Berimbolos for People Who Don't Berimbolo
Picture it: You're at the jiu jitsu academy attending class and your coach or instructor is demonstrating a move where the completion of the move involves a few twists coupled with an inversion onto the upper back and traps as he seems to climb upside down around the partner and somehow ending up on the back. You've just had the berimbolo demonstrated on you and you're thinking to yourself that you can be shown this technique 100 times and there's no way you will ever pull it off.
If you're not naturally flexible, or maybe your an over 30 practitioner or even older, the very thought of inverting might send shivers down your stiff neck and back--so the berimbolo may be one of those techniques that you've told yourself that they "won't fit into your game or style of jiu jitsu." I'm here to tell you that the berimbolo is simply a flashy looking technique that if broken down into small enough pieces and drilled effectively, you will be spinning upside down like an 80's break dancer and looking for the nearest courthouse to change your last name to Miyao before you know it.
So let's put together a plan to get you polishing your inversion and berimbolo skills to to rival the Miyaos and the Musemeci's of the world.
Yoga for BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has an amazing ability to help create flexibility in our bodies where we may have been flexibility. The constant and varied movement of our hips and torsos helps to strengthen our cores and make us much more mobile. But over time you will notice that all of the positive gains in strength and additional flexibility doesn't come without a price or toll on your body. You will find that certain muscle groups are getting used much more than others and those ones that are not getting used might get weaker or tighter. As an over 40 year old grappler, I find that my hip flexors are constantly tight from working different guards.
Yoga can be one of the most powerful tools to help counter these imbalances and improve the over flexibility of your body. Both of these positive benefits will equate to a more enjoyable and longer lifespan on the mats as you will be less susceptible to injury.
Yoga for BJJ is the project of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and yoga guru Sebastian Brosche. In the video below, Sebastian systematically breaks down some stretching techniques designed specifically for improving our ability to invert, which is crucial for the berimbolo.
As we discussed above, one of the absolute best things you can do to help develop your berimbolo skills is to supplement your BJJ training with Yoga training and one of the best resources can be accessed here with the Yoga for BJJ DVD on sale right now for only $47. This is an amazing resource that will improve the flexibility all over you body, especially in the back, neck and hips which is crucial for the successful berimbolo.
Bite size Berimbolo
Now that you've begun to address those flexibility issues that have kept you from becoming a deadly inverted guard player on the mats and the berimbolo machine you were destined to be, it's time to break the technique down into small chunks and perfect each one in sequence.
The video below does a great job of taking what can look to the casual observer as limbs flailing around the partner, and making it small achievable steps each with a drill to reinforce the skill.
If you want to read more about how the berimbolo doesn't have to be as intimidating as we think, check out this article by BJJ Fanatics.
Drill, Drill, Drill
Another great drill that will help many of the skills necessary to be a complete BJJ guard player is demonstrated in the video below. Minimal equipment and no partner are necessary to put this one into practice.
And finally, another variation of the inversion solo drill is represented in the video below. The more options we have, especially when we do not have live partners to drill with the more likely we will be able to improve our skills.
By now, you are hopefully begin to at least visualize the possibility of developing your berimbolo skills. It may never be your go to technique, but no that with the proper dedication and by breaking the technique into small, achievable techniques that can be drilled and perfected, you will at least be able to pull off some inversion.
The additional benefit of spending some time on the berimbolo will be that you will better understand it when you're opponent is trying to use it on you and it will be much easier to put a stop to it. Besides, all of the stretching and Yoga for BJJ you will be doing will pay off in many other ways. You will be less likely to get injured, your muscle recovery will be better and you will be able to train longer and harder which are all wins in and of themselves.
If you're ready to start inverting, you would be smart to take advantage of the knowledge shared by the Miyao Brothers in their 4 DVD series "The Berimbolo and Beyond". You are getting double the knowledge from these inversion assassins for only $97 today.