While some people note that Animal Flow and Capoeira can appear visually similar, in that both disciplines focus on fluid full-body movements and flow, the two programs differ quite a bit. Capoeira is a movement conversation between two people (although you can practice moves and sequences on your own). When one person moves towards the other, they must get out of the way. Whilst the intention is not to hurt your partner, a kick, sweep, or barge is very deliberate in that contact would be made if the appropriate evasive move was not used. Capoeira requires both standing and ground based movements and is often played in a circle where music is used to set the tempo of the game. Because Capoeira is thought to be a martial art disguised as a dance the Capoistas play a game which matches the speed of the music beat.
Animal Flow is a ground-based movement system that is inspired by gymnastics, parkour, hand-balancing and breakdancing. Although there is not a direct connection to Capoeira, the inspiration that breakdancing provides to many AF moves will inherently draw upon Capoeira as one of its roots. Thus, the Front Sweep move performed in AF, which is loosely based on the 6-Step movement from breakdancing, can also resemble the sweeping movements performed in Capoeira. Additionally, both programs aim to improve connection with your own body.
However, the techniques, intentions, and executions remain different. Animal Flow is centered around the 3 base positions called Ape, Beast and Crab, with all AF sequences using the ABC’s as gateways to other movements. Animal Flow is almost entirely quadrupedal (hands and feet on the ground), whilst Capoeira uses an equal blend of bipedal and quadrupedal moves. Animal Flow is not practiced as dance between individuals and has no martial arts components. Animal Flow could be practiced to music but it is not an inherent part of the programme.
It is also important to note that Capoeira is steeped in tradition and history, with origins in Angola and Brazil. Animal Flow, on the other hand, is only 10-year old, making no claims to a spiritual foundation. AF is instead focused on taking a systematic approach to enhancing physical fitness qualities through movements that are accessible to everyone.
Some of our Certified AF Instructors are also Capoistas, and their assessment of the two programs has generally been that they are similar in their focus on fluid body movements and flow, but very different in the specific movements, the way the programs are learned and practices, and in their philosophies and intentions. We like to say that if you like one of them, you'll probably like the other and should give it a try!