This week we're going to take a look at Passing The Guard, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Details and Techniques by Ed Beneville and Tim Cartmell. We have previously reviewed a different book by Ed Beneville in this video segment.
The player below is an audio recording of Bill and Pete discussing the book, there is an echo on the call at one point in the call so it wasn't able to be used for a video review but you can listen if you like, it covers basically the same points as the written review.
This version of Passing the Guard book is a revised and expanded second edition. Ed was one of the first Americans to really publish any sort of instructional manual on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. When he wrote the first edition he was still a purple belt. There weren't a lot of American purple belts back then, and none of them were writing books so this is one of the first. The original edition was released in 2002 and this second edition was released in 2009. This edition has 100+ new pages over 1600+ new photographs, covers 70 different guard passes, and the whole book includes more than 2400 photographs.
One of the cool things about this book is the icon system that Ed has developed to help you follow the detailed photographs through the flow of all the movements. For me personally this is a huge help because my game is not developed enough to fill in all the gaps, so when I see a movement that only has two or three photographs I get lost. I just can't follow a technique when there is too much information missing. With this book however there is enough detail and enough photographs from multiple angles that I can follow along. The icon system helps to prevent you from getting lost in the myraid of pictures.
The book starts off with fundamentals including posture and base, what the guard is, and explains the different types of guards such as closed and open, the variations of open guard including sitting, spider, X., de la Riva, and butterfly gard. It then goes on in quite a lot of detail about base and alignment, positioning grips, grip fighting and stripping, and posture. The book is divided into sections including the basics, passing from the knees, standing passes, defenses encounters, half guard, attacks, turtle, and drills.
I found that some of the things in the fundamental section were things I had either learned or figured out for myself, but there were others that were different from what I had been doing so I picked up some useful tips right in that fundamental section.
This is not a book that you can just pick up and breeze through, you'll need to spend a considerable amount of time really studying in order to make the best use of the material. Although the book covers fundamentals, you really should have at least a basic understanding of all the positions and some experience rolling to make the most of it. I think as a high-level white belt you will have enough time invested to really get some value out of the book.
Some guys like to collect books and I have to admit that I'm one of them, but even if you're not a reader, this book I think is an absolute must for your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu library. The time that you invest in studying and learning the material will pay you back 10 fold.
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