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Those Crazy Cat Brothers



If you watch competition jiu jitsu, you know that there is a name that has a lot of people both mystified and terrified: Miyao.  No not like a cat, like Joao and Paulo.  These young identical twins look like something out of a Japanese horror movie, with stern expressions and very unusual, serpentine movements.  What makes the Miyao brothers so special?  How have they been able to climb to the very forefront of competition jiu jitsu?

For starters, the Miyao’s have a mastery of a guard style based on De La Riva’s guard, otherwise known as the “pudding” guard (it makes those in it feel like they are trudging about in pudding.  However, the Miyao’s do something a bit different from the standard sweeps with which most people have become accustomed, instead they hit a move called the Berimbolo.

The Berimbolo relies on the De La Riva guard’s ability to off-balance an opponent while simultaneously clearing a path to the back.  This technique and its subsequent movements are what make the Miyao Bros so extremely lethal.  It is also what makes them and their games appear to be so bizarre.

Twisting and contorting their rubbery legs around their opponents’ appendages, the awkward twins have become a force to be reckoned with on the competition scene.  They have also drawn the ire of many of the critics of modern jiu jitsu.  Rather than go the conventional and crowd pleasing route of working to take their opponents down, the Miyaos are content with sitting down and wheedling around their opponent until they are able to hit their signature Berimbolo sequences.  It’s so effective, so frustrating and so very weird.

Sometimes this tactic has failed the Miyaos, especially when dealing with opponents well versed in addressing the De La Riva and Reverse De La Riva guard, but as they say: the proof is in the pudding, and they far more often live by their sword than die by it.  Unlike many people in the smaller weight classes, Joao and Paulo Miyao will even go as far as to enter (and occasionally win) the absolute divisions, a testament to their fantastic technical skills.

Behind the skill sets that the Miyaos have built is an unreal, possibly psychotic work ethic.  When asked if they have any hobbies outside of jiu jitsu, one of the twins blankly looked at the camera and said “No.”  They come from humble beginnings, growing up in poverty and for a while lived, ate and slept on the mat at the Cicero Costha Academy from whence they emerged.  They now have a successful academy in New York City, and no one would be shocked if that were still the case…

These upside down, topsy turvy tots are as awkward off the mat as they are in competition, and that just adds to their mystique and wow factor.  They look like kids who would have their lunch money stolen rather than the absolute nightmare opponents that they in all actuality are.  There’s a good chance that that in and of itself is part of why they are so intimidating!

Their Berimbolo has become the stuff of legends, and it provides them with transitions to many positions and submissions.  Over time they have developed their own system of attack and are able to use that system to nullify, frustrate and confuse even the most formidable of opponents.

The method of their madness is aided by their seemingly inhuman flexibility.  As their name indicates, these two brothers have very cat like features and are able to bend and fold themselves around opponents in ways that will baffle and astound you.  They are also able to find seemingly endless entries to the De La Riva guard and its various positions and submissions.

Joao and Paulo Miyao have taken the time to put together a fantastic DVD collection covering the material that they use to dismantle their competition.  This set will make you wonder why you haven’t learned to Berimbolo sooner, while teaching you the secrets of grabbing the ankle and the belt.  Most importantly, the Berimbolo will make playing De La Riva and inverted guard that much more fun, after all why do any of this if it isn’t fun?

Check it out here


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