When it comes to mastering anything, be it music, art, or something athletic, it always comes down to practice, practice, practice. If you are not trying to improve yourself, then you are not trying to improve anything. For athletes, there are a few different ways to get better at whatever sport it is they are doing, but in the end, it often comes down to good ole’ fashioned drilling.
For a martial art like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, drilling techniques is vital to perfecting your skills and making them feel like second nature. In Andre Galvao’s book, “Drill to Win: 12 Months to be better at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu”, the highly accomplished grappler shares with you a step-by-step process to master the fundamentals and then elevate your ground game to the levels of an expert like himself. Is this book worth your time to read, or should you stick to class and leave the reading to school kids?
Hit the jump for the full review!
Weighing in at nearly 290 pages long and standing around 11 inches high, this full-color book features hundreds of full-color photos with the same high standard of quality that we have come to expect from Victory Belt releases. For those who are not in the know about the grappling world, Andre Galvao Andre Galvao is a black belt student under BJJ legend Fernando “Tererê” Augusto who has won the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship and Pan American Championships multiple times, and won third place in the 2007 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in both the 77 kilo and open-weight divisions. He is also currently 5-2 in MMA, with all but one of his wins by finish.
This is not a book of winning moves or technique, but something that goes deeper and beyond that. Galvao’s book is actually a year-long instructional that takes you from the absolute basics of grappling to being ready to compete and take home some trophies. The book is broken up into 12 chapters, which include sub-categories that represent a different week, and a different routine for each week corresponding to one particular position or tactic. For example, the fourth month is dedicated to fighting for and getting a takedown or throw. The first week drills for grip fighting, with week two made for wrestling throws, week three for judo throws, and week four spent on different ways to pull guard. Essentially, the book is one part techniques and moves, and one part exercise and drilling routine.
The first two months are mainly to get your body physically ready for the training ahead, and includes a diet plan and exercises that you can do. Moving forward, there are drills for various hip escapes, throws, submissions off your back and in dominant positions, sweeps, transitions, combination drills, and offensive and defensive moves from open, closed, and butterfly guard. This adds up to over 200 different BJJ-oriented drills, all illustrated with multiple full-color photos that resemble a slide show of the move in action for each one.
At the end of each chapter, there is a month in review section, that also includes an FAQ, a review of the monthly topic, or homework to help you stay focused. There is a real textbook feel to this instructional that I like that makes it feel more authoritative and official. The written text to go with the moves is easy to understand and explains in-depth what to do on how to execute the move the best, as well as how to get the most out of the drills.
For anyone who is seriously into grappling and BJJ, this book will easily become part of your daily training regimen. Everyone loves to spar, but sometimes it takes just drilling things to understand a move before you can begin to use it in battle, so having this instructional around will safely teach you the correct moves to use in fights, as well as keep you injury-free before competitions (as much as humanly possible). Ultimately,the goal of this book is not to just present you with a bunch of random moves, but to tie them in as lessons that supplement each other, reinforce them with the drills, and 52 weeks later, have an entire methodology and gameplan to compete with and win. While I have not had an entire year to try the book out, I am confident in saying that anyone who reads it and does what it instructs will truly elevate their grappling skills.
You can order Drill to Win: 12 Months to Better Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu from Amazon.com for around $23, and is 100% worth the price. I think this book would be crucial for anyone who wants to enter competitions or already is competing in grappling as a new way to train both technique and improve your ground game cardio. A book like this for BJJ is pretty rare, in fact this might be the very first one in existence, and it makes for a great reference for grapplers of all levels.