Our Instructors

These qualities are taught to and expected from all Mandinga instructors:

  • Have a unique psychology on his/her teaching that will match each student’s needs.
  • Bring creativity and versatility to the classes, remembering to always focus on the foundation training; be innovating, fun, and relaxed, and firm when needed.
  • Be consistent enough with the training in order to create a change, and observant enough to change the training when needed.
  • Be honest and capable of constructive criticism to aid a student’s improvement, but also give students acknowledgements of their progression even by the smallest degree.
  • Be respectful of people’s “limitations” and capable of directing the training to achieve these students’ maximum potential.
  • Be willing to solve problems and have conflict resolution based on fairness to all people involved in any disagreement, having in mind that building community is our model, supporting the personal growth of each individual is our hope, and maintaining a healthy environment in class is our responsibility.
  • Be capable of accepting and defending the group’s goals, respecting and defending our constitution and our mission statement.
  • Be willing and open to grow and learn more and more, not only from the highest ranking master but also from the newest beginner, regardless of his or her age, athletic experience, racial back ground, sex or gender, religious orientation, or any other characteristic that would make such a person a minority or out-of-the-ordinary in the instructor’s cultural, emotional or intellectual background.
  • Be humble enough to share with your students your own limitations within your ranking (belt) or time practicing capoeira, and also be open to being taught, corrected and criticized in front of your students by other higher levels, visiting professores, contra-mestres, or mestres.
  • Be committed to training frequently and maintaining a good example of a well-fit instructor, well-informed on the art of capoeira and its related activities, and well-informed on the progression of the fitness, martial arts and capoeira world.
  • Be able to support and encourage people of different spiritual beliefs to feel welcome and accepted in our community and classes-even if the instructor is an atheist.
  • Have training and basic knowledge of first aid and CPR, and be willing to assist not only capoeira practitioners but anyone in need of assistance anywhere in the world.

Mestra Sorriso

Mestra Sorriso has been training capoeira since 1984, and was one of the founding members of Capoeira Mandinga. In 1992 she was the first American women  to graduate to the level of professora. She has taught capoeira in the US, Canada, Germany and New Zealand. She is also included in a book of interviews with […]

Mestre Bengala

Donald Coley, also known as Bengala, is a capoeira mestre (master) who has been training, performing and teaching capoeira for over 25 years. Because he was already in his mid thirties when he started training, he thought that he would just try it out for a little while, and then quit when it got too hard. He soon […]

Instrutora Bolacha

I have been training Capoeira since 1997! I was in the 6th grade when I began participating in an afterschool program at Hawthorne Elementary in the Fruitvale District. Capoeira has guided me to become an Instructor of the art and has positively impacted my life in many ways. Capoeira Mandinga has given me the opportunity to […]

Professor Gavião

I began training capoeira in 1998 with Mestra Sorriso in Fairfax, California.  A good friend of mine told me that there was a class at the community church. After my first lesson, I attended every class possible.  It was an excellent discipline for me, as well as a lot of fun.  Capoeira has taken me […]

Professor Ligerinho

I began taking capoeira classes in 2000 with Mestre Marcelo to get some exercise and stay sane. Capoeira is always challenging me to learn new things, like playing music, cooperating with a partner, going with the flow, grace under pressure, and recognizing the work I have to do. When I’m not at Capoeira Mandinga, I […]

Professor Pezão

Pezão started training capoeira in 1999 under Mestra Sorriso, a student of Mestre Marcelo Caverinha. When I was about 9 years old, I saw the movie ‘Only the Strong,’ an over-the-top dramatized movie about Capoeira, that nonetheless hooked me immediately, and I began searching out somewhere to train Capoeira. I had also tried Aikido and […]

Professor Sumido

Professor Sumido has been training with Capoeira Mandinga since 1999 when he first discovered Mestre Marcelo’s Capoeira classes at UC Berkeley. In 2005 Sumido began teaching Capoeira in Alameda public schools & cultural arts centers & currently supervises the Capoeira Mandinga Alameda program for kids, teens, & adults

Instrutora Cici

I found capoeira in the year 2000 when I was living and studying in Valparaiso, Chile. I was twenty years  old, learning a new language and ready for much more newness. One night I ventured out to a bar high on a hill in a neighborhood of one story stucco buildings and cobblestone streets. Late […]

Instrutora Tanajura

A friend of mine just got back home to Manila from a work stint in Singapore, where she learned capoeira, and found a group of guys learning off of the internet. As a semi-serious dancer in college, it got me curious, and soon found myself going regularly to the Saturday sessions. About a year later, […]

Monitora Trevo

Trevo started training capoeira as a way to meet people and enjoy singing – she still likes singing and she truly values the community she’s discovered in all the places she’s trained: Southern California, Michigan, Japan, and of course the Bay Area. A physical therapist by day, she’s particularly interested in how people move, how […]


Amazonas has been in love with Capoeira since 2001. For 9 years she played Capoeira with groups here and there trying to find a school that reflected the passion she felt when she played Capoeira. It was only in 2010 that she found home with Capoeira Mandinga. Having lived and worked in West Africa for […]