Mestre Camisa (José Tadeu Carneiro Cardoso) 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, but several years later moved to Salvador to continue his education and attend Mestre Bimba’s Academy himself.
In the early 70’s Mestre Camisa, along with his brother, were part of a yearlong tour of Brazil with the folkloric dance company Olodum Maré. The troupe stayed in Rio de Janeiro for three months and then departed for a tour of Europe. Mestre Camisa, however, remained in Rio and began earning his living by teaching Capoeira.
It was during this first, somewhat difficult, period in Rio that Mestre Camisa first began to consider the need to design a formal structure for classes; to draw up a basic lesson plans, to create a place to study and teach, and to debate techniques, discuss concepts and define rankings. In addition to the above, Mestre Camisa felt the need to give a family-like structure to the so many people who had left behind their cities and their friends and families, and who moved to Rio to dedicate themselves to Capoeira.
The latter 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).
Since the beginning of the 80′s, Mestre Camisa has been drawing on Mestre Bimba’s teachings to develop his own style by adding his unique technique and methodology that improved the martial aspect of Capoeira, and which has placed Mestre Camisa as the leading Capoeira master in the world. Since he does not have a massive body, Mestre Camisa developed a technique to neutralize his opponent with slips, takedowns, speed and efficiency in the application of the moves, blows and kicks. This technique allows him to face a bigger opponent under equal conditions.
On May 28, 2010 was given the title of Doctor Honoris Causa to Mestre Camisa, bestowed by the Council of the University of 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.