Berimbolo: BJJ Position/Technique


The Berimbolo is one of the most effective and flashy moves used by guard players in BJJ. It was popularized in the 2000s and has become a must know technique within the martial art.

Here is a complete intro guide for learning how to do the Berimbolo roll. Read below to learn the history of the below and out step-by-step guide for executing the move.

What is the Berimbolo?

The Berimbolo is a Jiu-Jitsu technique popularized by BJJ world champion Samuel Braga. The technique involves rolling under your opponent to simultaneously sweep them and take their back.

It is a highly effective and popular Jiu-Jitsu technique that has been widely used since the early 2000s. The name Berimbolo translates to English basically meaning scramble.

The Controversial History of the Berimbolo

The history and development in the BJJ move has historically been controversial with many experts debating his origin. Samuel Braga is given credit for creating the move, but some say it was done before him.

Some believe the Berimbolo was originally created in the 90s by Marcel Ferreira when he was a purple belt. Ferreira developed a technique similar to the Berimbolo to sweep and  take his opponent’s back.

The person who came up with the name Berimbolo was BJJ champion, Andre Galvao. He believes Ferrieira’s version is more like a helicopter sweep than Braga’s Berimbolo.

In an interview with Tatame Magazine Galvao stated his opinion on who created the Berimbolo:

“The berimbolo doesn’t have a father, it’s an impoverished child born without a father. But now the kid is rich and famous and everyone wants to assume paternity.”

Andre Galvao

The Popularity of the Berimbolo

After the Berimbolo was successfully used by Samuel Braga at the 2005 World Championship, everyone wanted to learn the move. 

The technique would further evolve and be popularized by numerous world champions. Everyone from Rafael Mendes, Guilherme Mendes, the Miyao brothers, and Mikey Musumeci.

The Berimbolo and the IBJJF Controversy

In the original details of the Berimbolo, a grappler would underhook their opponent’s shin during the roll. For the IBJJF, this raised concerns with their knee reaping rule, which this move could do.

Some competitors were clearly knee-reaping when gripped their opponent’s far sleeve to force them to turn. IBJJF officials began disqualifying competitors, who executed this movement. 

Thus, forcing competitors to abandon grabbing the far sleeve during the roll to force their opponent off balance. The Berimbolo is still popularly used, but this detail isn’t widely taught anymore.

Berimbolo Drills

If you want to drill the Berimbolo before you try it, there are various drills to get you ready. Here are two basic partner and solo drills that you can practice with first.

Solo Berimbolo 

For the solo drill, you’re going to need a wall (preferably padded). Start by placing both feet on the wall with your hands to the side.

Take one of your hands and cross it to past your far hip. At the same time, your leg steps across and touches the wall. 

As you step over, use your momentum to roll through to the original position. This is a great way to warm up, as well as get ready for the Berimbolo.

Berimbolo Drills

Partner Berimbolo

If you have a training partner available, you can do the partner drill. Your partner stands above you with their legs slightly as you’re sitting on the mat facing them.

To get into position for the drill, sit with your legs around one of your partner’s legs. Take your inside hand and hook it on the outside of your partner’s leg.

Next, turn on your inside shoulder as you bring your outside leg between your opponent’s legs. Then to finish the roll, take your inside leg out and roll through.

At first you can start by rolling back-and-forth between your opponent’s legs. Once you get good at the movement, you can start Berimbolo rolling around your opponent.

The Basic Berimbolo Scenarios

The original version of the Berimbolo is done off of the De La Riva guard. Take your DLR hook in deep as you pull your opponent in and kick them to their side with your inside leg.

Next, cross grab your opponent’s belt and pull yourself into their hip. In the same motion, you’re going to go into your roll over your inside shoulder.

The point of the roll is to get under your opponent’s hips in order to control them. As you roll through, pinch your knees between your opponent’s knee to establish further control.

To complete the back take, grab your opponent’s far leg and place it above the leg you’re controlling. From there,  hold your opponent’s hip with your free hand and pull yourself into the back mount.

Berimbolo Basics

Counter # 1 

If your opponent feels the move coming late, they may go to their side in a last ditch effort to defend. When they do this, it can make completing the roll a little difficult.

To counter this defense, you’re going to kick both feet out to finish the roll and take your opponent’s back.

Counter #2

The other defense for the roll you might run in to is your opponent falling to their back. If they do this, you simply just come up in top position and get your sweep points.

But, if you want to continue your roll to back take, the entry is easy from here. With your opponent’s leg trapped, take a grip on their free leg and the back of their collar.

Once you’ve secured this control, go into your roll and take your opponent’s back.

No-Gi Berimbolo 

The No-Gi Berimbolo is a little different since you don’t have a Gi to grab. However, there are simple entry methods in No-Gi that are also easy to do.

It starts the same as the Gi version in De La Riva guard, where you kick your opponent to their side. Since you don’t have a belt to grip, you’re going to cross grab your opponent’s back/hip and pull yourself in.

Using this grip, you go right into your roll and go right to the back to complete the sweep/back take.

Berimbolo No-Gi

How To Defend Against The Berimbolo

Dealing with somebody that’s good at berimbolo rolling can be annoying, but there’s a few different defenses. One of the best defenses against the roll is a nasty cross-face.

To perform this defense, you must do it right as they’re going into the roll. As they begin their roll, grab a pants grip on their far leg as you hook a cross-face.

When you go for the cross-face, you fall to the side as you hook the head and pull your opponent’s leg in. From here, hop to the other side and begin your attacks.

Important Tips To Remember For Executing The Berimbolo

The Berimbolo is a highly technical move that requires all of the details to be perfect. Here are some important tips to remember for executing this technique.

  • Leg/Hip Control: Before you can go for the roll, you have to establish control of your opponent’s leg and hip. Without controlling these parts, you won’t successfully execute the technique. 
  • Head To Hip: Before rolling, you have to bring your head to your opponent’s hip. This makes it easier to start your roll, while closing open space.
  • Roll Over Inside Shoulder: Always roll over your inside shoulder. If you roll over your outside shoulder, your opponent will end up on top.
  • Get Under Opponent’s Hips: The point of the roll is to get under your opponent’s hips. Once you’re under their hips, finishing the technique is easy.
  • Pinch Knees Together: When you roll through, pinch your knees together to control your opponent’s knee before finishing the move.
  • Hug Opponent’s Hips: While pinching your knees together, you also need to hug your opponent’s hip. Doing this keeps you close and guides you into the back take.
  • Bring Over Opponent’s Leg: Before finishing the roll, bring your opponent’s far leg above  their inside leg. Clearing the leg opens your path to take the back.