All students will eventually receive an appelido (nickname) in Capoeira.
In order to explain the tradition of the nicknames, we must first recall the history of Capoeira. Capoeira is a martial art that grew out of a necessity for survival and freedom for the African slaves who were forcibly brought to Brazil to work on the plantations.
After slavery, the oppression continued. There were not many employment opportunities for uneducated, ex-slaves. For many, their only skill was Capoeira and many turned to petty thievery, gangs or were hired by corrupt politicians and high society members as personal body guards and thugs as a way to survive.
Capoeira in Brasil around the late 1800’s was negatively associated and the practice of Capoeira was a punishable offence. Hence, capoeiristas of that period gave themselves nicknames in order to hide their real identities from the police and often they had more than one. Capoeira today is recognised as Brazil's national sport and is practised around the world.
Getting a nickname in Capoeira has become a tradition and one usually receives a nickname at his or her first Batizado.