Mestre Cobra Mansa (born Cinézio Feliciano Peçanha, 1960 in Duque de Caxias, Brazil) commonly known as Cobrinha, Cobrinha Mansa, is a mestre or master of Capoeira Angola. He is one of the founders and the guiding light of an organization known either as FICA (in Brazil, an acronym for Fundaçao Internacional de Capoeira de Angola) or ICAF (in English, this stands for the International Capoeira Angola Foundation, which is the literal translation of the words which make up the acronym FICA). FICA/ICAF is the largest Capoeira Angola organization in the world, consisting of many local affiliates, chapters, and training centers incorporated as not-for-profits in the United States. These organizations charge nominal annual membership fees, and have locations in several countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Mestre Cobra Mansa is well known in the world of Capoeira. He started Capoeira in 1973 with Mestre Josias da Silva and Raimundo in the Rio neighborhood of Duque de Caxias. He played Capoeira in the Duque Caxias street rodas and was one of the founders of the Caxias Street Roda with Mestre Rogerio Russo and Peixinho de Caxias. (A roda literally means circle, and is the formation of persons that surround a game of the martial dance of Capoeira.) In 1974 Cobra Mansa became a student of Mestre Moraes after he saw Mestre Moraes play in the Roda of Central Brazil. Prior to his dedicating his life to Capoeira Angola, he worked in photography and as a street vendor in a circus (Circo Picolino). He went to Belo Horizonte in 1979 and was a police officer in this city where he spent 2 years. In 1981 he went to Salvador and started the organization and school, GCAP (Grupo Capoeira Angola Pelorinho) in Salvador with Mestre Moraes.
In 1995, the International Capoeira Angola Foundation was founded by Mestre Cobra Mansa, with its headquarters in Washington, DC. Together with Mestre Jurandir Nascimento and Mestre Valmir Damasceno, Mestre Cobra Mansa has expanded ICAF to create an international Capoeira Angola community with affiliate schools in the United States, Brazil, Europe, Asia and Africa.
The International Capoeira Angola Foundation (known by its acronym ICAF or in Portuguese, Fundação Internacional de Capoeira de Angola or FICA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Capoeira Angola. ICAF’s mission is to maintain, promote and preserve the art of Capoeira Angola and Afro-Brazilian culture.
Cobra Mansa has researched all aspects of Capoeira Angola, from its origins in Africa through its turbulent history in Brazil. He has interviewed and videotaped many of the old masters in an effort to accurately understand and document the events leading up to the present. He is now a leading expert, not just on Capoeira, but on the berimbau (the musical bow), the Black Movement, and African martial arts, and holds a bachelors degree in physical education.
Although Cobra Mansa no longer lives in Washington DC he spends his time between Kilombo Tenonde and doing workshops around the world.