An esquiva is a basic, evasive move in capoeira, used to dodge or avoid an attack.
Literally escape or dodge. Many forms exist but all involve moving the head and torso out of the way of an attack. Esquivas distinguish capoeira from many other martial arts for the simple of fact of going along with flow of the attack and releasing an equal or more devastating attack. Many of the attacks in capoeira are fully committed kicks that would cause more injury blocking them instead of dodging them. Blocking attacks upset and imbalance the flow of the game making esquivas more common in rodas. Blocks do sometimes occur when one player is so caught off guard that they are used instinctively. The most common situations being defenses against hand attacks.
Esquiva de Baixa Also known as Esquiva de Frente."Low dodge", this has the looks of an extremely low ginga. The rear leg and foot are exaggerated and placed even farther back to bring the hips lower to the ground. The torso is bent forward bringing the head even lower. If the left foot is back then the right hand is placed on the floor; the left hand is used to guard the face and head.
Esquiva Lateral "Side escape" or side dodge. It is executed while the feet are in a parallel position. The escape is simply bringing the torso down and to the left or right (depending on the direction of the other player's kick) and reaching the hand over the head The hand can also be placed in front of the face for protection. Some academies will place the hand that is not guarding onto the floor to get even lower.
Esquiva Diagonal This is a dodge that simultaneously dodges and advances forward. Instead of going straight down under an attack or off to the side like in the esquiva lateral or esquiva de frente, the capoeirista steps diagonally of to the left or right of the attack. He/she places his front foot in a perpendicular position to his back foot and crouches down at the knees in a low lunge. The left or right arm comes up to protect the face depending on the direction of the attack while the other arm maintains the body’s balance. This is a quite useful esquiva because many counterattacks are available to the player from this position which can include Martelos, Ganchos, or vingativas saving valuable time.