Book Review: Drill to Win: 12 Months to Better Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by Andre Galvao

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At long last it has arrived.  I’ve had Andre Galvao’s book Drill to Win: 12 Months to Better Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on pre-order for what seems like eternity.  Just when I thought it would ship the publisher would move the date.  Finally the day came and now I have it in my hot little hands!

The first thing I noticed as I opened the package is the size of the book and the color.  Its huge and bright.  I wasn’t surprised when I opened it to see that it was well illustrated. 

The table of contents groups the drills by month, week, and then day.  Each week has a subtitle that explains the goal of that weeks drills.  For example: Month 5, Week 4 is dedicated to Turtle Escape drills.  This is very handy if you just want to find some drills specific to something you are working on.

The book takes into account diet too.  Month 1 is devoted just to that.  It makes sense considering that a well oiled machine is going to perform its best.  So for all of us who are slacking on the diet or just not eating right Andre gives us a good solid base line to get our motors revving.  Month 12 is the "Final Exam".  It is really a create-your-own-drill-routine-from-what-you-have-learned month.  It spans one page and has some FAQ’s.  So really, there are 10 months with a new drill each day.  That is more then enough drills for me.

I noticed that there are a few things required to do all the drills.  They are, a swiss ball, balance board, and partner.  Don’t worry there are solo drills galore!  It looks like you are doing solo drills until about Month 4.  By then you should have improved agility and be ready for the throwing and pulling guard that make up Month 4.  I think the book is well organize by the fact you don’t start throwing and pulling guard until you have a little better skill.

The pictures of each drill are step by step and are sized well.  I am a visual learner and would prefer a video but Andre’s progression is good along with the text explanation.  I’m sure if the book is as great a success as I think it will be the video’s will follow.  All in all, I am very impressed and excited to start my year of drills.  I think Drill to Win is going to be a new standard that every BJJ practitioner will want.  Andre you rock!

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Rigan Machado comes to Utah

I just got news that Rigan Machado will be giving a seminar on January 30th here in Utah.  He is a 8th degree black belt and nephew of Helio Gracie.  He was the first black belt awarded by Carlos Gracie Jr.  I’m really excited to go.  I am still feeling bad that I miss out on Andre Galvao when he came to Unified.  I won’t be missing this one.  Here are the full details:

UCTC in Kearns, UT (4095 West 4715) at 1pm (should last 3 hours).  Cost $50.

KneeOnBelly.com quotes BJ Penn as saying "’Training with Rigan Machado was definitely an experience that changed my life. At one time, I definitely think he was the greatest grappler that walked the earth."

It should be really good.  I will of course blog about it after it is over and share any pictures or video that I am able to get.

Blue to Purple Belt – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

So you got your blue belt, Congratulations!  If you are feeling like me you are excited.  The thrill of achievement has you thinking, “what do I need to do now to get my purple belt”.  The simple answer is time and practice.  This isn’t exactly what you wanted to hear but what you expected, isn’t it?  After asking my instructor and other basic research the average blue belt takes 3 years to get a purple belt.  But you are pumped up right now.  You say to yourself, as I do, “but I’m not average”.  The fact that you are out looking for what the requirements are and trying to start working towards your purple belt helps reinforce that.  After all the average time for a white belt to blue belt is 1.5 years and you did it in less, didn’t you?  So you will achieve your purple belt sooner then 3 years.  This is how I plan to do it.  I hope my ideas inspire and help you to pass your purple belt test early.

  1. Keep a Jiu-Jitsu Journal.
  2. Learn the purple belt techniques. (Pedro Sauer Purple Belt Test)
  3. Create a daily drill routine.
  4. Research the greats. (My favorites Roger Gracie, Saulo Ribeiro, and Andre Galvao)
  5. Attend Another Dojo, School, or Academy
  6. Mentor a white belt.
  7. Set Goals.

By clicking on any one of these you will go to the article that gives specifics on what I’ve planned for myself.

Please feel free to add your comments or ask me questions.

Improve Muscle Memory with a Solo Daily Drill Routine – Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

A big part of Jiu-Jitsu is muscle memory.  If you play basketball you shoot hoops over and over to improve your shot.  Its no different with Jiu-Jitsu.  It is just a little harder given you don’t always have a partner.  So what can you do to improve muscle memory?  Most of the books in, My Bookshelf, have drills in them.  You can find drill routines on YouTube.com

Here are some I like on YouTube:

When it comes down to it you need a routine tailored for your own needs that you can do anytime. 

Here is a example:

  1. Basic Warm up.
  2. Basic Survival Techniques from Jiu-Jitsu University
    1. Solo Side Control Guard Recovery Drill x 20
    2. Solo Mount Survival Drill x 20
    3. Solo Mount Elbow Escape Drill x 20
    4. Solo Knee-On-Belly Prevention Drill x 20
    5. . . .
  3. Escapes
  4. Submissions

You get the idea?  I love Saulo Ribeiro’s book, Jiu-Jitsu University.  It has some really good solo drills.  I would recommend you get it and see what I mean.

Start to build your drill routine by identifying where you want to improve.  I personally know I want to be strongest in my survival and escapes.  After that comes sweeps and submissions.

Some considerations you might want to take into account as you build varied drill routines.

  1. How much space to I have to work with?
  2. How long can I take on a routine?
  3. How often should I do my drills?
  4. How will I know I am progressing and need to change my drills?
  5. Are my drills effective or am I just making a fool of myself?

These are the questions I am asking myself as I build my drills.  I have already begun to notice changes in my game.  The techniques I’ve been drilling at are becoming automatic.  I do them without thought.  This has forced my opponents to change tactics and now I have a whole new set of techniques I need to better understand so that I can survive or escape.  This means I need to create new drill centered around them or include the techniques I need to improve on in my present routine.

Please share with me your drills that have helped you improve your Jiu-Jitsu.