Note: The content in this article was drawn from a Youtube video and an audio podcast (Episode 042 on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher) on the same topic. Check those out if you prefer your information in video or audio form!
After a friend of mine saw a cool Rafa Mendes highlight video I had posted my Facebook page he announced that he wanted to add a berimbolo attack to his game.
(The video that inspired him is below)
Now there’s no doubt that the berimbolo is a super-solid attack.
It allows you to spin from the guard straight to your opponent’s back bypassing the annoying step of having to pass his guard, and if you want to know more then check out the article I wrote about the easiest way to learn the berimbolo here.
I told my friend I could help him with that technique, but I also preached caution.
I said that it would likely take much longer to develop this attack than anticipated.
My friend is primarily aclosed guard and half guard player. He’s really good at those positions but the berimbolo is an attack that’s primarily launched from the de la Riva guard.
So to get good at the berimbolo he’ll also have to get good at the de la Riva guard.
He’ll have to learn how to set up the de la Riva guard, fight for grips, maintain position and block guard passes from there, otherwise every time he starts setting up his new attack – BOOM – his opponent will pass his guard.
It’s important to realise that this principle doesn’t just apply to the berimbolo and the de la Riva guard…
It applies to all BJJ positions and all BJJ techniques!
The simple fact is that you’ll learn techniques faster if they fit with your current game and what you’re already good at.
And the flipside is that if techniques don’t mesh with your current game then expect the learning process to take a lot longer.
The term I use for this is ‘congruence’.
The berimbolo isn’t really congruent with the closed guard and the half guard.
I tell you this not to discourage you from experimenting with things outside your comfort zone. I just want you to understand that certain experiments will give reward you faster than others, and that sometimes you need to be a little patient before you see any benefits at all from a killer new technique.
Inspired by this conversation today I shot a youtube video that goes into depth about this topic of congruence for BJJ techniques and positions.
In that video you’ll get some concrete examples of more techniques that are congruent and others that are not. Check it out below:
Good luck with your training and experimenting!