Very few of us can afford to take a trip to Brazil to train exclusively with Anderson Silva, let alone afford to even charter that plane ride in the first place. Thanks to Victory Belt publishing, students of the combat sports can avoid the long flight and layovers, hunting down a place to train, and bypass the inevitable stomach viruses that come with international travel (I speak from experience).
The UFC middleweight champion, along with Glen Cordoza, have put together the “MMA Instruction Manual”, a tutorial book full of techniques that promises to improve your game. This volume is sub-titled, “The Muay Thai Clinch, Takedowns, Takedown Defense, & Ground Fighting”. Long name, but at least you know what you are getting. I had previously reviewed Anderson’s DVD’s from Victory Belt on the Muay Thai clinch, and was very impressed, but obviously there are some big differences between a disc and a book. If you can’t figure that out, I suggest you stop reading here.
For those of you who can tell the difference and want to learn more about Anderson Silva’s latest instructional book, hit the jump and read on for the full review. Most importantly, you can find out if it’s worth buying or not!
“The MMA Instruction Manual: The Muay Thai Clinch, Takedowns, Takedown Defense, and Ground Fighting” is a sequel to his last book, the equally lenghty, “Mixed Martial Arts Instruction Manual: Striking”, where Silva and Cordoza covered everything from basic punches and kicks to combinations through 1500 step-by-step color photographs and text. In this volume, according to the publisher, “Silva demonstrates how to devastate opponents from the Muay Thai clinch with off-balancing techniques and brutal knee and elbow strikes. Silva also devotes an entire section to focus mitt drills that hone striking combinations.” In addition to seeing Anderson Silva, you also get Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante being the victim once again as Anderson gets the joy of manhandling him for hundreds of pages.
The book is a robust 304 pages, filled with color photos. While there is no official count on the number of photos, I can confidently say there are way more than the first book. Each page has an average of six color photos, some pages have more and others less. You can do the math with that one, but it adds up to there being thousands of pictures that support the descriptions. Many of the shots were actually taken during the filming of the instructional DVD’s, which you can identify from the clothes they are wearing and the background.
Before I get too deep into the content, I want to talk about the cover. When the package arrived on my door and I opened it up, I thought I had received a Spiderman comic book, since the cover image which you saw at the start of this article is just very peculiar to me. The first volume in this series featured Anderson Silva on the front of it very prominently, while this cover is a deep black with spiderwebs behind it, and a big yellow embossed spider image that looks like a cross between Spiderman and Venom’s logos. It’s visually a great attention grabber, especially with Anderson Silva’s name in huge white capital letters under it, but it’s very confusing. Why they did not use a photo of Anderson along with these other elements I do not understand, and it left me not disliking or loving it, just confused. I should also note that the spine of the book resembles Mark Bittman’s “Bittman takes on American Chefs” book, right down to the font and pantones (but I doubt anyone else will notice that).
The content of the book is expansive and detailed, and covers every nuance in the Muay Thai clinch, takedowns, passing guard, submissions and more. There is even a tiny section on stomping a grounded opponent, something I can not recall seeing in another instructional book before. Silva covers both sides of these techniques as well with photos and descriptions so that both orthodox and southpaw fighters can implement these attacks. Most moves that are demonstrated are also offered with a defense for it. As a bonus, there is a small section in the back of the book with focus mitt combinations. One thing I really liked was the addition of techniques that can be done on the fence of a cage, including takedowns and things to do off your back utilizing the environment. They are not large sections, but they are there and worthwhile information.
Cordoza’s descriptive text is perfect and explains each technique with care and attention. The photos capture the action but the text is crucial to performing these techniques properly and effectively. The text clearly explains what to do, when to do it, and where to do it to, with the right amount of narrative to accompany each picture. I have read many books that left me scratching my head as to what to do with an arm or leg or whatever, and other times where the author just becomes verbose and rambles. Cordoza hits the nail on the head and marries his writing with the photos for a killer combination.
This book is great for all levels; perfect for a beginner to keep using for reference for as long as they are studying the sport, and great for intermediate levels who want to learn some new moves and refine what they already know. Maneuvers like leg shucks, sweeps and attacks from the butterfly guard, evasive tactics to avoid strikes and enter takedowns, and submissions from any position make this a very deep instructional that will keep you reading and makes for an excellent reference book with your other MMA books. If you have never bought an MMA instructional book, this would also be an appropriate first book to buy with its depth of coverage and accessibility for any level.
This instructional retails for $34.95, which is about the same cost as one of the DVD’s. While the DVD’s are also amazing, you can’t go wrong with this book which covers the same material seen in the DVD sets, and infinitely more. I highly recommend this tome of takedown knowledge and clinching mastery, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed when you pick this one up. You can order Anderson Silva’s “MMA Instruction Manual: The Muay Thai Clinch, Takedowns, Takedown Defense, and Ground Fighting” from Amazon.com at this link here for the great price of $21.84! Victory Belt has yet to disappoint me with their high-quality and informative products, and “The MMA Instruction Manual: The Muay Thai Clinch, Takedowns, Takedown Defense, and Ground Fighting” by Anderson Silva and Glen Cordoza continues to show their dedication to the sport and to fans and students who want to learn from the best.