Bloody Elbow Book Review: Anderson Silva MMA Instruction Manual STRIKING

Silvabook_medium So I was very excited to receive the latest Victory Belt publication in the mail: Anderson Silva's MMA Instruction Manual STRIKING.

I'm a huge fan of this series. Co-authors Erich Krauss and Glen Cordoza have also done books with Randy Couture, B.J. Penn and Karo Parisyan (and Fedor Emelianenko but I haven't gotten that one yet, hint hint).

Like the others, this one is a very well produced tome -- clearly written, excellent color photos, step-by-step instructions on techniques both basic and advanced.

The first thing to jump out at me on perusing this one was a bit of disappointment. A quick glance at the section titles left a glaring omission: Stance & Footwork, Countermovement, Striking Techniques, Attacks and Counterattacks...where's the section on the Clinch?!?!? I had to flip through the book four times, seeing only the barest reference to the Thai Plum or the Dirty Boxing Clinch before I noticed Page 271 --- "Related Projects by Anderson Silva". There it was -- Anderson Silva's MMA Instruction Manual: THE CLINCH.

Ah, I see, they're going to do a whole 'nother book on Silva's clinch work. Damn. The dude has so much to say about the clinch that it needs its own book.

Anyway, the book I have in my hands is still totally awesome. My favorite thing about the Victory Belt series is the insight these books give to the fighting style of the authors. This book, like Anderson Silva, is an interesting combination. Its two parts methodical attention to footwork and positioning, two parts tactics -- how to set up combinations and how to counterattack, and one part crazy flash moves that reveal Silva's love of martial arts movies!

The bit on the Lead Reverse Back Elbow (the move he famously KTFO'd Tony Fryklund with, watch it here) is classic. Anderson describes how he first saw the move in a movie called Ong Bak starring Tony Jaa, a Muay Boran master. He decides that he's going to use it in his next fight and his trainers tell him to quit wasting his time with stupid movie moves that are never going to work. So he goes home and gets his wife to hold the pads for him while he secretly practices the move hundreds of times. Then he unleashes it in Cage Rage.

So after I've flipped through it a few dozen times and looked at all the flashy, exotic moves, I go back and read from the beginning. The thing that jumps out at me is just how much of Anderson Silva's flashy flashy fighting style is based on his total mastery of fundamentals. He puts everything in a context of footwork and positioning, combinations and counter-attacks.

The amount of information I gleaned about striking, particularly footwork, from this book positively dwarfs that I've gotten from every other MMA book combined. Lets face it, Silva is light years ahead of most MMA practitioners as a striker and comparing his striking instructionals to those of B.J. Penn or Randy Couture is like the difference between basic algebra and advanced calculus. You will not be disappointed if you buy this book looking to learn about advanced striking technique for MMA.

I've been going back and watching all of Anderson's fights and I can already tell the difference in my level of understanding of his artistry. I've even spotted him using several of the combinations and counters from the book.

You will be a bit bummed if you were looking to learn about the clinch but we'll just have to wait for 2009 when Victory Belt releases that one.

On the whole this is another excellent production by Krauss and Cordoza and I recommend it highly. Even if you don't train (like me) its a great way to learn the nuances of the sport so you can appreciate it even more when you watch it. If you do train, this book could unlock a whole new world of striking technique for you.

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