Mestre Cobra, Antonio Marcelo Rodrigues Trinade, was born in Amparo—a city in the interior of the state of São Paulo—on November 18th, 1963. As a teenager he used to watch capoeira rodas around town with friends. Capoeiristas noticed his interest in the art and invited him to train at the local capoeira school where he met Mestre Carlão. Cobra was the oldest of four children, so by the time he turned sixteen, he was working as a weaver to help support his family. Every day after work he went to the capoeira school and became one of Carlão's most dedicated students.

Capoeira also helped him overcome one of the most difficult moments of his life: the early loss of his mother when he was 16 years old. The family experienced difficult moments with the separation of the brothers while the father, who was a traveling salesman, was reorganizing the structure of the family. "At that moment capoeira was my escape valve; it's what held me together, and this gave me motivation," explains Cobra.

Cobra trained in the city of Amparo for six years, hearing stories of great capoeiristas and about capoeira in Rio de Janeiro. Mestre Carlão spoke about Camisa not only as a great capoeirista, but also in reference to his personality, the work he was doing, and his preoccupation with the direction in which capoeira was heading. These conversations sparked Cobra’s interest in going to Rio de Janeiro to meet Mestre Camisa. During a trip to Acres for a batizado at the school of Mestre Rodolfo (the Mestre of Carlão), Cobra met Mestre Camisa and asked if he could go to Rio de Janeiro to take a class with him; Mestre Camisa agreed. Cobra held the rank of Graduado and taught capoeira in Amparo, but he had many financial difficulties. Despite that, Cobra began saving money for the trip to Rio.

In December 1984, Cobra went to Rio with just enough money to watch one of Camisa’s classes and return to Amparo the next day. When he arrived at the class, he was told that Mestre Camisa was at the Circo Voador (The Flying Circus), organizing the First National Capoeira Encounter. When Cobra arrived at the Circo Voador, he saw Mestre Rodolfo, who told him it was very important that Cobra participate in Camisa’s event. Mestre Rodolfo paid for Cobra's hotel and meals for a week, which he remembers today as the greatest gift of his life. He reflects, “At that point I realized my destiny was going to change…I understood how advanced capoeira was in Rio de Janeiro compared to the rest of the country; I was fascinated by the world of capoeira and its leadership here in Rio de Janeiro.”

 

From 1985 to 1986, Cobra trained monthly in Rio de Janeiro. He spent a week at the “Associação” in Botafogo, where he trained daily from 4-6 PM with Mestre Camisa and 7-10 PM with Mestre Caio before returning to São Paulo. In 1987, Cobra decided to move to Rio de Janeiro permanently. Cobra informed Mestre Carlão about his decision. In response, Mestre Carlão asked Mestre Camisa to welcome Cobra, saying he was a good man to have by his side. And so Camisa gave Cobra a small room at the Associação, the capoeira school where Camisa once taught.“That little room was like a five star hotel; a place where I can live and train…it was the best,” Cobra would recall. He began to train consistently with Mestre Camisa and soon took on organizing events and social projects. As Mestre Camisa developed ABADÁ-Capoeira in the late 1980s, Cobra stood by his side, and he has ever since. As the ABADÁ organization grew, so did Mestre Cobra’s popularity as one of the most technical capoeiristas in Rio.Mestre Cobra has not stopped giving workshops and seminars throughout the world. In 1993 he received the rank of Mestrando, and in 2005 he was recognized as a Mestre. Mestre Cobra has mentored hundreds of students and has been an essential piece in the growth of ABADÁ-Capoeira.

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