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The Berimbolo, Not as Intimidating as it Looks

The Berimbolo, Not as Intimidating as it Looks

The berimbolo has quickly become one of the most popular and effective moves in sport Jiu Jitsu.  It is frequently utilized by multiple time world champions at the highest levels of competitions.  The berimbolo has one of the highest success rates for any position.

Many people are very intimidated by the berimbolo, and some won’t even attempt to learn it.  The berimbolo is not as intimidating as it looks.  There is a common misconception that you should be young, skinny, and flexible to berimbolo, this is not true at all.  In particular, people are intimidated by the inversion aspect of the berimbolo.

The berimbolo is an extremely technical and grip dependent position, we say position because it is not just one move.  You can use the berimbolo position to get to a leg drag, mount, arm bar, toe hold, back take, and more. The berimbolo can be easily applied with proper grips, timing, and control.

Although many people perceive the berimbolo as a highly complex movement that requires athleticism and dexterity, like anything else in Jiu Jitsu, if you know all of the details, you can easily do it.  What if we told you that a 50 year old white belt could easily do the berimbolo successfully?  It is a matter of grips, body movement and understanding the technique. 

The Berimbolo and the Importance of Grips

One of the most important elements that will allow you to have a successful berimbolo is the grips.  You must have good grips.  The grips are what will allow you to invert rather effortlessly.  Inversion has a bad reputation in bjj, inversions are not as difficult as you may believe.  If you use the proper grips to invert it can be much easier.

You have to look at the grips as the lever that controls the movement.  They are like handles that you will use to pull yourself upside down, rather than forcing an inversion.  These grips are a paramount part of doing the berimbolo.  They will allow you to have the ability and the leverage to get inverted without the necessity of flexibility. The idea that you need flexibility to do this position comes from the fact that it was popularized by the Miyao brothers and the Mendes brothers, both who are very flexible. 

This common misconception also occurs because a lot of people are intimidated by inversions.  The inversion should not be intimidating because it is also a simple thing to do given the proper grips.  

For the most part, The berimbolo position comes from the De La Riva guard so to include the berimbolo in your arsenal, you’ll want to be good at the De La Riva guard.  This article is about the berimbolo, but if you want to work your DLR, check out this post. Check out this video below of a guard study of the Miyao Brothers who are infamous for their berimbolos.  Watch how important the grips are.

As you can see in the video above, the Miyao brothers have extremely strong grips.  To execute the berimbolo in competition is one thing, in training it is another.  Videos like the one above tend to intimidate people but we have to remember that they are executing these positions against much stronger opponent's in a competition setting. 

Ignore the fact that they are flexible and focus on the grips.  Look how persistent they are with their grips.  They never give up their grips, they are so tenacious.  One thing to note about doing the berimbolo is that it may not work the first time.  You have to be tenacious and continuously attempt it. 

The Berimbolo and Timing

Like with any good sweep, submission, pass or position in Jiu Jitsu, you need good timing to make the berimbolo effective.  Timing is one of the most essential parts of becoming a good bjj practitioner.  Whenever you initiate a berimbolo, your opponent must have their butt on the mat, so you would have either been in a double guard pull, or you would have swept them.

Once they are on the mat, and you have the proper grips, you can take advantage of their momentum and weight by applying the berimbolo at precisely the right time.  The berimbolo is a position with several options, but assuming you’re going for the traditional back take, or any move, you’ll need timing.  When your opponent gives you a reaction, they will make it easier to invert and you can move with them and take their back effortlessly.  Check out this instructional video below of one of the best bjj practitioners to berimbolo, Gianni Grippo.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the berimbolo is going to be the timing.  You want to do this position when your opponent is trying to escape or get up.  Chances are, when your opponent tries to escape or get up, they will be vulnerable at one point or another and expose their back.  One of the main reasons that the berimbolo became so popular is because of the fact that smaller people were able to use it against much larger people.  That is the core of what bjj is.  You want to be able to use leverage to beat someone bigger.

Timing is an important aspect to everything in bjj and it will allow you to do things with a lot less strength and effort.  If someone is exposing a vulnerability, and you are able to time your attack, it will be much easier. to do. 

The Berimbolo and Control

Once you combine the grips and the timing, you need to be able to control your opponent as well.  This means that you must keep every aspect of the berimbolo tight.  The grips, the hooks, everything needs to be tight.  This is because you cannot let your opponent stand, and you need to stay glued to them to take the back.  If you’re sick of getting berimboloed by lower belts, you can check out our article on “the benefits of smash passing,” or watch this video below from Marcelo Garcia Black Belt, Philzihno on how to avoid the berimbolo.

Remember that the berimbolo is something that many people just disregard and do not put any time into studying.  This neglect brings about a lack of knowledge and then they do not know what to do to defend themselves. 

If you are feeling bold and want to make the berimbolo part of your arsenal it’s well worth a try.  Get your hands on this DVD by the Miyao Brothers, “Berimbolo and Beyond.”  This DVD has amazing content and instructional videos, remember, the berimbolo is not as intimidating as you think.