View Full Version : In the market for some books

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7/28/2008 11:31pm,
I've recently (about a month ago) started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and (for the next month or so, cardio-)kickboxing. I think I've identified two related problems that I'm having that are stopping me from getting the most out of my BJJ training...

First, I'm not "thinking like a fighter". I don't have a framework of basic principles or axioms to fit new ideas and techniques into. The closest thing I have to that right now is this quote from Warfighting (http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/service_pubs/mcdp1.pdf):

It is critical to keep in mind that the enemy is not an inanimate object to be acted upon but an independent and animate force with its own objectives and plans. While we try to impose our will on the enemy, he resists us and seeks to impose his own will on us.
Or in other words, "If they try to get me into a certain position, avoid that position." The shortcomings of that approach should be obvious.

Second, and related to the above, I run out of ideas quickly. Without ideas, I wind up using physical strength to squeeze people - I don't go anywhere, they don't go anywhere, and all I learn is that relying on physical strength isn't going to get me anywhere.

So, in short, I'm looking for those two things: a theoretical foundation for fighting/BJJ, and ideas for what to do in given situations that I can ask my instructor about and work repeatedly in class.

Books I'm looking at (some are instructor recommendations):
Path To The Black Belt by Rodrigo Gracie and Kid Peligro
No Holds Barred! Fighting Techniques by Rodrigo Gracie and Kid Peligro
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique by Renzo Gracie, Royler Gracie
Mastering Jujitsu by Renzo Gracie and John Danaher
Kodokan Judo by Jigoro Kano
Guerilla Jiu Jitsu by Dave Camarillo

(I fully expect a lot of this material to be way out of my depth, but if the books are good quality, I should be able to go back to them in a year or five)

Do any of you have any experience with these books (or other books that might meet my needs) that you'd be willing to share?

7/28/2008 11:32pm,

Kentucky Fried Chokin
7/28/2008 11:36pm,
What you're expirencing is what every noob feels like when they first start BJJ. You don't know what to do, and it seems like your opponent has a counter for everything. Don't worry, just keep going to class. I suggest not wasting your money on any of those books, but instead, go to the book store and read the beginning of BJJ:Theory and Technique which will give you some of the background and the theory behind BJJ. Then, come back to BS and read some of the old classic threads in DHS like 'obvious epiphanies'.

7/28/2008 11:46pm,
I'm pretty much set on wasting my money on books - it's just a question now of how many of them will be about BJJ/fighting in general and which ones they'll be. If you can't endorse that now, could you please pretend it's a year or two later and I'm still looking for books to get good ideas from? If worst comes to worst, I'll make sure said books stay in good condition between now and the time I can actually use them.

7/29/2008 12:01am,
I like Mastering Jiu Jitsu for its cogent overview of MMA concepts.

Passing the Guard by Ed Beneville and Tim Cartmell is also well worth reading.

Kentucky Fried Chokin
7/29/2008 1:18am,
I really liked the BJJ: Theory and Technique, but I got it from the library. Can I ask why you're so dead set on spending money? If you got some money burning a hole in your pocket the Razamataz charity is always accepting donations.

7/29/2008 9:07am,
I've only been grappling for 6 months or so, and I have also found the Theory and Technique book to be pretty informative. I've gone to it once or twice to try and find
moves for certain situations. If you are interested in spending money, you might also want to buy the Roy Dean white to blue DVD's. I have watched them a number of times, and
they have seemed to help me to 'digest' the basic moves that have been taught in class.

7/29/2008 5:46pm,
Can I ask why you're so dead set on spending money?

I like to read. I am also looking at renewing my library card (mostly because they say they have access to electronic journals), so "which of these books should I buy" can double as "which of these books should I bike halfway across the city to borrow" in a pinch.

Kentucky Fried Chokin
7/29/2008 11:32pm,
You do realize that at most there is about two pages of text in any of these books, with the exception of BJJ: Theory and technique (which is why I recommended it). All of them are just technique books and even Theory and technique only has about 5 pages which doesn't really require more than one reading. So if you're buying books because you like to read you're going to be disappointed.

7/30/2008 12:16am,
Yes, but somehow "I like to look at the grainy pictures" just doesn't have the same ring to it. The picture-heavy ones will fill the same niche as, say, this (http://www.amazon.com/Strength-Training-Anatomy-Frederic-Delavier/dp/0736063684/) (another book I'm picking up).

Incidentally, the first few pages of Kodokan Judo are posted on Amazon.com, and I found them quite interesting. But then again, I'm kind of an odd duck.

Kentucky Fried Chokin
7/30/2008 12:19am,
Well, then once again I'm going to have to recommend BJJ:Theory and Technique.

7/30/2008 12:34am,
Then you and my instructor are in agreement. I'll bump it to the top of the queue.

On a semi-related note, do you know offhand if your library gives you access to electronic journals? I want to take a look at this study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8028502) in particular (see this thread (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=1876548&postcount=19)), but I can't get at it right now.

Kentucky Fried Chokin
7/30/2008 12:37am,
I have no idea.

8/04/2008 11:46pm,
Path To The Black Belt is getting sent to the public library's local branch for me. It's a start.

8/05/2008 3:07am,
In my experience, the best book to start with is Mastering Jujitsu, by Renzo Gracie and John Danaher. That has the big advantage of not overwhelming you with a bunch of complex techniques, but instead taking a detailed look at principles and theory. It also covers the history of the sport, and has general advice on training. My full review up here (http://slideyfoot.blogspot.com/2008/07/book-review-mastering-jujitsu-renzo.html).

Once you.ve read that, I'd say the next book to get is The Guard, by Ed Beneville and Joe Moreira. That is a lot more technique-heavy, but still keeps things simple, starting off with basic drills, gradually showing how to apply the fundamentals of BJJ (e.g., how shrimping is applicable to certain escapes/submissions etc). Carefully laid out, clearly explained and well-presented. My full review here (http://slideyfoot.blogspot.com/2008/07/book-review-guard-ed-beneville-joe.html).

Then there's all the great free advice on the net - you've most likely seen me stick these up before, but in case not:

Training, Stagnation and Tapping (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=974042)
Maximizing what you get out of rolling (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=1253088)
Protecting Yourself During Sparring (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=1234198)
Grappling Basic Principles (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=20609)
Advice for Noobs (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=1776425&postcount=1)
First Day Lesson (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=1232603)
Fundamental 5 (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showpost.php?p=1019474)
Obvious Epiphanies (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=62601)

And the following articles:

Starting BJJ Classes (http://www.grapplearts.com/Starting-BJJ-Classes.htm)
Nuggets of Advice (http://www.aesopian.com/127/nuggets-of-advice/)

8/05/2008 8:28am,
I have gotten a ton of good information that's helped my game from reading "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Theory and Technique" By Royler and Renzo, "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Submission Grappling Techniques" By Royler G, and "Gracie Submission Essentials, Grandmaster and Master Secrets of Finishing a Fight" by Royler and Grandmaster Helio Gracie.

I'd go through them in that order, but you will learn and understand a whole bunch of stuff each and every time you read through these books. What you miss as a beginner you will find useful after 6 months, and what you've still missed will become valuable after a year, etc, etc...

Of course I am admittedly Royler Gracie biased (and my instructor actually is the victim of half of the techniques Royler demonstrates in the latter 2 books I mentioned).