The Berimbolo : An Advanced BJJ Technique

The Berimbolo : An Advanced BJJ Technique

Without a doubt the Berimbolo has become one of the most used techniques in this era of sports Jiu Jitsu. It’s definitely quickly becoming a favorite technique that young grapplers are drawn to.   

The Berimbolo does seem complicated, but it is actually rather simple to pull off. Below is a complete guide for how to do the Berimbolo properly in BJJ.   

How to Do the Berimbolo in BJJ

We’ll take you through different drills to get you ready to do the Berimbolo and then go through different techniques. 

Origins of the Berimbolo

Multiple time BJJ champion and all time great Andre Galvao is credited with coming up with the movement. He derived the spinning movement based off of the De La Riva guard.  

The name Berimbolo in Portuguese translates to “scramble” in English. It is predominantly used to either sweep or take an opponent’s back.  

Berimbolo Drills

Before trying the Berimbolo, you have to be adept at a few different Jiu Jitsu movements. Here are 2 different movement drills you should do before going for berimbolo techniques. 

Granby Rolls

A Granby roll is the core movement of the Berimbolo. It is a sideways roll over your shoulder that you first learn starting out in Jiu Jitsu.  

You start from a sitting position and put one arm behind your back. The arm you choose is the side you are going to roll on. 

To Granby roll, you simple roll over your shoulder until you return to a sitting position. It’s that simple, but it does take some practice to get right. 

There’s other types of Granby rolls you can do. You can either do them back and forth on the mat, on the wall, or in a circle.  

Check this video out to see what these drills look like.

Berimbolo Partner Drill

If you have a partner that is even better to drill the Berimbolo movements. The most basic Berimbolo partner drill starts with you sitting and your partner standing.  

You need to be sitting where one of your partner’s legs is between your legs. Reach under your leg and touch the back of your hand on the outside of your opponent’s leg.  

Next you start your Granby roll on your shoulder and grab the opponent’s far leg with your free hand. Doing this grab guides you through the roll and makes it easier.  

The next step is to switch your legs. Bring your outside leg in between their legs and bring your inside leg out to finish the roll. When you do it right, you end up in a sitting position with your partner’s other leg between your legs.  

Beginners should just roll back and forth in front of their partner. Then once you get the hang of it, you can start circling around your partner doing the Berimbolo roll.  

If you don’t have a partner, you can also use a chair to drill the movement. 

How To Do Basic Berimbolo

A basic Berimbolo roll starts with a sweep from the De La Riva guard. You let the opponent step over your leg and then you kick them forward and then sweep them backwards.  

With the opponent on their back, you’re ready to start your roll. You’re going to keep your DLR grips with one hand on the collar and the other behind your partner’s leg.  

You can also use a belt grip instead of the collar grip if that’s your preference. Both are used to help you roll though to get under your partner.  

Use this grip to pull yourself into your partner to start your roll and get your head near their hip. As you’re inverting, you need to keep your legs straight and hooked on your partner’s far leg.  

Next you take your DLR grip on their near leg and grab their far hip/pants. This grip guides you as you finish the roll and take their back. 

For the finish, you rotate slightly into your partner facing towards them, while bringing your feet to the mat. Then you pull them into you at the same time you sit up to finish the Berimbolo.  

Here is Gianni Grippo giving a great breakdown of the technique.

Berimbolo From Double Guard

A double guard pull doesn’t happen often, but it’s a great position to learn how to berimbolo. Just like the partner drill, you sit around your partner’s legs and take an outside De La Riva hook.  

Your hand closest to the DLR hook reaches under and grabs the ankle. With your free hand, reach over and grab your partner’s belt.  

Then just like the basic berimbolo, you invert your body and bring your head near their hip. During the inversion remember that you always roll over the shoulder.  

The next steps are the same as the normal setup. As you roll, switch your ankle grip to your partner’s far leg.  

This grip on the far leg allows you to kick your partner over and work towards their back. You can take their back by either grabbing a seat belt or climbing up their back.  

Stephan Kesting here has a fantastic video for how to learn the berimbolo.

Key Details To Remember

When you go for The Berimbolo, you have to get all of the steps right. Otherwise the entire technique falls apart. Remember these key details when doing this technique. 

  • Grips: The grips are even more important than the roll as they are what guide you through the movement. Remember your collar/belt grip along with the DLR ankle grip and far leg grab to help take their back. 
  • Shoulder Roll: Always remember to roll over your shoulder and not your head or neck. Rolling on your neck/head will definitely cause an injury. 
  • Head Placement: Your head needs to be right next to your partner’s hip if not touching their hip. If your head isn’t next to their hip this completely messes up the berimbolo. 

How To Defend The Berimbolo

Even if the Berimbolo is not your thing, you should know it just so you know how to defend. There’s a few different counters, but we’ll go over one specifically that always seems to work. 

Crossfacing: To do the Berimbolo, your opponent needs to get their head under your hips, so you can’t let that happen. A strong crossface will block their Berimbolo attempt and keep you from getting swept and your back taken.

Final Thoughts

This was just a breakdown of the basic movements and setups for the Berimbolo. It is an ever evolving technique that is constantly being innovated.  

The Berimbolo is definitely a new school technique, more catered to the younger generation. It’s a technique that make old school BJJ practitioners cringe. So though you may get mixed reviews from the technique, just note that the Berimbolo isn’t for everyone.

But regardless, it has proven countless times as an effective technique in Jiu Jitsu. Plus it looks pretty dang cool once you pull it off!  

Once you learn the grips and how to invert, the move comes along easy. After you take time to drill the movements, you’ll be taking people’s backs with the Berimbolo in no time! Train Hard! Roll Safe!