When it comes to grapplers, there are two major schools of thoughts – submission over position, or position over submission. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, but ultimately, the techniques involved are still effectively the same, it is more how they are applied that is changed.
Either way, you still need to have the moves to pull off a sweet submission when you fight, and today we are taking a look at a book that has you covered. Steve Scott, who has written several of the books from Turtle Press we have looked at in the past few weeks, published the “Tap Out Textbook” in 2009, and I finally got my grubby little hands on it a few weeks back.
Is this book truly worth of being a textbook, or is it as good as your old algebra textbooks from high school that you defaced with drawings of phalluses and boobs (which was how all of my books were… I swear they were that way when I got them)?
Hit the jump to check out the full book review!
Steve Scott has been a busy author, publishing a ton of books with Turtle Press. “Tap Out Textbook” weighs in at a hefty 480 pages of submissions, including gi and no-gi techniques for armbars, leg locks, and chokes, which are the three major chapters of this book. Within those three are all the different holds for neck cranks, shoulder locks, ankle locks, kneebars, kimuras, triangle chokes, and whatever else you need to make your opponent submit.
This expansive book has upwards of 450 different submission holds, all broken down with supporting text and photos to ensure you know how to lock your maneuver in and tap your hapless opponent out. I would estimate that the majority of the book is no-gi, but it’s more like a 70-30 ratio, which is still not too bad. Just because there is less gi techniques does not mean they are lame moves, as both are treated equally in terms of skill and execution, there are simply more no-gi moves.
Aside from showing you moves on the ground, you also get a few set-ups to finish from standing. This means you will get a takedown or a throw to accompany your submission, or in some cases, the subs will be from a clinch position with a way to get your opponent on the ground and tapping out in no time at all. Of course, there are also the usual fun things like flying armbars and rolling leglocks, but the majority of the book is from either a top position or bottom position on the mats.
Certain techniques also feature an additional info box, like you will see in the sample page below. These boxes offer tips for counters or ways to better finish your hold.
One of my favorite martial arts books is Gene LeBell’s Encyclopedia of Finishing Holds (which I highly recommend to all my readers). “Tap Out Textbook” reminds me a lot of Lebell’s expansive tome on the topic, except that the encyclopedia features more pro wrestling and catch wrestling holds which are more difficult to actually lock in on a person, and does not go as in-depth with the gi as this book does. Lebell’s book is also double the price, since it is a much longer book that covers more, but for what it’s worth, “Tap Out Textbook” still contains a vast amount of info, making it a great resource for all levels of training.
Like all other books that we have reviewed from Turtle Press, this tome is filled with photos, but they are all black and white. Does this affect the information? Not at all, but it does make it look slightly less pretty than another book you might find on the shelves. However, in the case of this book, there is already a precedent set by other similarly sized books, such as Lebell’s or even Bas Rutten’s Big Books of Combat, all of which are also black and white. This time, there is really no aesthetic problem since other books have been done this way already – the difference here is that this book is actually priced cheaper than those others. Advantage goes to the consumer!
Scott’s “Tap Out Textbook” is a top notch resource for grapplers, beginners to intermediate, for students and instructors. Filled with techniques from every position possible for any sort of joint lock or stranglehold you may desire, this book will make sure you have all the options ready to go in your arsenal, along with back-up plans. The only thing I wish this book had was chains, showing readers how to switch from sub to sub. While some of the techniques in this book give you alternatives if you are countered, the majority do not. It’s rare that a book like this would offer that info, so I am not docking any points for that (plus, they have those helpful hint boxes throughout that cover some of that info) – just hoping for a second volume that can accomplish that and more!
You can order Tap Out Textbook: The Ultimate Guide to Sumissions for Grappling for anywhere from $6-$25, used or new, and at either price point it is certainly worth picking up and adding to your bookshelf.
You can also order the e-book version of Tap Out Textbook: The Ultimate Guide to Sumissions for Grappling at this link to the left of this for $10.