Before we begin this review of Jiu-Jitsu University by Saulo Ribeiro and Kevin Howell, it is important to note that trying to learn jiu-jitsu only from reading a book would be about as effective as trying to learn to play an instrument without ever picking up that instrument.
As with any other book about learning jiu-jitsu, our review comes from the perspective of using this as a tool to enhance a standard practice routine including classes and open mat time. Without these, any book would not be a very good way to get started with jiu-jitsu.
With that being said, Jiu-Jitsu University is one of the most popular jiu-jitsu instructional books out there, and with good reason. It covers essentially all the core positions and techniques to support someone who is starting their Brazilian jiu-jitsu journey. Not only is is very descriptive with many images showing the positions, but it also highlights common mistakes and what not to do, which is very important for beginners.
Organized into groupings of techniques for key areas of jiu-jitsu fundamentals, starting with defensive techniques for survival and escapes, it then moves into guard and guard passing, and finishes with submissions. This organization works well as the general consensus is that beginners should always focus on defense first before moving into offensive and submission moves.
The content for any given section generally provides an overview of why the topic is being presented and when it is applicable to be used. Then the techniques are described in detail with supporting photos, and common mistakes and misconceptions are then presented as things to avoid.
This approach makes the clarity and understandability of the content very strong.
This book is also available in a variety of formats, including paperback, spiral-bound, and our preference, digitally. We reviewed the Kindle format and being able to access the book from any device with Kindle support or a Kindle app , including iPads and smartphones, means the content can always be with you without bringing the book physically with you.
Verdict: For beginners looking to have a reference for the techniques they will be learning when they start jiu-jitsu, Jiu-Jitsu University is a great choice.
Do you have this book? Leave a comment with your thoughts!