Mestre Mão Branca
William Douglas Guimarães, Mestre Mão Branca, was born on the 14th of April 1960, in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. His nickname was given during a roda in Rio de Janeiro. At the time there was an infamous justice-seeker called Mão Branca and as it was cold, William Douglas Guimarães would use white gloves to take part in the roda. People started to call him Mão Branca and the nickname stuck, it would bring him luck.
Mão Branca started capoeira with Mestre Jacaré (Luis Mario Gabeira Jacaré), in Belo Horizonte. At the time he was 16 years old and had trained with Jacaré 6 months but he had to move to Rio and it was there, in Niterói, that he came across Mestre Gigante’s gym ´Negrinho de Sinha´ and started to train there. He got the first cordel, green, then afterwards the green-yellow moving on to yellow and finally yellow-blue before going back to Belo Horizonte to look for work. When he got there capoeira was being practised in the streets.
He started to give classes at the DCE at Universidade Catolica, through Mestre Dunga. He used to work during the day and gave classes at night. The platform for his work was set. He returned briefly to Rio to be graduated to teacher by obtaining the blue cordel and on the following day he graduated to the contra-mestre cordel. Mão Branca received the first mestre cordel (white-green) in 1985, the second (white and yellow) in 1995 and the third grade of mestre (white blue) in 2005. In 1992 he was decorated with an Honorary Diploma of Sporting Merit by the city council of Belo Horizonte. He founded and was president of the ‘Federação Mineira de Capoeira’ for 4 years. And he was also one of the founders of the ‘Confederação Brasileira de Capoeira’.
After the death of Mestre Gigante, the ‘Negrinhos de Sinha’ was left without a leader and that’s how Mão Branca felt the necessity to set off on his own road creating ´ECCEAGE´ (Escola Cultural Capoeira Gerais).
In homage to Mestre Bimba, he founded his school on the 5th of February 1992 which was the anniversary of the death of Mestre Bimba. On this date, every year, he holds an event which is called ‘Grande roda Bimba nao morreu’ (Big roda Bimba is not dead).
Capoeira Gerais today is one of the largest and best groups of capoeira on the sporting and cultural scene in both Brazil and elsewhere. With its base in Belo Horizonte, in Minas Gerais, it has affiliated schools spread throughout the world.
Some creations of Mestre Mão Branca: the handshake garra, uniao e forca and the farewell chant at the end of every lesson:
Salve Mestre Bimba / Salve Mestre Pastinha / Salve Besouro / Salve Zumbi
Salve Mestre Gigante / Salve Negrinhos de Sinhá / Salve Capoeira Gerais / IÊ!
To get to know more about the work of Mestre Mão Branca access www.capoeira.esp.br