Brazilian martial art changes lives

Brazilian martial art changes lives

In the poorest areas of Brazil, the Olympics has captured the imagination of children who have only ever been able to dream of travelling the world.

One sport in particular is their passion; it's not an Olympic discipline, but it's changing their lives.

Sixteen-year-old Pablo Vinicius owes the Brazilian martial art capoeira for getting him out of a battle with poverty in Rocinha favela, to becoming an actor in a local TV series.

"So capoeira is my life. Capoeira helped me in my studies and my school, my life and my family, so now my mother and brother play capoeira too," says Mr Vinicius.

Capoeira originated in Brazil in the 16th century from West African slaves. It's both a practice of self-defence and dance to lift their spirits.

The favela is symbolic about how this martial art started and the idea behind teaching it is to provide some empowerment about where they've come, but also about where they're going.

Capoeira teacher "Master Manel" says he does it to keep kids occupied and away from violence in the favelas in which 300 of the residents who live in the winding alleys are involved.

"He wants to show for children and teenagers of favelas that you have to wake up for your life for other things, because the world is very big and I have to know more, and now they're dreaming big.

"I have one question - why capoeira doesn't stay in the Olympics. It's definitely enough of a challenge, for me at least."