Some Books…

Posted: July 30, 2009 in All Eli's BJJ Posts

I just ordered this new book featuring something about Greg Jackson:

Jacksons Mixed Martial Arts: The Stand-Up Game

Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts: The Stand-Up Game

This isn’t going to be a book review, but I did want to take the time to mention some books I am keeping my eye on and plan to read soon, such as the above mentioned, as well as BJ Penn’s new book:
BJ Penn Closed Guard BJJ Book

BJ Penn Closed Guard BJJ Book

More importantly, though, I am writing this because I get a lot of questions about books and other materials that are helpful for supplemental training. Typically, the people asking me this question are asking for either BJJ or MMA. Here are the ones I suggest:

For BJJ, for reasons of practicality and overall reference for beginning and polishing Jiu Jitsu technique, I tell people that any of Royce Gracie’s books are good. These would be Ultimate Fighting Techinques volumes 1 and 2 (The Top Game and The Bottom Game); Gracie Jiu Jitsu by Helio Gracie; Submission Essentials with Royler and Helio Gracie; and Submission Grappling by Royler Gracie. I don’t pick these just because of who wrote them, but because the feature solid, well-explained structured Jiu Jitsu techniques the way they were meant to be taught.

There are plenty of other books that are great BJJ books, but because they are either too sport-oriented, predicated on experience, or otherwise not fundamental enough in my eyes, I have not put them in my canon. Books like Path to the Black Belt or The Complete Guide to Gracie Jiu Jitsu by Rodrigo Gracie are great books. The Machado books like Jean-Jacques Black Belt Techniques or Championship Techniques also have some awesome material. Likewise, if you have some experience under your belt (pun-intended), Eddie Bravo’s Mastering the Rubber Guard and Mastering the Twister are some of the best laid-out books I’ve ever seen. I would also suggest Saulo Ribiero’s Jiu Jitsu University to the list of books that can add to your BJJ arsenal. It is just that these books will not be super useful to the beginner, nor will they help you develop a well-rounded self-defense practice, which is paramount when studying Jiu Jitsu.

With MMA, the possibilities are a little more open. I think that BJ Penn’s book, Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge is a good foundation.

Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge

Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge

I don’t typically suggest books on MMA that focus too much on the ground, because there are BJJ books that do that more effectively. BJ’s book spends some time on the ground aspect, but mainly concentrating on how to effectively deal with striking on the ground, which is what MMA books should be concerned with, while saving the technical ground movement for BJJ texts. Additional resources I might suggest, are Randy Couture’s Wrestling for Fighting,and Fedor’s book, humbly entitled Fedor: The Fighting System of the World’s Undisputed King of MMA . Other than that, I would simply suggest looking into individual martial arts books rather than MMA books. So texts on Muay Thai, wrestling, boxing, Judo, and BJJ are usually better resources than compiled books that tend to have to pick and choose their favorite techniques and have to scrap away a lot of important information for the sake of brevity.

My only other advice would be to avoid any books, or videos for that matter, by Mark Hatmaker (geez, I really am bashing that guy too much lately), or books that are part of a series with a different fighter on each cover. Books can be pricy, time-consuming, and tricky to pick out, so before buying up a bunch of rubbish, check with your instructors for their input. This will steer you toward what books are most closely aligned with your school’s philosophy. And don’t be ashamed if you pick up a book by a 100-time world champion and undefeated fighter, and you don’t think you can do the techniques inside it, to simply put the book down. Some fantastic fighters and martial artists can be lousy at conveying how to do the moves they do, or they may be the only ones with the ability to perform those moves. Look for what makes sense to you, and keep to those techniques you find helpful to you at your level of training.

If you have any suggestions for me, please comment on this post…unless you are Mark Hatmaker.

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