Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The REAL Berimbolo

I started training BJJ back in February 2008.  Early on in my Jiu-Jitsu consciousness it didn't take long for me to realize the greatness of Marcelo Garcia.  Other BJJ superstars stood out as I was a pretty green grappler but with the emergence of Budovideos and their coverage of IBJJF events such as the Mundials and Pan I realized there were some other GREAT competitors out there as well.  A couple brothers known as Rafael & Gui Mendes garnered a lot of attention during the broadcast of the events and grappling forums.  A lot of naysayers criticized their use of the 50/50 guard to win tough matches by way of advantages at times.  I will agree that  some of these matches aren't the most fun to watch but it's difficult to argue with results.  I found that many high level guys were putting out instructional DVDs, doing lots of seminars, and/or just uploading content to YouTube.

While there was some content out there on the Mendes Bros I always felt like there wasn't nearly as much as there could be. These guys know how to win and recently launched their own online training website.  Having been a member of MGinAction a while back I found the Mendes Bros site to be very similar from a user standpoint.  The functionality of the website is familiar and feels as if it was designed by the same people.  I signed up during the late summer and the amount of content was not great. I was a bit disappointed to find that all the De La Riva and Reverse De La Riva guard stuff they have become famous for wasn't uploaded to the site....yet.  I allowed a month or two to lapse in my membership but recently renewed and was elated to find that they had finally released videos of the Berimbolo techniques and other guards.  Now there is a lot of debate as to whether or not they "created" the position.  I don't think they necessarily claim to have done so but to have "developed" techniques in this position.

For the last two years this position (Berimbolo) has been a hotly debated position or sweep in competition.  Some people love it and some hate it.  The bottom line is if you are under 185lbs and like to compete you should probably learn it or at least understand it enough to defend it.  The Mendes Bros have seemingly made the Berimbolo a phenomonom that competitors and gym rats have tried to duplicate.  Some have put out instructional vidoes on YouTube but I just never found most to clearly explain how to either maintain the position or properly knock an opponent down and begin to implement the sweep.  Because of this I've never really dedicated much training of my own to the sweep not fully understanding or buying into the technique.  With the recent instructional that the Mendes Bros have put out I have realized that a lot of little details have been missing that make sense to me.

Just for reference...this is all we had as a Berimbolo instructional for quite some time from Rafa:

The new and improved version:
Not only is the Berimbolo a sweep...it's more than that.  It's really a position that creates multiple ways to sweep or reverse your opponent.  I liken it to the X-guard position that provides various methods of reversal depending on your opponents reaction.  It's not always necessary to go inverted and take the back of your opponent.  There are various ways to reverse depending on the type of resistance you encounter.  This is shown here by Ari Farias in this recent video. Here he utilizes the leg drag position to pass and move into side control rather than going inverted and attempting to attack the back.  

I have found that many high level competitors have their preferred methods of gripping and/or sweeping their opponents.  It's really up to you to figure out what your preferred method is.  

In closing, I really can't give enough praise to the Mendes Bros online training website.  I have found the level of instruction and explanation to be the highest level stuff I've seen to date.  The manner in which Rafa and Gui break down techniques and explain why we do this and not that really works well for the way I learn Jiu-Jitsu.  I am a smaller grappler and find that a lot of the stuff they demonstrate works with the style of Jiu-Jitsu I like to use.  Even if you are not a small grappler (under 200lbs) you will find much of their content to be incredibly useful.  Simple techniques that only worked at the white belt level can be cleaned up and once again become useful or high percentage at the blue/purple belt level and above simply because of the way they manage execute the techniques.  If you have not tried out the site and enjoy studying Jiu-Jitsu I highly recommend you sign up for at least a month and see what you think.  For me, $25 is very cheap for the level of instruction you receive.  I have been implementing some of their techniques into my own game and find them to be useful as a teaching aid as well.  


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