Book Review: Greg Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts: The Ground Game

Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts: The Ground Game by Greg Jackson with Kelly Crigger is a worthy companion to their earlier book The Stand Up Game.

The first book gave me a great deal of insight into the devious and crafty mind of superstar MMA coach Greg Jackson who has risen to fame based on the success of his fighters Georges St-Pierre, Rashad Evans, Jon Jones, Nate Marquardt, Diego Sanchez, Keith Jardine et al.

The Ground Game provides a great deal of insight into the type of teaching that Jackson provides to his fighters. Throughout the book he emphasizes principles like seizing and maintaining the offensive initiative, using deception whenever possible, capitalizing on your opponent's mistakes, every move should have a back up plan, and think more than one move ahead.

The book is your usual lavishly illustrated Victory Belt production with tons of clear full-color photographs to explain every move -- most moves are captured from multiple angles. The sections are color coded for easy reference and well organized.

There are sections on The Full Guard, Inside the Full Guard, Guard Variations (Butterfly, Spider, Sit-Up, Downed, Half and Inside Half Guard), Side Mount, Head Control, Rear Mount, and Full Mount. Each chapter includes sub-sections on strikes, submissions, sweeps, escapes, passes and transitions. There is also an introductory chapter on nutrition for training by P.R. Cole, MS and RD Candidate at Columbia University.

While it was a very enjoyable read for me as a student of the game, The Ground Game is the kind of information-dense treasury that would most profitably be used by someone in training who could take a day or two to study each move described. In conjunction with The Stand Up Game it's a complete system for MMA fighting.

There's nothing particularly avant-garde in Jackson's books, instead it's a near perfect encapsulation of the current state of the art in MMA. There are a few fairly novel submissions described like the calf crusher, the brabo choke, the octopus foot lock, and the double-knit choke, but for the most part, Jackson sticks to the high percentage move we see successfully pulled off by his students at nearly every UFC.

Naturally I was excited to get my review copy in the mail from the fine folks at  Victory Belt but I whole heartedly recommend that anyone who wants to get inside the head of MMA's top coach buy this book.

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