Capoeira belts are rope-like, not flat, as you would imagine most other martial arts belts. A capoeira belt is called, either a “cordao”, meaning “cord,” or corda, meaning “rope.”
Most likely, you will not find a place that sells ready-made cordas. My guess is, because, different capoeira groups, or grupos, have different belt color systems. It is normal, for Capoeira grupos to make their own belts.
In fact, it is almost like a ritual that happens during the week(s) leading up to a batizado or troca de corda. The process is time-consuming and is usually done by several members of their group that gather outside of classes to help out in this tradition.
Although, there may be other ways of making capoeira belts, here are two different methods taken from different groups.
Making a Capoeira Cordao
“The cordao is made from wool and is woven with the color, or colors, of the grade. My own group, Cordao de Ouro, uses cordaos that are woven in the traditional way by the students of the academy in the lead-up to the batizado. The weaving of the belts is time-consuming, so some groups buy the belts pre-woven. All the belts for my London group are hand-woven by students of my father’s academy in Brazil.”
Excerpt taken from Essential Capoeira: The Guide to Mastering the Art
written by Mestre Poncianinho, Michelle Porter
Making a Capoeira Corda
Other groups make their belts by dying rope that is bought in bulk and cut to size.
Steps to take:
1. Buy Material. You can find this rope by searching for “corda in bulk” at capoeira stores, although they may also offer pre-cut undyed cordas as well. Don’t forget to buy color dyes.
2. Cut the rope. Keep in mind, while cutting the rope, that a capoeira corda is doubled when put around the waist. So make sure you are cutting them long enough.
3. Dye the belts. Depending on the number of different color belts you’re making, you may need several buckets. Each bucket filled with a different color dye mixed with water. But don’t fill the buckets to the top. You will be dipping the belts in them and it could get messy. At the same time you want plenty of dye that will cover the belts while dying them. Belts with only one color may be dipped entirely and then set aside to dry. Belts with two colors should be dipped half way with one color and set aside to dry. Once it is dry, the other half of the belt is dipped in a separate color dye. Also depending on the color you are trying to get, some belts may be dipped a second time just to get a darker color. Note: when dipping the corda, make sure you are letting it soak well enough to cover it evenly in color.
4. Set to dry. The drying process may take a while (possibly more than a day) due to the thickness and nature of the corda.
Have you made your own corda? Leave a comment and let us know if you have a special tip.