Manoel dos Reis Machado was born on November 23, 1899, in the neighborhood of Brotas, Engenho Velho, in the city of Salvador, state of Bahia, the son of Luis Candido Machado, batuque artist, and Dona Maria Martinha do Bonfim. His capoeira name, Mestre Bimba, arose from a bet between his mother and the midwife as to whether he would be a boy or a girl. Being a boy, he had a Bimba, referring to his masculine genital organs.
Mestre Bimba had various professions, but confirmed himself as a Master of Capoeira.
At that time capoeiristas were marginalized. Police sergeant, Pedro de Araujo Gordilho, 'Pedrito' was for a long time the fear of Bahian capoeiristas, who began to hide themselves and disguise their capoeira, being seen merely as folklore. The fighting capoeiristas, feared, loyal and with technique gave way to the pseudo-angolan capoeira dancers. Only a few kicks remained, no more than nine, and the ginga.
Feeling that capoeira was losing its characteristics, Bimba, possessing a creative spirit and great intelligence, decided to create a particular method, known today as Regional Baiana. Excellent practitioner of capoeira and intimate with Batuque (ancient art of fighting now disused), Mestre Bimba became the great name of capoeira, being the image itself of the fight.
In 1932, he founded the first specialized academy, in Engenho Velho de Brotas. At this time he also taught in people's homes, in the 'Roca do Lobo'. On June 9, 1937, he registered his Capoeira School with the Secretary of Education, Health and Public Assistance, hence becoming the first authorized academy to lecture capoeira. In 1939 he taught 'regional' in the army base of the CPOR. He established his second academy in 1942.
On July 23, 1953, when the President Getulio Vargas watched in the Palacio da Aclamaçao, together with Dr. Regis Pachecho, then Governor of Bahia, a presentation of capoeira regional by Mestre Bimba. The President confirmed that capoeira was a unique and truly national sport. He also administered his course in colleges and army and military police headquarters.
In 1968, he commemorated 50 years of Capoeira Regional. The II Symposium of Capoeira took place in 1968. Mestre Bimba appeared at the event and returned before the end, disappointed. President Medice helped him in Goiania in 1971 during the Expo / Goias. In 1973, Bimba moved to Goiania where he died, victim of a stroke followed by a heart attack, on the 5th February 1974.
His remains were taken to Salvador in 1978, being installed in Jazigo no. 194 of 3rd Order of the Carmo in the Historical Centre on 5th February 1994.