How To Drill The BJJ Berimbolo Technique

The Berimbolo technique is highly effective when used correctly despite being one of the flashier techniques used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is one of the more complicated techniques to master, but anyone can perfect it if they’re willing to spend many hours drilling and fine-tuning it. 

Learning how to perform the Berimbolo makes you better at defending against it since you can predict what your opponent is trying to do to you. 


Everything You Should Know About The Berimbolo Technique

The Berimbolo is one of the techniques that are unique to modern BJJ. Marcel Ferreira, a Carson Gracie disciple, is credited with developing the technique to counter opponents backstepping against his de la Riva guard. His inversive techniques aren’t the same as the modern Berimbolo, but many view them as its roots. 

The Mendes and Miyao brothers took inversion attacks used in BJJ to a new level, creating the modern Berimbolo technique that Andre Galvao named. Since then, several variations of the original Berimbolo have been made. 


The Technique

The simplest way to describe the Berimbolo is that it’s an inversion of the traditional open guard used in BJJ. The position disrupts your opponent’s balance, opening up transitions and submission attempts for you as they try to get away. 

The Berimbolo often starts from the de la Riva guard, which involves securing an outside hook. It’s the most straightforward position to use to get into the Berimbolo. Once you secure a de la Riva guard, you invert towards the outside of your opponent’s legs, causing them to react in predictable ways to restore their balance, particularly when they aren’t familiar with the technique. The goal of securing the Berimbolo is to open up sweeps to dominant positions or expose your opponent’s back. Options are limited for the person in the top Berimbolo position, and that often leads to them giving up their backs. 

Securing the Berimbolo gives you leverage against your opponent since you get to use your entire body against one of their legs. Your body is also in a mechanically favorable position, compact and crunched, making you feel stronger. 

The Berimbolo is primarily used when the gi is worn, but there are ways to use it in no-gi settings. Some of the key things you need to do to make this technique effective for you include:


1) Knowing Where The Berimbolo Starts

The de la Riva guard is the most common starting point when looking for a Berimbolo. The outside hook of the de la Riva guard is one of the most crucial parts of the entry since it provides leverage and an attachment point. You can also launch into the position by pulling guard, using the Z-guard, or the spider guard. Find what works for you and master it


2) Using The Proper Hooks And Grips

Using the de la Riva guard as your launch point, you want to secure a de la Riva hook on one leg while grabbing the ankle area of your opponent’s gi pants on the same side. Secure a cross-collar grip with your other hand to break your opponent’s posture. Your other leg should be pushed against your opponent’s hips. You should be prepared to change your grips as you manipulate your opponent’s body. For example, you can switch to a pant belt grip instead of a collar grip once you get your opponent’s backside to the mat. 

You should also switch the grip of the hand grabbing the ankle area of your opponent’s pants to behind their knee to control their leg. The key to mastering the grips for the Berimbolo is understanding there are no perfect grips for all situations. You have to constantly change your grips based on what your opponent does. Having a solid understanding of how grips work goes a long way, and always maintain one grip while switching.


3) Knowing How To Invert Your Open Guard

The most challenging part of the Berimbolo for most people is the inversion, but it’s also the most crucial part. It allows you to secure a dominant position by unbalancing your opponent. Once you’ve secured a cross-collar grip on your opponent in the de la Riva guard, break their balance by pulling them to the mat with the cross-collar grip while lifting their heel off the ground with your other arm. This will force them to base with their hands, taking most of their weight off their legs and making them easier to control. That’s when you invert by throwing your feet over your head. 

The key to this part going smoothly is forcing your opponent to carry most of their weight with their hands. Once you’ve inverted and put your opponent’s backside on the ground, you can transition to a top position or take their back based on what they do


4) Understanding The Primary Goal Of The Position Is To Take Your Opponent’s Back

The Berimbolo is performed primarily to take your opponent’s back. Once you’re inverted, your release your collar grip and grab their belt. You use this anchor to drive them forward, exposing their back

You’ll be able to execute the Berimbolo in various directions and experiment with it once you have a clear understanding of these four points. 


Mastering The Technique

Some of the drills you can perform to improve your ability to use the Berimbolo include:

  1. Half Granby Roll: This involves inverting yourself by throwing your legs over your head and rolling over one of your shoulders to a seated position.
  2. Full Granby Roll: The full Granby roll gets you used to inversions once you drill it enough. You start seated with your legs in front of you and roll sideways over your shoulder as you kick your legs over your head. You can perform the drill going either direction, forward, or backward. You can also perform it while using a training partner to anchor you down.
  3. Partner Drill: You can move on to partner drills once you’re comfortable with inversions. Start seated in front of a standing training partner. Their feet should be a bit more than shoulder-width apart. Perform a full Granby roll to get to the outside of their leg and try going a complete circle around their legs. Try to use this drill to enter the Berimbolo once you get the hang of it.


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