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|What's the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu book?|
Gracie Book has Flash and Dash
I was browsing the shelves in my local HugeCorporateBookstore when I noticed a new jiu-jitsu book--written by two Gracies, no less. "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory & Technique" is a gorgeous, glossy, expensive-looking book, with full-color photos of Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques. Each technique is covered in two pages--so every time you open the book, you see a technique from start-to-finish. No flipping pages while you've got some fool caught in your guard!
Wow, I thought to myself. This book is great! Can it get any better?
Simco Book is No Nonsense
Then a friend told me about Gene "Aranha" Simco's book, "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Master Text." "Gene who?" I asked. Oh well. When it arrived in the mail, I was pleasantly surprised. Like the Gracie book, Simco's book has an extensive array of techniques, all depicted in step-by-step photographs (although in just black-and-white). Evidently, since Simco doesn't have the backing of the Gracie's patron, a member of the United Arab Emirates' royal family, he had to cut corners somewhere. Luckily though, he didn't cut corners on technique descriptions. The book has a ton of techniques, most with their respective counters.
So which book is better? It was a tough call, since both books are excellent.
However, Simco's book wins this Head-to-Head review, because of its strong array of techniques, easy-to-follow instructions, and depth of detail. Simco covers a technique, then shows you how to defend against that technique, then shows you how to escape (once your defense fails, I suppose). The Gracie book covers escapes and counters, but throws them in among primary techniques. As a result, the Gracie book ends up being a great sampler of techniques, but less of a systematic training text.
"Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Master Text" by Gene Simco:
"Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory & Technique" by Renzo Gracie, Royler Gracie, John Danaher, and Kid Peligro:
Which One Should I Buy?
I say buy both. Although Simco's book is quite extensive, there are techniques where the Gracie book carries things just a bit further. For example, I'm particularly fond of kami-shiho-gatame, called the "north-south hold" in both BJJ books. In this hold-down technique, my opponent is lying face-up on the mat, and I lie face-down on top of his chest, with our feet on opposite ends of a straight-line. I've found this pin to work well even against the much bigger guys in our workout.
Simco shows an escape from the north-south hold that would let my opponent escape and submit me with a triangle choke. But the Gracie book takes that move one step further and counters the escape with an ankle lock. Although Simco's book is more extensive, the Gracie book throws in just enough out-there techniques, and is just such a gorgeous book anyway, that it's worth having as well.
With both of these books in my martial arts library, I'll be surprising my workout partners with new tricks for many months to come.
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