Mestre Pedro Cruz
Mestre Pedro Cruz 'Cachorro' hails from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, where he was born and raised. As a young child he used to hang out at Mercado Modelo and Rampa do Mercado in Salvador, Bahia, where he took weekly trips to the island of Vera Cruz-Mar Grande across the bay. Salvador and Vera Cruz are special places in Brazilian history: the Bay of All Saints was the major slave port for most of the Africans who came to work on the sugar and coffee plantations. The bay held the first port of Brazil, which received the majority of trade ships from Europe and Africa. It was also the birthplace of Capoeira. It was in this magical place where Mestre Cachorro was first exposed to Capoeira as he waited for the boats to travel between Salvador and Vera Cruz.
Several years later he started to learn capoeira in high school. Then, in the late 80’s, he joined an academy to start training with Mestre Touche in the Barra neighborhood. Mestre Touche was a student of Mestre China and a great teacher with amazing strength. Around the mid 90’s Mestre Touche and Mestre Pedro Cruz moved to train and teach with Mestre China in the Pituba neighborhood. Eventually he became more influenced by Mestre China’s teacher, Mestre Medicina. In addition to developing a unique way of playing Capoeira, training many of the great Mestres in the city, and founding Grupo Raça, Mestre Medicina held a medical degree. It was through the influence of this amazing martial art and these incredible teachers that Pedro decided teaching Capoeira would be his life’s work.
In 2001, Pedro Cruz moved to Portland, Oregon and immediately created the first American outpost of Grupo Raça. Since then, he has taught in several different locations around Portland such as NACA, Body Moves and Buckman Elementary School. Currently he holds adult classes at Center Space and Zoomtopia, as well as a kid’s class at Irvington Middle School. In addition, since 2009, Pedro has been teaching Capoeira to students at Reed College. Furthermore, Pedro is often a guest teacher at many Capoeira events throughout the US and Brazil where he connects with other Capoeira communities and teachers by participating in belt graduations, tournaments and music festivals. In Portland, Mestre Cachorro supports the Brazilian music scene as a guest musician and singer for local groups such as Axé-Dide and Lions of Batucada.