“There is a time and a place for everything.”
How often have you heard that clichéd term? Probably too many times to keep track of, and if you did, it would likely make your head spin. While it is easily overused and ran into the ground, it’s a saying that does hold some weight and is rather true, especially for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
By now, I’m sure most of you out there are familiar with the Berimbolo sweep; a super effective setup used by smaller grapplers that allows them to catch their opponents off guard and to pass into a more dominant position.
However, despite the popularity and effectiveness of the move, the Berimbolo isn’t always the best route to take. The big dilemma these days seems to be if the Berimbolo is an effective move to use while in No Gi matches.
While you can make a case as to why it can or why it can’t, it’s still a fun debate to analyze.
The Pitfalls of The Berimbolo In No Gi Matches
There are many issues that may arise when thinking about the Berimbolo sweep in a No Gi competition. Let’s get into some of the issues:
Grips: These become basically non-existent in no Gi matches! When you eliminate the Gi, you take a lot of potential offensive weapons away. While opponents still may have sleeves, they are far more difficult to obtain given the material.
Sweat: If you watch the UFC or many No Gi-based grappling sports, you hear it all of the time that the sweat becomes a major factor and makes submissions and positional sweeps overly difficult.
While I can sit here and argue as to why it can be used in No Gi—because, as you know, there are always two sides to a story—this isn’t the time nor place for that.
Proof The Berimbolo Is Difficult In No Gi But It's Still POSSIBLE
When you think of the Berimbolo sweep, there is one name that jumps right into mind: Rafael Mendes. Rafa Mendes is an absolute genius on the mat, and is known for his use of the Berimbolo sweep.
Recently, I dug up a video of Rafael going against Rodolfo Viera in a No Gi match. When watching the video, you see Mendes looking for the Berimbolo, which would’ve been ideal against a much larger opponent.
However, he wasn’t able to pull it off. You could argue that it was due to the sweat, the poor grips or maybe it was just because Viera was staying very top-heavy, but it speaks to how difficult it is to hit the sweep when the master of the move has issues executing it - at any rate there's a very popular article and video on the No-Gi Berimbolo that was featured on BJJ.org
No matter how you slice it, the Berimbolo is a super awesome move, and it’s worth a shot adding it to your arsenal if you’re a No Gi grappler, and a DEFINITE move if you’re a Gi grappler