Sunday, February 05, 2006

Review: The Essential Guard

I try to get my hands on as much quality information as possible to help me progress in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I have taken a look at many books but I am most impressed by the releases of Kid Peligro. Why? Because he consistently presents complex information in an easy to understand way.

As a white belt, I need to be spoon fed specifics, re-visit basic fundamentals, and need to have the information delivered clearly with caveats to watch for. In his latest book, Kid Peligro with Rodrigo Medeiros (student of recently deceased Master Carlson Gracie Sr.) share valuable insights on The Essential Guard.

The book is broken down into four sections; Introduction, Essential Guard Techniques, Closed Guard Techniques, and Open Guard Techniques. Each section is laid out very cleanly and the narratives are detailed and concise making it easy to remember the ideas presented.

One thing I found really valuable was the "do not do this" pictures showing common mistakes. And this has already helped me with a common mistake I make when applying the triangle from guard. Before I used to grab for my foot on the first leg and pull my leg into position which worked by put pressure on my ankle. The book corrected this by recommending I grab the base of my shin to get a better leg pull, remove pressure on my joint, and leaves room for the second leg to get deeper on my lock. If you have trouble understanding what I just wrote, buy the book and check out page 129. One picture did this and this book has hundreds of them!

The book also has a section on drills to improve strength and flexibility as they relate to the guard. I like to do some weight training and stretching on off class days and am always looking for new drills to keep my workouts fresh. So it was worth picking up the book just for the new drills to add to my workouts.

The Essential Guard has 231 pages of valuable content. I know that it will take me years to work on everything presented in this book, so this is definitely one of my top two favorite books on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu... well... until Kid releases his next one.