Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stocking Stuffer: Saulo Ribeiro's "Jiu-Jitsu University"


Just released last week, we highly recommend Saulo Ribeiro's newest release, "Jiu-Jitsu University".

I just picked up my copy today and I'm really impressed with the way Saulo presents the material. Whether you're beginner, advanced, or somewhere in between, I think you'll find this book to be a good resource.

Your local bookstore should carry the book or, if online shopping is more your style, click here to order it from Amazon.  

Here's a reader review:

This is a fairly comprehensive survey of the basics, covered in a belt-by-belt perspective. The photographic quality is emblematic of the new style of MA tutorials, with clear pictures, and techniques portrayed from multiple perspectives in a top-down, linear fashion. It's the same style used in Couture's "Wrestling for Fighting" and several other recent works. 
There are scads of GJJ books on the market, so I will only cover what makes this one different from the rest. One noticeable difference is in the belt pedagogy. In the Gracie books, the techniques assigned to belt levels (if at all) are often apparently randomly selected and organized. Ribeiro, on the other hand, assigns a principle goal of each belt, and then organizes techniques in accordance with the goal. The main thing to realize is that many (most?) classes put defensive techniques and offensive techniquest together at each belt level, with proficiency, as well as learning some advanced techniques, being the key to getting the belt. Ribeiro, on the other hand, groups like techniques. Therefore, the reader's class will likely be out-of-step with this book. Ribeiro is presenting a pedagogy, not an encylopedia of techniques, so if you're considering this book, keep that in mind. 
Amazon won't let you see the TOC yet, so I will break the chapters down.
White belt: The goal is "survival," which seems completely reasonable to me, at least as a focus. This chapter covers the correct positions to attain and to hold while you're under another player's mount (top, side, back, etc.). Ribeiro lists the mistakes he thinks players typically make when defending against submissions in these positions, and some of his techniques are slightly different from what I've seen taught elsewhere. The point here is that the new player hasn't learned, or at least, isn't proficient at, escapes or submissions yet, and he needs to learn how to survive while thinking of his next move. I found Ribeiro's pointers to be useful...things I wish I would have learned on my first day of class (instead of being thrown to the wolves).
Blue belt: The goal of the blue belt is to focus on escapes. Escapes are discussed from the the above positions, and, as in the earlier (and later) chapters, Ribeiro lists mistakes players typically make, as well as his own unique techniques.
One primary difference, then, is that this book provides no offensive techniques for either the white belt or the blue belt. That's okay from the standpoint of this book being a supplement to actual classes, but would be quite interesting if the book were akin to Ribeiro's classes. My school failed where Ribeiro succeeeds -- focusing on survival, or at least, defensive techniques, for the lower belts -- but my school was also, I think, more conventional in that it required excellence in dozens of offensive techniques in order for blue belt to be acheived.
Purple belt: The goal of this belt is to become proficient in the guard. The earlier pattern continues.
Brown belt: The goal of this belt is to learn guard passing. The earlier pattern continues, and a variety of basic and advanced techniques are presented.
Black belt: The goal of the black belt chapter is to learn submissions.
Anyway, the moral of the story is to be clear on what you want when choosing a supplemental text. This book presents sound techniques and an interesting approach to study, but one that is likely to be completely out of sync with what the reader needs to learn in order to get ahead in class. Other books present laundry list of techniques without any sense of order or purpose.
Hope this helps.

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