Nação Capoeira Memphis is from the Nação Capoeira group located in Miami, Florida. The group is lead by Mestre Cesar Dialabama…
When asked what capoeira means, Mestre Cesar Dialabama states it is life. It gave him discipline and purpose – a way to escape drugs and gangs.
Born in Salvador, on May 3, 1969, Mestre Dialabama first discovered capoeira at seven years old. Walking down the street one day, he looked into a window where older boys and men were playing capoeira. What fascinated him was the fact that people were having fun at what appeared to be fighting – but there was no hatred or vengeance. There was also a grace and style yet a force and power that could be used to defend a turf. After observing several days, Mestre got the nerve to enter the academy and try his luck. That move began a lifetime journey.
Mestre Cesar trained with Mestre Carlinhos from ages 7 to 13. Then he advanced to Mestre Alabama’s academy. Training for 10 hours a day, Mestre Cesar earned his brown corda at age 17 and became one of the youngest mestres at age 23. His power, style, dedication and loyalty earned him the honor of being called Cesar Dialabama, derived from his Mestre’s name, Alabama.
Always searching for ways to expand his knowledge and skill, Mestre Cesar joined a Brazilian show called Oba Oba at age 19. They brought him to the United States, where he performed in theatres from Los Angeles, to Chicago, and to New York’s Broadway. When he arrived in Miami, he fell in love with an environment and climate that reminded him of home. Eager to share his skill, Mestre Cesar began teaching capoeira on Miami Beach 15 years ago. Mestre’s style of Nação Capoeira differs from other styles due to his visit to Thailand for three months. He noticed that a slighter built man could bring down a larger opponent with strategically placed low kicks on the legs. Mestre mastered that technique and incorporated it into his studio classes.
Although Mestre Cesar traveled far and wide, he never forgot those who helped him back in Brazil. Wanting to give back to the community of Salvador, he established a nação capoeira academy with the money he earned in the United States. Now 250 students, from four years old to professor, can train capoeira free of charge in Salvador.
Most rewarding for Mestre Cesar is being able to help young people stay out of gangs and drugs through the path he chose – capoeira. He also envisions new mestres of nação capoeira continuing this rich tradition.
Shandon “Rasta” Allen or “Instructor Rasta” as he also known, holds over 33 years martial arts experience in various systems. The list includes Taekwondo and Brazilian jujitsu among others. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art which he has dedicated the past 15 years to under the instructional leadership of Actor, MMA Strike Coach, and Capoeira Mestre Cesar Carneiro (Only the Strong) (The Quest)(MMA Masters).
One of the main things that has kept the instructor in Memphis is his love of teaching and sharing this beautiful art form with the Bluff city. Capoeira is his passion and it shows as he passes on knowledge that he is gained from some of the most knowledgeable individuals during his many years of training.
Mr. Allen has trained in various locations from Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta , and Brazil.
Schools taught in or performed at:
Raleigh Egypt Elementary
Campus School (University of Memphis)
Performed in numerous venues including:
Memphis Latino Festival
Arts in the Park
Pink Palace Museum for the City Mayor
Knowledge Quest and Fowler Festival
Buckman Performing Fine Arts Center
Mary’s Episcopal School
Le Moyne Owen Theatre
Rose Theatre University of Memphis
Fisk University Nashville
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN