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Ten Must Have Holiday Gifts for Your BJJ Game
With Thanksgiving over and the holiday gift-giving season fast approaching, here are some ideas for gifts for that special jiu jitsu player in your life, or perhaps even for yourself. Here we break down ten must have DVD or On Demand courses designed for every belt level and for whatever hole in your game you are trying to get filled before that next belt promotion. The guidelines below are simply suggestions to help you see some of the most common areas that you may want to look at when you hit each belt level.
PLEASE NOTE--This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all of the amazing resources we have available at BJJ Fanatics, but it will give you some ideas that will make great gifts this holiday season!
Congratulations if you've just recently started your jiu jitsu training. Though you probably won't realize it at the time, the white belt days can be some of the best of your BJJ journey because everything is so new and exciting, it can keep your mind spinning. BJJ instructionals can be a great supplement to the training you receive in your academy. Having a DVD or On Demand resource to view at your convenience can be a huge help in supporting your memory retention as you begin to familiarize yourself with certain techniques.
One of the best resources available at BJJ Fanatics for the student just starting out and looking for a simple and clear pathway to that blue belt is jiu jitsu black belt and MMA veteran Travis Lutter's easy to follow "Path to Blue Belt" two DVD set. This set would be a great compliment to the techniques you are beginning to familiarize yourself with in your classes and will remain a great tool to shore up these foundations later on as you progress and move to the so-called fancier techniques later on. At the end of the day, the fundamentals will always be the fundamentals because of their effectiveness and efficiency.
Another fantastic resource to build a strong foundation upon which to build your BJJ game is Gregor Gracie's "High Level Fundamentals" 4 volume set available in DVD and convenient On Demand formats.
You can't get much closer to the source of BJJ as we know it then a member of the Gracie family who has built a reputation as a great teacher. This would be another great resource for new students looking for a way to review key concepts and fundamental principles that will ensure they execute the basics perfectly, or for the more experienced student who is looking to fix some problem areas and make sure they have that solid base.
At blue belt, we are just starting to take the rudimentary vocabulary of techniques and positions and starting to form sentences or combinations of techniques which help us deal better with opponents and training partners. It is at blue belt that you will commonly start to gravitate to certain positions that you will start to form entire game plans around as you become more experienced.
One of the most fundamental of those positions that we are sometimes exposed to as white belts and in our haste, don't fully explore the position, is the closed guard. Having a closed guard that is impossible to pass, from which you launch a wide variety of submissions, will make you a very dangerous practitioner at any level. With the help of 5 time world champion, Bernardo Faria and his 4 volume "Closed Guard" series, available here, you will be exposed to and start to implement some of the clearest and most powerful closed guard techniques that will frustrate anyone.
On the flip side of closed guard, one of the most frustrating things you can experience any time in jiu jitsu training is having your guard passed, whether it's your closed or another type. One of the most effective guards out there today that you can begin utilizing right away is half guard. Tom DeBlass happens to be one of the biggest proponent's of half guard competing today. Having been perfecting this guard from his time as a blue belt under Ricardo Almeida training with the monsters that made up Team Renzo Gracie back in the day, he has sharpened his technique to be able to withstand any type of pressure onslaught from the top and he has developed an offensive half guard that makes him dangerous just as much from the bottom as the top.
His best-selling "Half Domination" is available here in 4 volumes chock full of all of his secrets that have kept him competing on the top stages in the world. It is available here in both DVD or On Demand formats which can put you minutes away from frustrating any opponents.
By the time you make it to purple belt, you are most likely a lifer, having survived the classic blue flu which plagues jiu jitsu academies all over the world and leads to people giving up on training for a wide variety of excuses. At this point, you've got a pretty good grasp of the basic positions and submissions and have begun having some success against your training partners and opponents in competition. It has been said that by the time we reach purple belt, we've amassed enough knowledge to become black belts, but it's up to us to refine and perfect that knowledge.
At purple belt you may begin building on that foundation you've built as a white and blue and begin to explore some of the so-called "fancier" techniques or systems.
Two great resources from BJJ Fanatics that would be a fantastic edition to your library of BJJ books and videos would be from JT Torres and Leandro Lo. These two competitors are in the elite of the elite levels of jiu jiteiros. JT Torres has most recently won his weight at the prestigious ADCC World Championships in Finland and Leandro Lo is always in the hunt for the top spot on the world's highest level podiums.
JT's 4 volume series covers a lot of ground and will give you techniques and principles to work on for months and years to come. His "Passing, Back Takes and Submissions" available in DVD or On Demand formats will give you an extremely complete arsenal that will immediately make your training partners fearful.
Considered one of the most aggressive guard passers in the game, Leandro Lo's "Lo Guard and Matrix Passing" 4 volume set will give you some of the highest level techniques available on dealing with complex guard games you will see as you travel and compete. It is available here in On Demand format.
We're going to dedicate the brown belt section of this article to leg game instructional resources. One of the most misunderstood aspects of jiu jitsu are leg submissions. As the world of submission only grappling continues to grow, more and more people are being exposed to the world of leg locks. Though they've been around for many, many years, they have only come into prominence over the last 10 years and have recently exploded in popularity and controversy.
One of the original gangsters of the leg lock game who was a master of the "dirty thief" long before the average practitioner had ever heard of leg attacks, Dean Lister is one of the best sources of info on this aspect of your game. There are a number of resources available at BJJ Fanatics featuring Dean and his leg attack system, but none are more comprehensive than his K.A.T.C.H. system and therefore this is the best place to start your journey. This system, available here in On Demand format, will be the absolute quickest way to give yourself a wide variety of leg attack weapons from one of the founding fathers of the BJJ leg attack game that is played today.
If you're a tried and true IBJJF style competitor who competes primarily in gi competitions, you will be pleased to know that there are a number of approved techniques that will make your submission game much more well-rounded by allowing you to attack the lower body. For a great resource and detailed instructional on these techniques, check out Jose Varella's "IBJJF Legal Leg Locks" DVD or On Demand format here.
Let's wrap up our 10 must haves list by looking at a few resources that can be greatly helpful no matter what your belt or experience level. These two resources are also great resources that competitors and non-competitors alike will get great benefit from.
The first might at first glance be seen as geared primarily to competitors, but having a better understanding of takedowns can be important for anyone. Being able to control someone's body and bring them to the ground quickly and efficiently can prove to be a life saving skill in a purely self-defense scenario. Takedowns are also an area that can sometimes be ignored in jiu jitsu academies. For that reason, we are recommending "The Judo Academy" which features two of America's best judokas and coaches, Jimmy Pedro and Travis Stevens. One can draw many parallels between judo and jiu jitsu and the two compliment each other well. Having a working knowledge of the fundamentals of judo will prove beneficial whether you ever compete or not, but especially if you compete.
Finally, one of the most important areas to put your efforts into is your overall health and fitness. Maintaining a healthy weight and building strength will improve your overall practice and BJJ and help keep you on the mats whether training or competing. Achieving the best fitness level of your life is relatively easy if you know the secrets and one of the best resources out there is BJJ Fanatics "12 Weeks to Ripped" developed based on the real guidelines and experience of Tom DeBlass who has over 15 years of combat experiences on the highest stages of BJJ and the UFC and Bellator MMA stages. With a program that emphasizes simplicity, you will quickly learn all of the diet tricks and workouts that keep DeBlass in the best shape of his competitive life at 35 year old, when many competitors are hanging it up. You can get his series here at BJJ Fanatics!
So there you have it, 10 great resources that will give you strong foundations if you're just starting out or need to refresh yourself on the high level basics, get you in some of the best shape of your life or even introduce you to that new leg game that has everyone excited. Instructionals can be a great tool for improving learning and retention as you develop your personal BJJ game plan. Give the gift of lifelong learning.