How To Execute A Martelo Kick In Capoeira?

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Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art form that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music, is renowned for its vibrant kicks and fluid movements. One of the most iconic and powerful kicks in capoeira is the “Martelo” kick. Also known as the hammer kick, the “Martelo” kick requires precise technique, flexibility, and coordination to execute effectively.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of the “Martelo” kick and provide a step-by-step breakdown of how to perform it with finesse. Whether you are a beginner venturing into the world of capoeira or an experienced practitioner looking to refine your skills, this article will equip you with the knowledge and techniques necessary to master this dynamic kick.


What is the “Martelo” kick in capoeira?

The “Martelo” kick is a fundamental kick in capoeira characterized by its arcing motion resembling a hammer strike. This dynamic kick involves a sweeping motion of the leg, executed in a semi-circular trajectory from the side or diagonally across the body. The power generated by the hip rotation and the whipping action of the leg make the “Martelo” kick an effective technique in capoeira’s arsenal.


What are the key benefits of incorporating the “Martelo” kick in your capoeira repertoire?

The “Martelo” kick offers several advantages that make it a valuable addition to any capoeira practitioner’s arsenal. Here are some key benefits of incorporating the “Martelo” kick into your repertoire:

  1. Power and Striking Force: The “Martelo” kick enables you to generate substantial power and striking force, making it effective for both offensive and defensive maneuvers.
  2. Versatility: This kick can be executed from various positions, allowing you to adapt and respond to different scenarios in the roda (capoeira circle).
  3. Agility and Flexibility: Performing the “Martelo” kick requires flexibility in the hips, legs, and lower back, enhancing your overall agility and range of motion.
  4. Fluidity and Style: The graceful and fluid motion of the “Martelo” kick adds an element of style and finesse to your capoeira game, captivating audiences and fellow practitioners alike.


What are the basic techniques and body mechanics involved in performing the “Martelo” kick?

To execute the “Martelo” kick effectively, it is crucial to understand the basic techniques and body mechanics involved. Follow these step-by-step instructions to develop a strong foundation for your “Martelo” kick:

Step 1: Stance and Weight Distribution Begin in the Ginga stance, with your body slightly angled and your weight distributed evenly between your feet. This stance provides stability and fluidity of movement.

Step 2: Leg Positioning and Chambering Start by lifting your lead leg (usually the back leg) off the ground, bending the knee and pulling it towards your chest. This is known as the chambering position, and it helps generate power and speed in the kick.

Step 3: Hip Rotation and Leg Extension Initiate the kick by rotating your hips in the direction of your target. As you rotate, swiftly extend your leg from the chambering position, aiming to strike the target with the top or outside edge of your foot.

Step 4: Follow-Through and Return Upon striking the target, allow your leg to follow through the motion, extending it fully for maximum power and range. Remember to maintain balance and control throughout the entire movement. Finally, return your leg to the chambering position or resume the Ginga stance.


How can one improve flexibility and range of motion for the “Martelo” kick?

Flexibility plays a crucial role in executing the “Martelo” kick with precision and power. Here are some effective ways to improve flexibility and increase your range of motion for the “Martelo” kick:

  1. Regular Stretching Routine: Incorporate a consistent stretching routine into your training regimen, focusing on hip openers, hamstring stretches, and groin stretches. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds, gradually increasing the duration over time.
  2. Dynamic Warm-up Exercises: Prior to training or practicing the “Martelo” kick, engage in dynamic warm-up exercises such as leg swings, hip rotations, and lunges. These exercises improve blood flow, increase joint mobility, and prepare your muscles for the movements ahead.
  3. PNF Stretching: Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching techniques, such as contract-relax and hold-relax, can help improve flexibility. Partner-assisted PNF stretching can provide even greater gains in range of motion.
  4. Yoga or Pilates: Incorporating yoga or Pilates into your fitness routine can greatly enhance your flexibility, core strength, and body awareness, all of which are essential for executing the “Martelo” kick effectively.


What are some common mistakes to avoid when performing the “Martelo” kick?

While mastering the “Martelo” kick takes time and practice, it is essential to be aware of common mistakes that can hinder your progress. Here are some key mistakes to avoid when performing the “Martelo” kick:

  1. Lack of Chambering: Neglecting to fully chamber the leg before initiating the kick can compromise the power and effectiveness of the “Martelo.” Ensure that you pull your knee towards your chest during the chambering phase.
  2. Incorrect Hip Rotation: Failing to rotate the hips sufficiently can limit the reach and power of the kick. Emphasize hip rotation to generate maximum force and trajectory.
  3. Poor Balance and Control: Overextending or underestimating the follow-through can lead to loss of balance and control. Focus on maintaining stability throughout the kick, and return to a stable position after striking.
  4. Neglecting Conditioning: Building strength and conditioning in the supporting leg, core muscles, and hip flexors is essential for executing the “Martelo” kick effectively. Neglecting conditioning exercises can hinder your progress and increase the risk of injury.


How can you integrate the “Martelo” kick into capoeira gameplay?

The “Martelo” kick can be seamlessly integrated into various aspects of capoeira gameplay. Here are some ways to incorporate the “Martelo” kick effectively:

  1. Offensive Strikes: Use the “Martelo” kick to target your opponent’s upper body, particularly the head or torso. Its arcing motion and striking force make it an effective offensive technique.
  2. Defensive Maneuvers: The “Martelo” kick can also be employed as a defensive maneuver. Its wide sweep and trajectory can help you keep opponents at bay and create distance when needed.
  3. Combination Attacks: Combine the “Martelo” kick with other capoeira kicks, sweeps, or acrobatic movements to create fluid and unpredictable combinations. This adds depth and complexity to your capoeira game, keeping your opponent guessing.
  4. Musicality and Rhythm: Sync your “Martelo” kicks with the rhythm of the capoeira music, showcasing your mastery of the art form. Incorporate variations in speed, timing, and intensity to express your personal style and musicality.



The “Martelo” kick is a captivating and potent technique in capoeira that demands precision, flexibility, and control. By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this article, along with regular practice and dedication, you can develop proficiency in executing this dynamic kick. Remember to focus on proper technique, body mechanics, and flexibility to maximize the power and effectiveness of your “Martelo” kick. With time and effort, you will master this iconic capoeira movement, enhancing your overall skills and enriching your capoeira journey.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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