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Book Review: The Grappler's Handbook Vol 2 by Jean Jacques Machado

Last night Fraser Coffeen posted a review of Jean Jacques Machado's "The Grappler's Handbook" covering the basic format of the book and what readers can expect. When it comes to instructional books, there are two companies that really do it right and Black Belt is one of them. Black Belt's focus has been on the history of fighting and in doing so, they provide a view of the concepts and techniques that others overlook.

Volume 2, aptly titled "Tactics for Defense" opens with a fantastic quote from Jean Jacques "As a young boy, I used to dream that one day I would be a famous martial artist. Though I am certainly not famous, I have experienced success and opportunities that I am thankful for everyday." For those that are unaware, Machado has been able to overcome some physical limitations through his brand of BJJ. This has made him one of the most sought after BJJ coaches in the world as he has developed a system that focuses on defensive techniques to escape from dangerous situations.

The book is split into three sections: Defending from the bottom position, Defending against back control, and Defending from and against the guard. Each section then breaks down the various set ups and the best way to defend and escape. Each breakdown shows a photo sequence as well as a written description of the movements to follow. The descriptions are simplified which makes this a book that is good for any level of grappler.

Though the book is written for the gi, the movement and techniques all translate easily to a no-gi environment.

Speaking as someone who has trained in BJJ and no-gi grappling as well as someone who has purchased and read various instructional materials, I appreciate Machado's style. His techniques work for any level and don't require physical gifts and abilities to achieve various positions. The system is simple yet effective and that is what makes him one of the true masters of grappling.

The final word is that this book isn't for offensive techniques. Machado instead covers ways for you to reestablish guard or sweep your opponent. In doing so, the handbook is truly something that works in all situations. My sole complaint is that the book doesn't cover half-guard which is a position I often find myself defending from since I don't have long enough legs to close guard against larger opponents.

Disclaimer: I did receive this book for review from the publisher. It was after testing the techniques on the mat that I truly could give this book an honest review.