all capoeira tendencies and approaches in Brazil and beyond.
Ubirajara Almeida, a student of legendary Mestre Bimba, is an author, musician, historian, and most importantly, an iconic capoeira master. One of the early pioneers to bring Capoeira to the western United States in the late 1970's. Today Mestre Acordeon runs the Berkeley headquarters of the United Capoeira Association, a capoeira organization that has various schools across the US, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and academies in Brazil. Mestre Acordeon has been a guide for many generations of capoeiristas across the world in his nearly 60 years of dedication to this incredible art. In September of 2013, Mestre Acordeon, Mestra Suelly, and a group of students embarked on a historic, year long, journey from Berkeley, CA to Bahia, Brazil by bicycle. Mestre Acordeon's goal was to capture on film the diversity of the different capoeira communities along his route, to see not only the way that capoeira can be a tool for personal transformation, but also to see how the diverse cultures affect the evolution of capoeira. The B2B crew returned in October of 2014 and the soon to be released documentary of this journey is currently in production.
"Capoeira is a tool to make people better human beings"
- Mestre Acordeon
Suellen Einarsen, the first American woman to earn the title of mestre in 2000, has played a vital role for women in Capoeira. Her humility is boundless, and her grace and fluidity are unmatched. She is an ever present inspiration to capoeiristas around the world. She began her career in capoeira in 1982 as a part of Mestre Acordeon's first generation of students in the U.S. As an accomplished performer in the Joe Goode Performance Group in the 80's, Mestra Suelly was one of the early dancers to incorporate capoeira movements into her modern/contemporary dance. Mestra Suelly has been interviewed by numerous journalists in an effort to expand awareness of capoeira here in the United States.
Cassio Marthino has been playing capoeira for over 40 years. He began his capoeira path in his hometown of Jundiaí, SP, Brazil with Mestre Tarzan and Mestre Galo. After both Mestre Tarzan and Mestre Galo left Jundiaí, Mestre Rã founded his group Capoeira Idalina as homage to his grandmother that inspired him to learn capoeira. In June of 1988, Mestre Rã moved to the US where he befriended Mestre Acordeon and the seeds that lead to the founding of the United Capoeira Association were born. Mestre Rã has performed and taught all over the world. Currently, Mestre Rã is back in his hometown of Junidaí where Capoeira Idalina is thriving. His focus is to attend to the needs of at risk children from the favelas of Jundiai.