Mestre Gato

Fernando Campelo Cavalcanti of Albuquerque was born in 1947 in Recife, Pernambuco. In 1963, he began his Capoeira training with a small group of teenagers, which became the Capoeira Senzala Group. Together with other capoeiristas of the Senzala Group, he actively participated in the development of a Capoeira training didactic and group organization that would strongly influence other Capoeira groups and associations in Brazil and abroad. In 1989, pursuing a Mestre’s degree in Water Resources Systems Engineering in Newcastle, England, he created the Senzala of Great Britain Group and began promoting the exchange of British capoeiristas with Brazil. In 1991 he participated in the Budosai Martial Arts Festival in Durham, England, along with some of the world’s leading Karate and Aikido Mestres. From that year on, he travelled to the UK and other countries in Europe and Asia annually, participating in Capoeira festivals and batizados. In October 2011, he was awarded the Viva Meu Mestre Award (Viva meu Mestre) 2010 Edition, organized by IPHAN (Brazil’s Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage). In Brazil, he led the organization Capoeira Senzala, which has already graduated 96 mestres (red belts). Currently 75 red belts mestres are considered representatives of the Senzala Group. Since 2017 Mestre Gato is a full member of the Rio de Janeiro State Council of Mestres, coordinated by IPHAN.