Berimbolo: Can You Do It Without A Gi?

Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized expert in the area of lightweight BJJ – well known for his unorthodox back takes and sweeps. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – For a limited you can get his free Berimbolo DVD exclusively at


Can The Berimbolo Be Done In No Gi Competition?

As a smaller, more compact grappler, I love to utilize moves that are often looked upon as “too difficult” or something that has a lot of moving parts to it.  Normally, this is because the bigger grapplers out there are less likely to be able to execute these moves properly, giving us little guys the upper hand.

One of these moves that I love to go to is the Berimbolo sweep, which is best utilized to get out of bottom position, and wind up in a dominant back mount, with a very good chance of ending the match with a rear naked choke.

However, there is an issue that arises when you discuss this move.  The Berimbolo is super effective…when done using a Gi.  Thusly, the question arises: can this move be done in No Gi competitions?

While there are people who will debate adamantly for both why it can and why it can’t be done, I’m here to argue that when executed properly, it doesn’t matter if there is a Gi or No Gi – and I’ve demonstrated a cool Berimbolo Sweep and broken it down in an article  that was featured on BJJ.ORG

What Are The Difficulties Of Using It In No Gi?

There are many factors that can go into this debate.

To me, the first one that comes to mind is it can greatly affect the grips you get.  Many of the Berimbolo setups are done so by using a Gi grip, which makes things a whole lot easier for you when you look to execute the sweep.

Obviously, with no Gi, the grips become very limited, if not totally eliminated from the equation.  While you can utilize your legs in terms of grips, but it makes it next to impossible to break their posture if you can’t grab hold to their upper body.

Another factor is the sweat that inevitably builds up during the course of a match.  Being able to maintain the move while in motion is extremely vital, and becomes a great obstacle once you introduce the slip factor into the picture.

Can It Be Done?

After you break it down, while it may be very difficult given the situation, you can in fact pull this off in a live situation.  In fact, Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida did it in a match vs. Rodolfo Viera in a way that can be duplicated in the No-Gi with little to no loss of effectiveness given the right set up and technique.

Sure, it’s going to be tough to execute and you’re likely going to have to modify the move given the poor grip factor, but it is a realistic possibility when done with the proper precision and timing.

At the end of the day, the best bet is to study the move and watch guys like Rafael Mendes hit the move in a Gi.  Analyze the film, break it down, and then decide for yourself what is a realistic outcome and what isn’t if you were to try for the Berimbolo in a no Gi contest.

Once you do, get back to me and tell me how it went!

Dan Faggella


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