The son of José Señor Pastinha and Eugênia Maria de Carvalho, he was exposed to Capoeira at the age of 8 by an African named Benedito. The story goes that an older and stronger boy from Pastinha's neighborhood would often bully and beat him up.One day Benedito saw the aggression that Pastinha suffered, and then told him to stop by his house because he was going to teach him few things. In his next encounter with that boy, Pastinha defeated him so quickly that the older boy became his admirer.
Later, he joined a sailor school by his father's wishes, which would not support the Capoeira practice. At the school he would teach Capoeira to his friends. At the age of 21, he left the sailor school to become a professional painter. In his spare time he would secretly practice Capoeira, since it was still illegal at that time.
As a result, in 1942 Pastinha founded the first Angola school, the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola, located at the Pelourinho. His students would wear black pants and yellow T-shirts, the same color as the Ypiranga Clube, his favorite soccer club.
He participated with the Brazilian delegation of the "First International Festival de Artes Negras" in Dakar, Senegal (1966), bringing with him João Grande, João Pequeno, Gato Preto, Gildo Alfinete, Roberto Satanás and Camafeu de Oxossi.
Eventually Pastinha's academy fell on hard times. Pastinha, old, sick and almost totally blind, was asked by the government to vacate his building for renovations. But the space was never returned to him. Instead it became a restaurant and entertainment outlet. Pastinha died a broken man and bitter about his treatment, but never regretted living the life of a Capoeirista. Pastinha was left abandoned in a city shelter (abrigo D. Pedro II - Salvador).
Having dedicated his entire life to Capoeira Angola, he played his last game of Capoeira on April 12 1981. Pastinha, the father and protector of Capoeira Angola, died at the age of 92 on November 13 1981. He is survived by two of his most learned students, João Grande and João Pequeno who continue to share Pastinha's Capoeira Angola with the world.
C. Daniel Dawson would later write,