Best BJJ Books 2018

Books for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are a great additional learning resource for beginners in jiu-jitsu. I myself have used booked for a number of years to supplement my learning, and my number one go to book is Jiu-Jitsu University. Today we look at some of the best BJJ books for 2017.

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Mastering Jujitsu (Mastering Martial Arts Series)
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Editor's Choice
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Jiu-Jitsu University
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The Guard: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Details and Techniques (Second Edition)
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Passing the Guard: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Details and Techniques, Vol. 1
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Strategic Guard: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - Details and Techniques
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Essential Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
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Let’s look at some of our favourite BJJ books

The Best BJJ Books Reviewed

Mastering JuJitsu


Ever heard of John Danaher? Of course you have, well long before the “Danaher Death Squad”, John Danaher got together with his head coach to write a book all about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. At 170 lbs soaking wet, Renzo tore his way through the Vale Tudo and MMA scene. Mastering JuJitsu has one of the best coverage of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu history and theory available. It also talks about some of Renzo’s game a strategy and a few basic techniques in the mix.

Pros

  • Features a broad history on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Solid concepts that are easy to understand
  • Contains case studies on popular fighters

Cons

  • Can be heavy on the theory sometimes
  • Techniques are more MMA focused sometimes
  • Not as many techniques as other instructionals

Jiu Jitsu University - Editors Choice


If you study BJJ and don’t have this book, do yourself a favour and buy this straight away. This should be on every BJJ practitioner’s bookshelf at home. Written by brothers Saulo and Xande Ribeiro the first two chapters are ideal reading for beginners. Saulo breaks down a beginners jiu-jitsu journey into two things, firstly surviving, initially surviving the onslaught and then defending. Once a decent defend has been built the book then moves onto guard work, with sweeps and a theory of how to put your opponent off balance and finally they talk about submissions.

Pros

  • The standout book when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu
  • Each technique is covered in detail with excellent illustration
  • Each section broken down by belt colour

Cons

  • Finding a specific technique can be difficult
  • People might find the belt ranking system patronising

The Guard


This book is everything you could ever want about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the use of the guard. This books starts off with basic closed guard into more advanced open guard work. It contains well constructed flows that are detailed with illustrations and text descriptions that make it easy for the reader to follow. This book also talks about the use of technique to defend the guard pass and also looks at moving an opponent that is stalling. Overall this is a one-stop-shop for everything on the guard.

Pros

  • One of the easiest books to learn from
  • Also contains specific drills to help your guard game
  • Very comprehensive when looking at the guard

Cons

  • Is out of print so copies are rare
  • Some techniques could be too advanced for beginners

Passing The Guard


From the same series as The Guard, comes the next logical step in the series, Passing The Guard. This book is everything you could possibly need when it comes to guard passing. The book starts off with looking at how to open the guard from standing or kneeling. It discusses the art of grip breaking, submission countering and even how to defeat the lockdown from half guard. The book is also crammed full of solo drills, however it also features some dubious techniques like can openers and neck, but aside from that, this is a must-have for beginners.

Pros

  • Starts from the ground up – Passing on the knees to standing passes
  • Well written with plenty of subtle details
  • Instructors are referred to Blue or White (gi colour), which makes things easy to follow

Cons

  • Grammatical errors can be distracting
  • Perfect for beginners but not so much for advanced

Strategic Guard


From the same author as The Guard and Passing The Guard, comes volume 3, Strategic Guard. This is a little more advanced that the original instructional “The Guard” but it’s even better when it comes to it’s presentation, coverage of techniques and descriptions. Strategic Guard also features useful flow-charts at the end of each chapter you can mind map how the move can work in your sequence. An absolute must-have if you’re a guard player who studies escapes and defensive applications.

Pros

  • A followup to the excellent “The Guard” book
  • Teaches you how to be comfortable in guard
  • Helps you advance your guard techniques

Cons

  • Techniques too advanced for beginners
  • Builds on concepts from the first book

Essential Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu


Essential BJJ is a relatively small instructional that focuses on more a more illustrative approach to teaching. This BJJ Book drills down on all the basic techniques a beginner needs at the start of the journey. Packed with plenty of large and easy to read instructions and photographs, it gives sensible advice on how to approach daily training and specific technique drilling.

Pros

  • Much more than a simple instructional
  • Techniques are well illustrated
  • Excellent attention to detail

Cons

  • More suited towards beginners
  • Technique instructions can be a bit too brief sometimes

Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu


Written by the legend Marcelo Garcia, Advanced BJJ gives you some fantastic insight into one of the great’s standout games. Starting out with Takedowns, counters and re-counters, this book also goes into well-structured technique paths to certain submissions. If you’re looking for attacks from the back then this is the book for you, since Marcelo is the master of back control. Remember, this is called advanced Jiu-Jitsu for a reason, ideally this should be for higher level blue belts looking to start stringing positions and submissions together.

Pros

  • Written by the legend Marcelo Garcia
  • A break down of Marcelo’s favourite positions and techniques
  • Over 2000 images breaking down techniques

Cons

  • Can be a bit too in depth
  • A lot of self promotion can be off putting for some

The History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Books

If you were a white belt back in the 90’s you will remember the lack of resources for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. With YouTube at least 10 years away, BJJ practitioners would be looking at books to help expand their knowledge outside of the gym. But there weren’t many books to help the novice learner. The main instructional most people owned was Renzo and Royler Gracie’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique and that was about it. However Kid Peligro’s work on that book was so incredibly groundbreaking that the book is still a widely used source even in today’s modern Berimboloing times. Peligro created the blueprint that all BJJ Books would follow to this day and since then hundreds of instructors have wanted to get a piece of the Instructional action by releasing books, DVD’s and instructional websites. Some good, some not-so-good.

Our guide is here to help beginners make the right decision when it comes to choosing their first instructional. As a white belt, with Jiu-Jitsu fresh in your mind you will want to consume as much information as possible, with the main one of those sources being books. Beginners will often try to learn every technique going, going beyond the basics after a couple of months assuming they know everything.

The problem eventually comes when they soon quickly realise that more techniques won’t help but theory will and this is where books can also help. With a book you get to dive into the minds of some of the best practitioners on the planet and learn something that you may have not though possible. There’s so much more to “knowing” a techniques than to understanding it’s mechanics and principles.

While books and instructionals are all good to help you learn new techniques, you can’t substitute regular hard training, getting enough sleep and eating right. But like you daily supplements you take to keep you body from aching, BJJ books allow you to do the same for your techniques. BJJ books are supplements for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the snack to tide you over under you next meal, or class.

Ideally a good BJJ Book for Beginners should do the following things

  • Talk about the correct approach to learning, competition, promotions and other common questions while belts normally have
  • Explain the underlying mechanics, concepts and theories in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, in a way a while belt can understand
  • Show basic techniques in a wide variety of common situations and positions

If you manage to find a instructional that does all these three things well, then you’re in luck and you should consider adding it to your library. Study the techniques and use them help you in your every day training, not the other way around. Keep to your skill level and you can’t go wrong.

About the author

Richard Presley

A purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Richard is the owner and primary writer of Attack The back. Check out my About Me Page to learn more!