Mastering the Twister – Eddie Bravo

RATING: 

RECOMMENDATION:

Yes, but take it with some grains of salt.  It is a great supplement for learning different variations of side control and back takes.  However, there is a huge introduction (47 pages) where Eddie gives his autobiography with lots of drug references and other non-Jiu Jitsu topics.  Unfortunately, it comes across as vanity.  I highly recommend a SOLID grasp of fundamentals first, so at least BLUE BELT.

OPINION:

Overall, there is some really great content in this book. Some really cool innovated stuff to help with mounting an offense against your opponent.  Especially useful is the sections dedicated to getting “The Truck” position, which is a modified back take.

There are also some crafty versions of side control and mount which Eddie ties into his Twister System.  There are some techniques that assumes a good amount of knee flexibility, which limits who can actually apply these techniques (much like the whole 10th Planet System).  But, there is still a ton of usable and applicable techniques that can be implemented by the ‘average’ practitioner. The book is really well done with nice photographs and excellent written detail of the moves.

The negative aspect of this book is obviously the long, and crude introduction.  This may drive off some morally sensitive practitioners away from it.  The actual Jiu Jitsu in this book is really innovative, creative and useful and it would have got a higher rating except for that dumb introduction which was a waste of space.

 

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

RATING: 

RECOMMENDATION:

Everyone should read this book. Especially parents.  Although not a BJJ specific book, anyone on the fence about training or has lost motivation can get great benefit from it.

OPINION:

This is not a book about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Its a book about a key ingredient to success in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu…PERSEVERANCE!  Elegantly written and very accessible, the author, Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor, provides tons of information and anecdotes that illustrate why grit is so important to success and happiness.

I feel every coach, teacher and especially parents need to know this stuff.  Also, anyone lacking passion or feeling stagnate needs to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get to work.

This book has been re-read multiple times by my wife and me.  Highly recommended to all BJJ students, as it applies to success in the face of adversity.

Reilly Bodycomb’s No-Gi Sambo Collection 7 DVD Set

RATING:  

RECOMMENDATION:

100% Yes.  For any BJJ practitioner who has an open minded approach to learning from other grappling methods.

OPINION:

This set includes an enormous amount of valuable content!

1) SAMBO Leg Locks for No Gi Grappling Vol 1 (2009)
2) SAMBO Leg Locks for No Gi Grappling Vol 2 (2010)
3) Combat SAMBO: Dynamic Entry! (2011)
4) Top Rock (2013)
5) No Kurtka SAMBO Vol 1 (2014)
6) No Kurtka SAMBO Vol 2 (2014)
7) Top Rock 2 – TURBO (2016)

 

Disc 1 & 2 contain outstanding leglock seminars!  Reilly’s systematic teaching method and layering of techniques can immediately improve how you implement leg attacks.  Questions are answered and all the “what if’s” are addressed.

Disc 3 is unique.  It is combat SAMBO so it has a lot of striking elements in it, which parallels the “self-defense” aspect to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  For the self-defense minded BJJ practitioner, this gives a refreshing set of techniques.  It also adds a slew of flashy and cool dynamic entries explained incredibly well.  Flying scissors, victor rolls, flying triangles, etc.  Super fun instructional!

Disc 4 is Reilly’s seminar where he combines the strategy of linking guard passing with leg attacks/leg locks.  This seminar was eye-opening to me an a lot of BJJ players.

Disc 5 & 6 are instructional discs that focus on No Gi (kurtka) grappling.  Obviously from a SAMBO foundation, Reilly makes it very accessible to BJJ players.  Tons of wrestling elements , some dynamic entries, and leglock information.

Disc 7 is his most recent seminar where he has polished up the guard passing and leglock combination material.  Reilly’s seminars are very informative and he leaves no question unanswered.   The emphasis of funneling or corralling your opponent into predictable patterns of behavior is a powerful theme to his grappling method. This disc showcases that theme/strategy very well.

Awesome instructional DVD set!  A goldmine of content that is way underpriced.  Reilly also offers individual purchases & digital downloads if someone doesn’t want the complete set.  Check him out HERE.

 

 

THE DEFENSIVE GUARD by RYAN HALL

RATING:  

RECOMMENDATION:

Yes!  A white belt must have!  Also for anyone who has forgotten what the guard was primarily designed for.  Intermediate and Advanced players will also benefit from Ryan’s conceptual/philosophical outlook on the guard.

OPINION:

Like all of Ryan Hall’s instructional DVD’s, this one is crammed packed full of theory.  This is not simply a series of techniques or moves.  This is a well thought out and layered approach to a PRINCIPLE (or set of them) that he demonstrates through specific techniques.  The theme of Building Your Wall is hammered into the viewer. This may seem redundant, but with each chapter there are subtle differences and details that are important.

If you are not familiar with Ryan Hall, then understand this:  He thinks and speaks quickly. So the viewer must pay attention.  The casual viewer is sure to miss key details.  He gives constant analogies and examples to illustrate his message.

This 3 disc set is lengthy!  No one can (or should) sit through all of it in one sitting. It s just too much to digest.  The best way to extract the information is to watch Disc 1 several times over a couple days and let the information sink in.  Then move on to Disc 2, etc.

If you want your guard to get better, this is a great investment.

The Science of Jiu-Jitsu 1 by Demian Maia

RATING:  

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Not unless your a big fan of Demian Maia.   Although the 6-volume set is packed with info, it is extremely laborious to get through it all.

OPINION:

Demian Maia is a wealth of Jiu Jitsu knowledge and is well known within the BJJ and MMA circles.  In this 3-disc, 6 volume (ie chapters), he covers some of the basics of BJJ: Defending The Guard Pass, The Triangle Choke, The Omoplata, Escaping Side Control, Attacking the Back, and Counter Attacks.  Throughout each chapter, Demian instructs the concepts and movements in English, which is not his native tongue.  I commend him on this effort (which I assume isn’t easy) but it is somewhat difficult to follow.  His partner throughout speaks/understands no English, so Demian is constantly switching to Portuguese to tell his partner to move, adjust angles, and attack.  Also, because of the language barrier, Demian is very repetitive, explaining the same concept/move way too many times.   This makes it very difficult for the viewer to follow.

All-in-all, Demian Maia is a master at Jiu Jitsu, and attempts to bring it across to the student (viewer).  However, Because he is not instructing in his native Portuguese, he has a difficult time getting his message across smoothly.  If you are a fan of Demian Maia then you can look past all of these obstacles.  However, If your indifferent to him, then you will no doubt be exhausted listening to and following his instructions.  If it weren’t for the communication issues this set would be Good, but as it stands it is just Okay.

MASTERY by ROBERT GREENE

RATING:   

RECOMMENDATION:

100% YES!  Although not a BJJ specific book, it will change the way you train and progress in the art.  This book will improve anyone’s Jiu Jitsu.

OPINION:

Robert Greene has provided an incredible book focusing on how someone can become a master in their chosen field.  He provides many examples throughout the book.  The topics such as “Discover Your Calling” and “The Keys To Mastery”  start off the book strongly, giving the reader a clear picture of what is needed at the start of their journey toward mastery.  The hub of the book is the Keys To Mastery:  Deep Observation, Skills Acquisition, an Experimentation.  The BJJ reader can easily draw on and relate to these topics!   The book also talks about Apprenticeship or finding the right teacher, as well as how to make the most of your time as a student.

One of the best books I have read!  I have read it many times over recommend it highly to anyone, but especially those who practice and wish to gain mastery in BJJ.

Mastering Triangle Chokes by Neil Melanson

RATING:  

RECOMMENDATION:

100% Yes!

OPINION:

THE most complete and thorough instructional on this nasty submission ever!  Neil Melanson covers so many details and different types of Triangle chokes that it’s overwhelming.  He breaks the submissions in three varying types:  The traditional triangle, Arm on the mat Triangle, and the Sankaku (a 120 degree tilted-type triangle).  Then he delves into your opponent’s differing body positions relative to your own.   It seems that no detail is left out.  It is 287 pages full of usefulness for the triangle aficionado!  Great pictures with each position of the techniques from different angles.  Every technique in this book is shown without the gi, so there is a heavy emphasis on clinching your opponent.

Without a doubt one of my favorite instructional references ever!  One that I read over an over.  This is one of two BOOKS that I would recommend any serious BJJ practitioner (the other is Saulo Ribeiro’s Jiu Jitsu University).

If you want better triangle chokes, pick yours up HERE.

 

RYAN HALL – ARM TRIANGLES DVD SET

Preview the set.

RATING:  

RECOMMENDATION:

YES!  Everyone one can benefit from this DVD set! Each viewer will take away different things from it depending on their experience. There are gems of knowledge for each belt level. If you are new to Arm Triangles this is an excellent place to start. If you are experienced and have been using Arm Triangles with a low percentage of success you will gain A TON from it.

OPINION:

This is a 3 disc DVD set covering Ryan Hall’s principles and execution of the Arm Triangle submission.  Like his other instructional DVDs, Ryan layers this one in a very logical order, starting off with easy to understand concepts and mechanical details the viewer must know first before diving into the more complex movements, set-ups and combinations.  Ryan provides copious amounts of details of these principles in his typical talkative and informal style.  He breaks down what actually makes the submission work very nicely.  Ryan Hall cuts right to the meat and potatoes of it. Also, to his credit, he gives his assistant Seph Smith the credit for actually being the expert at this submission.  For some short teaching clips from Seph Smith regarding the arm triangle (Ryan Hall’s first Black Belt) Watch the clips below.

After laying out a clear blueprint for the submission, Ryan then goes on to describe and detail the variants of the Arm Triangle, which he eloquently refers to as “different expressions of the same technique.”   These include the standard side Arm Triangle (which he refers to as Side Choke or Kata Gatame), the D’arce Choke (which he calls the Brabo Choke), the Anaconda Choke, the Ezekiel Choke (which he does differently than the commonly taught version), and the Guillotine. Ryan then continues the by laying out some useful combinations that give the viewer a clearer picture of the technique Continue reading RYAN HALL – ARM TRIANGLES DVD SET

The Black Belt Blueprint: An Intelligent Approach to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

RATING: 

RECOMMENDATION:

Yes, for new WHITE BELTS

OPINION:

Nicolas Gregoriades (Roger Gracie Black Belt) has compiled a nicely organized guidebook for the beginning practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  This book is inexpensive and covers a wide variety of topics.  Labeled “The Black Belt Blueprint,”  it is most certainly written for the newcomer to the art.  This book pretty much covers everything the White Belt should know on his/her journey.  Although this is not a book of specific techniques, it illustrates key principles that are necessary while applying them.  Topics like expansion and contraction from one’s center, breath control, and head and eye movement are just some examples.  The basic framework of BJJ is also covered, such as the basic positions one should know, how Jiu Jitsu basically works and how to progress through the ranks.  Some mental aspects one should know are also covered.  Nicolas emphasizes the benefit of yoga, visualization, and meditation.   All in all, this is a nice, easy to read, guidebook for the new student of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  White Belts can’t go wrong if they follow the

This book is a thorough catalog of the BASICS of BJJ.  It is easy to follow and can be easily digested by the newcomer.  It has great illustrations that help shed light on the topics.  I think every new white belt that steps onto the mat should have his/her own copy.  It will greatly increase the learning curve.

The title of this book is a little misleading.  It would better be titled “The White Belt’s Guide To Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.”  As stated previously, it is a very basic guidebook.  Solid Blue Belts and higher might roll their eyes at most of the content and think “yeah, duh!”

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt Requirements: Fundamentals for All by Roy Dean

RATING: 

RECOMMENDATION:

Yes. For any casual White Belt who is looking for a general framework of techniques on their way to Blue Belt.

OPINION:

This 2-disc DVD set by Roy Dean offers an outstanding blueprint for the White Belt Practitioner.  The techniques shown have a good amount of detail without overwhelming the viewer.  Roy shows and communicates the “nuts and bolts” of techniques he requires his students to know before progressing to Blue Belt.   There is a nice assortment of basic techniques from different positions.  The viewer is guided through each technique in a very calm relaxed manner that makes it comfortable to follow.  With almost 3 hours long, the set has just the right amount of detail for the novice.  Every White Belt will be somewhat challenged by the techniques without being overwhelmed.  All in all, the set offers a nice categorized array of basic techniques for the white belt.  Again, the instruction is clear and concise.  The techniques are also shown from multiple angles which paints a clearer picture of each technique.  Also included in the set are some perspectives on the journey from White Belt to Black Belt, Jiu Jitsu combinations, some competition footage, and some Roy’s students testing for Blue Belt (demonstrations)

The set offers a very easy to follow list of techniques taught in a slow relaxed manner.  The techniques are categorized well with each shown multiple times from different angles.  Roy’s instruction method is calm and slow which can help White Belts who are easily overwhelmed.  The amount of detail is good, but not great.  I believe this was done intentionally as to not overwhelm the newbie.  This set is perfect for the casual BJJ practitioner who likes Roy’s Zen like approach to the art.

The production (filmed in 2007 or 2008) is not the greatest.  The video and sound quality are adequate but not great.  This set probably wont be enough for the ravenous White Belt who desires precise details of each technique they learn.  Also, folks that have MMA aspirations you might want to look elsewhere. The set also does not address the self-defense aspect of the art.   Those that desire a “self-defense first” BJJ instructional, I recommend The Gracie Combatives  set.

 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructional and Product Reviews