The Berimbolo – Evolving the BJJ Game

Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized expert in the area of Back Takes and Back Mount in BJJ. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – and his FREE Berimbolo Back Takes DVD can be found online at:


In the wild world of sports that so many of us enjoy, there is never a dull moment.  We love our traditional games and athletes, however, there are some times when the specific sport you enjoy needs a little shot in the arm to help bring it along with the time.

A perfect example of this would be the super-slick back take, the berimbolo.  Utilized in order to obtain back mount, this transition is a tricky one and should be drilled over-and-over if you want to really get the move down pat. 

One Brazilian Jiu Jitsu player that has this transition down pat is Rafael Mendes.  If you’ve followed my work, you know I’m a big supporter of both Mendes brothers.  Rafael is notorious for using the berimbolo to help advance his position and gain the upper hand on his opponents.


The Proper Setup and Executing of The Berimbolo

This can be a tricky setup and execution from start-to-finish if you’re a white belt or new to the wonderful world of the spider guard.  Being familiar with this position and ability to be comfortable in awkward spots is an extremely important aspect of the berimbolo.

This isn’t like a guillotine or a knee-cut pass where you can watch someone execute it in a match, and then go and drill it, having most of the fine points down pat.  The berimbolo is more complex and commands proper training time to be dedicated to it in order to progress through the ranks.


Here’s a crash course on this berimbolo transition: 

  • Setup your de la riva guard.
  • When this occurs, your opponent will naturally place their knee in between your legs.
  • With the hand furthest from the leg, reach up and grab their belt, while your other hand grabs onto the heel.
  • Falling at an angle, you want to make a pull and kicking motion which will send them head-over-heels while you roll.
  • Once they land, you should already have one hook in, allowing you to float over and obtain a full back mount.

Rafael Mendes – The Picture Perfect Berimbolo

As I previously mentioned, Rafael Mendes is an absolute stud when it comes to executing the berimbolo transition.  A lethal fighter, who seems at times to be immortal, the young Brazilian native has executed this move on countless occasions.

In fact, if you go to YouTube and begin to type in “berimbolo sweep…” take a look at one of the suggestions that pop up; “berimbolo sweep mendes.” This goes to show you that Rafael—and his brother, Guilherme—are two excellent practitioners of this excellent sweep. I’ve gone into even more detail on Rafa’s details and my own details on a recent blog post called “Learning the Berimbolo” on my home blog. If you want details on this transition I have another 3 videos in the post that I think are most helpful for learning the technique from scratch.

This is the ideal way to obtain back mount if you are finding difficulty in getting this desired position.  Feel free to read this over a few more times and hit the mats to give it a test run! 

Dan Faggella

Pan Am Champion, Brown Belt

Owner, The Science of Skill, LLC

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