7 Oct 2015

Berimbolo Tutorials: Gianni Grippo, Miyao Brothers, Samuel Braga

I review three different video tutorials, each of which teach the berimbolo (among other related techniques). Each have their own strengths and weaknesses but all can offer the viewer something that will help improve their BJJ.

The berimbolo, is a technique that traditionally begins from de la Riva (DLR) guard and is used primarily as a means to access the back of your opponent (though many other techniques and positions can also arise). With a little drilling, it is not a difficult move to execute in basic form but it does require the user to be familiar with the DLR guard and of the process of spinning upside down/inverting. You can read more about the technique here on the excellent BJJ Heroes website.

This report will look briefly at three different video tutorials which feature the berimbolo and discuss the merits or shortfalls of each title. Before I begin, here is a video from Youtube, of the Miyao brothers using the berimbolo in tournaments:


This video was made when Gianni was still a brown belt (he was promoted to black belt in 2014). At that time, he had already proved himself to be an adept competitor winning many elite titles at brown belt. I watched this video via Digitsu's On Demand website.

The On Demand version costs $19.99 and lasts 85 minutes. It contains 20 chapters so that works out at roughly a dollar a technique.

Full chapter listing:

Entering The De La Riva From Standing Position
DLR To Triangle
DLR To Omaplata
DLR To Ankle Pick
DLR To Low Single Leg
DLR To Single Leg
DLR To Single Leg X Guard Sweep
DLR To The Back
Berimbolo Grip Fighting
Berimbolo To Back Variation #2
Berimbolo To Leg Drag
Berimbolo To Mount
Berimbolo To Toe Hold
DLR Retention to RDLR
RDLR To Back
RDLR To Tornado Sweep
RDLR To Berimbolo
RDLR To 50/50
50/50 To Back

Here is an official video showing one of the chapters from the set:


I have reviewed a couple of Digitsu video tutorials (see my Dominyka review and Lucas Lepri review) and both these are excellently produced with great lighting, sound and visual appearance. Sadly, Gianni's set doesn't appear to show the same high level of production quality. It's all very dark and the hand held camera is sometimes a bit wobbly. As with all Digitsu videos, there is a slow motion repeat of the technique, set against forceful musical accompaniment. I liked the alt-angle small frame that sometimes appears to show the other side as Gianni is teaching.

Gianni teaches at a brisk pace. Each chapter opens with the briefest of preamble or introduction before moving straight onto the technique. The first third of the set offers a very good introduction to the power of the DLR. There is little in the way of the kind of conceptual explanation you would find on any Ryan Hall DVD - Gianni assumes you know what the DLR is and want to improve on it, then use it to move on to the money moves, which is the berimbolo.

The strength with this title is that Gianni explains very well the timing of when to use the berimbolo. In chapter 9, Berimbolo grip fighting, he explains that most people assume the spinning (and inverting) part of the manoeuvre is the most difficult part, but in actual fact, the hardest portion of the technique are the grips and bringing of the guy down to his bottom. Gianni demonstrates how to play with various grips while in DLR guard and, when the opponent least expects, he shoots for the belt grab and then proceeds to initiate the berimbolo.

Subsequent chapters explore alternative positions when the berimbolo doesn't quite work as planned. Berimbolo to Mount is a very good one to learn where the player cannot reach the far leg of their opponent.

The final third of this set includes techniques from the Reverse De La Riva (RDLR) guard. I enjoyed this section the most as RDLR is not seen as often as regular DLR. Here, Gianni emphasises the free foot placement on the opponent's shoulder or bicep. This is an important distinction, although he doesn't mention it specifically, because the Estima footlock is a serious concern if the foot is placed on the opponent's hip - as seen here. Gianni also likes to use the RDLR while holding spider grips, so Estima lock wouldn't be an issue in those cases. I also enjoyed using the RDLR to 50/50 and then utilising the 50/50 to back take - both positions that immediately added to my game in sparring class.

Gianni Grippo teaches with enthusiasm and although brisk, makes sure to include plenty of instruction for each technique. The reasonably short duration of each chapter makes this an ideal set to store and watch on mobile devices. I highly recommend this instructional to students who are attempting to improve their DLR guard game, regardless of whether or not they wish to learn the berimbolo. The production quality is unfortunately less than appears on other Digitsu titles but it didn't distract me too much. This set is a good way to see how the berimbolo fits into a larger family of related positions (DLR, inverted positions, spider guard, reverse DLR, 50/50).


I watched this title online having bought the digital version through BJJ Super Deals. I paid $39 and within 24 hours I received an email with login details. The link took me to a Vimeo Pro website where the videos are stored. All in all, a great service from BJJ Super Deals.

If you buy the disc version of this instructional, the techniques are spread over four discs. In total, there are 51 moves - which works out at roughly $0.76 per move. [Note, the DVD version retails for $97 via Budovideos]

DVD Chapter listing:

Delariva to Back Take
Delariva to Back Take with Lapel
Delariva to Leg Drag. - mike likes this one
Delariva to Back Take variation Kicking Back of Knee
Delariva to Leg Drag to Back Take
Delariva to Miyao Balloon to Back Take
Delariva to X-Guard to Technical Stand up
Inverted Delariva to Inverted Guard to Back Take
Inverted Delariva to Inverted Guard to Leg Lock
Inverted Delariva with Spider Hook to X-Guard to Leg Drag
Inverted Delariva to X-Guard to Technical Stand Up
Inverted Delariva to Inverted Guard to Berimbolo
Inverted Delariva to Inverted Guard to Foot Lock
Delariva to Back Take Variation Kicking Front Knee
Sweep From X-Guard to Leg Drag

X-Guard to Back Take
X-Guard to Triangle
X-Guard to Leg Guard
X-Guard to Omaplata Sweep
Sweep to Leg Drag to Side Control
Back Take from Sweep
Inverted Triangle
Calf Lock
Shoulder Lock
Back Take from Fake Kimura
Biceps Lock
Arm Lock

Berimbolo Fundamentals
Berimbolo Variation 1
Berimbolo to Toe Hold
Berimbolo to Knee Bar
Ninja Armlock from Berimbolo
Back Take from Leg Lasso
Foot Lock Escape to Berimbolo
Berimbolo to Leg Drag Pass
Back Take From Double Pull
Double Pull to Berimbolo to Mount
Double Pull to Foot a Lock Escape to Arm Lock
Double Pull to Kimura
Double Pull to Straight Knee Bar

Leg From Double Pull
Back Take From Open Guard
Shin on Shin Butterfly to Back Door Back Take
Shin on Shin Butterfly to Deep Half Guard To Back Door Back Take
Shin on Shin Guard to deep Half guard to Rolling Back Take
Rolling Sweep Counter to Double Under Pass
Counter to Over Under Pass to Calf Crank
Counter to Double Under to Rolling Arm Bar
Counter to Double Under to Knee Pick
Calf Lock from Double Pull

Here is a video, courtesy of BJJ Video Vault, showing one of the chapters from the set:

This set is gigantic. Actually the online version I viewed adds 10 bonus chapters - so 61 moves spread over roughly three hours of instruction...that's a LOT of BJJ on one go. Thankfully, the Vimeo Pro website allowed me to download all the videos at low resolution for viewing on my mobile phone. I was able to pick and choose chapters that interested me, rather than view the discs in their entirety. Personally speaking, I'm now a big fan of viewing content in this way as I don't need ultra HD film quality in order to learn from BJJ instructionals. I digress...

The Miyaos teach in Portuguese so a voiceover narrates the moves in English. He seems to do a decent job translating and I was able to follow along easily. Production quality is very good, the Miyaos perform their moves within a well lit matted environment. They repeat the each move about four times at a medium slow space and the camera sometimes zooms in, although mostly, it remains at a fixed distance. There are no other editing tricks. I must confess, I don't know which Miyao brother is which, but I guess for the purpose of this set, it doesn't really matter.

This set is all about volume. There is no preamble or discussion of theory or concept, it simply gets the Miyao brothers to show you stuff step by step, they don't really explain why you need to do what they do. The berimbolo itself is only tackled midway through the set (chapter 29) which if you are viewing in linear fashion, makes absolute sense given how fundamental the DLR position (which is covered for the first 8-9 chapters). But this section particularly (and especially given the title under which this entire set is sold on) I feel the Gianni DVD does a better job in explaining the basics, especially the grip fighting required as a precursor to the actual berimbolo technique. The Miyao DVD wins though on volume, there are 8 or so directly listed berimbolo variations plus 7 drills on offer.

I'm not ashamed to admit, some of the techniques looked really complicated. Take the 'shin on shin guard into deep half guard into rolling back take' for example - the individual components of the moves are not complicated in theory, but I'm not sure it is broken down or explained as well as it could be. The Miyaos are also pretty flexible guys and some of the positions they end up in might seem a bit too difficult for the novice (or even ageing brown belt, heh) to attempt.

Just like the Gianni Grippo title, I was drawn to the reverse de la Riva techniques (they call it inverted delariva). The Miyao versions emphasise foot placement on the opponent's ribs, which is an interesting small detail difference. This set offers more variations of the RDLR and they were fun to try out.

One section worth discussing are the couple of counter attacks towards the end of the DVD. After watching hours of flexible-Miyao upside down action, I laughed out loud at the simplicity and cheek of the counter to the double unders. Next time I get caught with someone using double unders as a passing move, I will try this one!

If you get Berimbolo and Beyond on offer, like I did, then it represents impressive value for money. Having the experts of the berimbolo teach your their thing is almost as good as it gets. I say almost because they way they teach is very basic. It's a step by step tuition on how they do their moves, but not why. The Gianni set, although vastly smaller in size, does a much better job explaining some of the principles behind the techniques. But you get so much more than just the berimbolo, I enjoyed the copious RDLR techniques for example, plus a whole array of other interesting guard play. There are a few counter attacks towards the end that I think are very worthwhile too. As a whole, it's a handy reference set for the way the Miyaos play their game but perhaps less appropriate for novice and less flexible students.


I watched this title via the Budovideos On Demand service. I paid $19.95 and within seconds, the order was fulfilled and I was able to watch the content. Excellent automated service from Budovideos. Sadly there is no facility to download the content, only to view on demand, which is a bit annoying as I like to view content on my mobile devices while out and about. The video is presented in one long form file, there is no chapter selection.

1 Intro
2 Basic principles of De La Riva
3 De La Riva drills
4 Rolling over shoulders
5 Taking advantage of the back step pass
6 Berimbolo from back step pass
7 Berimbolo from forcing the back step pass
8 Berimbolo under pressure
9 Berimbolo from double guard pull
10 Berimbolo from both knees down
11 Countering the counter
12 Berimbolo with ezekiel
13 Grip variations from berimbolo
14 Berimbolo foot lock
15 Berimbolo to 50/50
16 Dealing with foot locks during berimbolo
17 Berimbolo armbar
18 Berimbolo triangle
19 Berimbolo to leg drag
20 Berimbolo reverse armbar
21 Berimbolo drill
22 Deep half guard to berimbolo
23 Reverse De La Riva to berimbolo

Total running time: 56 minutes. With 23 chapters, 22 dedicated to actual technique,

Production quality is excellent. Lighting and sound quality are both superb and the several camera angles are edited in a seamless fashion while Samuel performs his techniques - there is even a high placed top looking down camera angle on occasions. Samuel by the way speaks perfect English. Here is a promo excerpt:

As with the other titles above, this set opens with DLR techniques. Chapter one covers the basic principles of the DLR position which is an excellent start for those who are new to DLR. Interestingly, Samuel prefers the deeper DLR position (where both your feet are placed on the far hip of the opponent). Both Gianni and the Miyao brothers favour the shallower DLR whereby the foot is hooked around the opponent's near leg. Regardless, Samuel explains the grips, the angles and the nuances necessary for an effective basic DLR guard position.

Over the following couple of chapters, Samuel introduces the viewer to the mechanics behind the berimbolo - rolling over the shoulders (Granby roll) and taking advantage of the backstep pass. The latter is a situation where the opponent has kindly 'fallen' to the ground which allows you to invert and then roll. Already, Samuel places strong emphasis on the shin to body contact that is necessary to ensure control - a factor that becomes important when executing the full berimbolo. Everything is clearly explained and it doesn't look too intimidating or complex in the slightest.

The key problem for most people new to the berimbolo is the difficulty in getting the opponent to fall down first. In the Miyao videos, they just grip the belt on the standing opponent, pull them in and then sweep them using the power of their DLR foot. It seems simple but in my opinion it's not terribly realistic to expect the opponent to just allow that to happen. Gianni's DVD explains things a bit better with his chapter on the grip fighting aspect prior to establishing belt control. In Samuel's DVD, chapter 7 is where things get more interesting and realistic. I noticed Samuel maintains lapel grip on his standing opponent and by using his body weight together with a shift in angle, he is able to force the standing opponent to fall down. Almost immediately, Samuel then starts to invert and begin the berimbolo. Samuel likes to grip the gi of the lower part of the far leg to complete the technique whereas I noticed Grippo prefers to grip high up by the waist area while Miyao prefers a more nogi style open cupped hand to find the far leg. There is also a moment in chapter 7 when Samuel switches from lapel grip to belt grip mid-roll and it would have been nice to see that in more detail, up close as it seems a crucial part of the transition. All in all, this is the money move chapter and worth watching again and again. I liked Samuel's version because keeping lapel grip on the standing opponent was easier for me to do than reaching and fighting for the belt grip early on (ala Miyao and Grippo) in my opinion.

The next few chapters show how berimbolo can be achieved from a variety of other starting positions, such as double guard pull and on an opponent with both knees on the ground, before the set begins to explore submissions available after the berimbolo sweep. Given the type of positioning, footlocks are both something to use, and something that requires defending, and Samuel covers both these aspects.

Reverse de la Riva
The final chapter explores the RDLR guard to berimbolo. As mentioned above, RDLR is something I am particularly interested in right now. When sparring, I find I am vulnerable to the inside knee cut and the RDLR guard is a good way to defend against that. Sadly, Samuel's version is short on detail, he just whizzes through from RDLR into the berimbolo. It is arguably the most complex of all the techniques he shows, so it would have been nice for him to break it down much further but I can't complain as the previous chapters already offer so much good material to work with. The Gianni set gives a much better explanation of the RDLR position especially the grips, foot position and angles needed. Far from being simply a mirror image of the standard DLR position, the RDLR requires certain aspects all of its own. In fact, this video here by Grapplearts is the best breakdown of the RDLR I have seen, and that includes all the titles reviewed here!

Samuel Braga is a World Champion and a small guy so for me this set offered great appeal. He introduces the berimbolo in a way that makes it very accessible. The variety of submissions and other techniques he shows illustrate just how much flexible the berimbolo is as a gameplan for DLR style open guard players. With the excellent production and decent price point, it is definitely a fine instructional for those seeking to perfect their berimbolo. But it's worth noting the differences to the technique compared to how the Miyao's or Gianni Grippo execute it. I'm not really qualified to suggest which of them is the better version, but from my short time experimenting with berimbolo, I seemed to have success with the way Samuel shows it, but I also used a lot of things shown by both the Grippo DVD and the Miyao DVDs.

My closing thoughts on this topic are that you don't have to buy any DVD set to learn the berimbolo. Just a quick search on Youtube will yield dozens of clips each offering to show you the move, plus of course a willing partner to help you drill it. However, a full DVD set will provide you with a much bigger picture, a gameplan if you like, for using the berimbolo AND all the related techniques as part of your arsenal of techniques. In my opinion, if learning the berimbolo is your principle aim, then either the Gianni set or the Samuel set would suffice alone. I feel the Gianni set offers a wider repertoire of related techniques while keeping things concise and the huge Miyao set is probably more aimed at Miyao fanatics and more experienced BJJ students - mainly due to the lack of concept based explanations.

Back take is the main aim of berimbolo

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


Anonymous said...

Sam is BJJ my Teacher. Great review. I really also enjoyed your Gi reviews. I really appreciate all the detailed info. Cheers


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