Bloody Elbow Book Review: Eddie Bravo's Mastering the Twister


I recently reviewed Eddie Bravo's first Victory Belt book, Mastering the Rubber Guard, and Mastering the Twister is certainly a worthy successor.

Where the first book focuses on Bravo's innovative approach to the guard game, the sequel covers his top game -- the mount, side control, the sprawl, back control, and a unique position Bravo calls the truck.

One of the most interesting parts of this book is the way Bravo discusses the development of his game. It goes some way to explaining the genesis of his unique approach.

The twister of the title is a neck crank submission Bravo brought to jiu jitsu from wrestling where it's known as the guillotine. As a beginning jiu jitsu student under Jean Jacques Machado, Bravo built his entire game around this submission since he'd mastered it as a wrestler and few of his jiu jitsu opponents were aware of it.

Eventually when his training partners learned that they could stymie Bravo by giving up their back or letting him claim mount position, he was forced to develop his game from those positions as well. Typically for Bravo, he developed innovative and unique approaches to each position.

One position discussed at great length is something Bravo calls "the truck". Its similar to the x-guard in that one player uses his four limbs to control the other man's legs but unlike the x-guard position, in the truck, both fighters are on the ground.

I'm very curious to see if and when Bravo's twister game is applied to mma. I'm sure his theories are sound, although I'm not entirely sure that the twister, as a neck crank, would be a legal submission in the UFC. Many of the submissions discussed in the book (such as "The Doerkson" "The Bustamante" and "The Schaffer") have been used in the UFC already.

The book itself is excellent, as are all of the Victory Belt publications I've reviewed. Plenty of full color photos to illustrate each move from multiple angles, clear explanations of each move, and commentary explaining "why" at each step of the way. The Bravo books also include an excellent flow chart that shows how each position flows into the others, including multiple alternate routes and submissions from each position.

As with his other book, this one includes an introduction that includes way too much information about Bravo's personal life, non-fighting interests and unusual beliefs. Its easily skipped for those like me who just don't want to know.

If you haven't already got Mastering the Rubber Guard, I would get that before this one, but if you're looking to add some novel moves to your top game and/or are interested in a solid no gi grappling system, this is an excellent addition to your library.

Co-authors Erich Krauss and Glen Cordoza have also done books with Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Randy Couture, B.J. Penn, Karo Parisyan, Marcelo Garcia and Anderson Silva and I've enjoyed them all.

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