BJJ is a martial art and a sport known for its notorious complexity. No matter what level you’re at with your BJJ skills, you will see that BJJ is a bottomless pit when it comes to learning new things and details and implementing them in your game. That being said, one of the more unorthodox moves in the BJJ arsenal is the so-called Berimbolo. Since you’re reading this article, it means that you’re willing to learn more about it. Below you will find some useful information that you could use to implement this move in your game.
History of the Berimbolo
The godfather in terms of the name of the move is Andre Galvao, a BJJ legend. He gave this name for the move once he observed it – “berimbolo” stands for “scramble” in Portuguese. That being said, it’s very difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of the Berimbolo. Andre Galvao himself has uttered this famous line on the origin of the Berimbolo: “The berimbolo doesn’t have a father, it’s an impoverished child born without a dad, now the kid became rich and famous and everyone wants to assume paternity.”
That being said, some people trace the origin of the Berimbolo back to the early nineties. Back then, Marcel Ferreira was training at the renowned Carlson Gracie Academy. The De La Riva guard was the norm back then – and almost everybody used it. Marcel noticed that there was one student that continuously busted his De La Riva guard but retracting his hooked leg.
So, Marcel Ferreira was forced to think of a solution to this. He has managed to create the so-called Berimbolo move with which he was able to roll over and take his opponent’s back.
Doing the Berimbolo
We should mention right at the outset that if you’re a beginner in BJJ, you shouldn’t boggle your mind with the Berimbolo. It’s not the simplest of moves. However, if you feel drawn to this move, then you too may master it and implement it in your game.
The way to start this move is by getting the aforementioned De La Riva guard on your opponent. Then you will need to roll over on your shoulders while keeping the De La Riva structure. When you find yourself with your shoulders to the ground, you will need to switch your grip form your opponent’s leg to the other leg. Then you will need to retract your knee and insert it quickly at the back of your opponent’s leg while pulling his ankle with your arm. After this, it’s very simple to climb to the top and take your opponent’s back. This is the basic Berimbolo variation. For a demonstration of this move, we suggest you see
Variations of the Berimbolo
We talked about the basic Berimbolo move in the previous paragraph. It will work well against limp opponents (for demonstration purposes) and against BJJ newbies. But what happens if your opponent tries to counter your Berimbolo move?
There are a number of variations that you could perform in order to end the match right there and then. For an example, while performing the Berimbolo move, your opponent may decide to block your movement by pushing your chest with his leg. Fair enough – this will stop you from finishing the Berimbolo. But what your opponent doesn’t realize is that you can very easily turn around and grab his foot for a toehold. Grab the figure four lock on his foot and he will be forced to tap out.
In another type of block – your opponent may try to do a toehold on your leg. You need to act very quickly in order to save your foot and turn things around. If a toehold is what your opponent goes for, then you need to let go of his leg and continue to stand up at the side of your opponent. If you do this properly, then you will be able to place your legs over your opponent’s head and body and grab his arm between them. And you know the rest – squeeze your knees together, push your hips upwards to form the lever at his elbow, and pull on his hand with the thumb pointing upwards in order to finish the armbar.
The Miyao brothers are one of the world’s premier experts on the Berimbolo move. If you wish to learn how to execute a few variations, we suggest that you see
While it’s true that the Berimbolo is an advanced move in BJJ, it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn it if you’re a white belt. Even if you have difficulties in doing the move, you will still begin to notice it when your opponents try to do it to you. You will know how to counter it a lot more effectively. Have fun with the Berimbolo!
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