The history of Escola AÚ Capoeira began with its roots in Brazil, originating from the work and history of its founder, Lourival Fernando Alves Leite, also known as Mestre Pop. The school aims to promote and perpetuate the practice of African-Brazilian culture through actions of social education.
Mestre Pop began learning Capoeira in 1975 at the age of 22, in his home town of Campo Grande – Mato Grosso do Sul. Being the pioneer in the teachings of this practice in Santa Catarina, his work began in the city of Florianopolis in Educandário November 25, a Santa Catarina institution chaired by the Foundation of the Welfare of Minors, on August 1 1977.
Here, Mestre Pop worked with children and inmates of the institution, where he remained for eight years. A group of about 80 people, children and adolescents of Educandário November 25, guided by Mestre Pop, began the work of Capoeira in Florianopolis. Thus, Quilombo de Palmares was born, the infant group of Educandário November 25.
Three years later, the first Capoeira association legally registered in the state of Santa Catarina, Associação Cultural Berimbau de Ouro, was established, where children of Educandário also started to attend. During this period Grupo Berimbau de Ouro was created, integrating children of Educandário as students of the academy, who were college students, young and middle-class workers in general.
Mestre Pop then began work intensely promoting capoeira to the university community and middle class youth of Florianopolis. It was a period that had gained notoriety and acclaim for many projects developed both in the social, cultural and sports activities.
In the early 80s, the Berimbau de Ouro group changed its name to Grupo Nação Capoeira, which initially expanded to Rio Grande do Sul and Parana, and then later to Rio de Janeiro. This group remained until 1995 (it still exists today, led by some of his former students), while Mestre Pop founded Associação Cultural Aú Entidade Afro Brasileira and Grupo Aú Capoeira.
Grupo Aú Capoeira was the last of Mestre Pop’s experience from the perspective of the group concept. After six years of work with Grupo Aú Capoeira, he decided to dissolve it in 2004 due to several factors in the consistency amongst its teachers, as well as in the relations between graduates, that resulted in the group’s environment becoming untenable.
As a result of the experience gained from 27 years of working on the concept of organization for Capoeira from a group perspective, Mestre Pop then went on teach without representative institutions. He decided to continue his work, attend capoeira rodas and deliver lessons, but without an institutional banner.
In 2006, two years after the end of Grupo Aú Capoeira, the two sons of Mestre Pop who followed his work even after the end of Grupo Aú Capoeira, asked him to rescue the group. Somewhat reluctantly, he told them that it was again just a different format and a new conception of work. It was then that the master breathed new life to Grupo Aú Capoeira, albeit with a different proposal.
Seeking a more positive and stronger group design, an idea was born and the proposal for a School of Capoeira was formed. It was decided that this school will be an organization whose main goal is not Capoeira itself, but instead focused on the individuals involved within it. Emphasis is placed on the form of presentation and transmission of the vast body of knowledge that pervades the theoretical and practical aspects of Capoeira.
Today, under the direction of Mestre Pop, the school is now operating in various social, physical and cultural environments with its presence established in Brazil, New Zealand and Malaysia.
In Malaysia, the AÚ Capoeira school is led by Dzulfadli Ibrahim, also known as Instrutor Saracura.