José Tadeu Carneiro Cardoso (born in 1956 in Jacobina, Bahia), better known as Mestre Camisa, is the founder of ABADÁ-Capoeira. His unique technique and methodology improved the martial aspect of Capoeira, and established him as the leading Capoeira master in the world.
Mestre Camisa was born in 1956 in Jacobina, state of Bahia, in the northeast of Brazil. He first began practicing and studying Capoeira at the age of seven. He was taught by his older brother Camisa Roxa, a student of Mestre Bimba. Several years later he moved to Salvador to continue his education and to attend Mestre Bimba’s Academy himself.
In the early 1970s, Camisa accompanied his brother on a year-long tour of Brazil with the folkloric dance company Olodum Maré which performed traditional arts including Capoeira. At the end of the tour, instead of returning to his studies in Salvador, Camisa decided to remain in Rio de Janeiro to teach Capoeira.
He began to offer training in Capoeira and slowly gained students. Camisa began to consider the need to design a formal structure for classes, to draw up a basic lesson plan, to create a place for studying and teaching, a place to debate techniques and discuss concepts. Since he does not have a massive body, Mestre Camisa developed a technique to neutralize his opponent with sweeps, take-downs, speed and efficiency in the application of the moves, as well as with blows and kicks. This technique allows him to face a bigger opponent under equal conditions.
In addition, he felt the need to give a family-like structure to so many people who had left behind their cities and their friends and families and moved to Rio de Janeiro to dedicate themselves to Capoeira. The later was the main impetus for the creation of a new organization that would, in 1988, become ABADÁ-Capoeira (Associação Brasileira de Apoio e Desenvolvimento da Arte-Capoeira – Brazilian Association for the Support and Development of the Art of Capoeira).
On May 28th, 2010, Mestre Camisa received his doctorate degree “Doutor Honoris Causa” from the University of Uberlandia (Universidade Federal de Uberlândia), Brazil. Indicated as eminent person who contributes to the development of Afro-Brazilian culture and holds valuable knowledge about Capoeira, Brazilian Intangible Heritage, and is distinguished by his social performance and cultural education in Brazil and abroad.
Today, ABADÁ-Capoeira, with over 60,000 members, is the largest Capoeira association in the world. Mestre Camisa is constantly researching Capoeira and improving its style. He teaches workshops and seminars and attends batizados in Brazil and throughout the world.
Through ABADÁ-Capoeira, Mestre Camisa is defining a new contemporary language that seeks to respect and preserve the traditions and foundations of Capoeira, and to follow its evolution throughout the world while considering all the aspects of Capoeira: as a martial art, as a playful game, as a source of rhythms and songs, and as a spontaneous art form.