The Grappler's Handbook Vol. 2 - Tactics for Defense - Review

Jean Jacques Machado is a true Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend. When he's got something to say on the topic of jiu-jitsu it's worth your time to stop and listen. This book is a follow up to the popular Grappler's Handbook but with a focus on defending submissions. Although defending yourself is perhaps even more important than attacking in BJJ, it gets overlooked many times because people like to focus on and learn new submissions.

The book starts of with some very basic concepts on hip movement and how to position your body on the mat to allow the most possible movement. Then it introduces some simple movement drills that you can use to improve our mobility. I would have liked to see some more information about how to use these drills, as well as maybe some more details here. The book then moves into more detailed escpaes arranged by position, side control, north south, etc. There is more detail in this section, but there are still some gaps that might throw someone new to jiu-jitsu.

I think the best use of this book is as a great companion to regular training at your school. There isn't enough detail here to really learn a brand new technique but it's a great way to review things you might have learned once in class. The other great use of this book is as a quick way to look at some options if you find yourself getting stuck in class in a particular position. You can put this in your bag and even take a quick peek between rolls.

In the introduction of the book, JJ Machado explains that improving your defense will give you the confidence to really open up your offense. When you know you can remain safe and escape from a bad position, you won't be afraid to try something new. This book is a valuable addition to your library and gives you a quick and easy way to add some more escapes to your bag of tricks.

Bill Thomas