10/24/2012

Jiu Jitsu on the brain. The best beginner guide & philosophy book


Jiu Jitsu on the Brain by Mark Johnson is the only philosophical and zen-like book on jiu jitsu I have read. I enjoyed it thoroughly and it also resembled the great classics such as the "Art of War" and "Book of Five Rings". Mark is a black belt (when the book was written, a brown belt) teaching at West Side Academy in Utah. He also teaches English in high school which probably helped to make the book a really enjoyable read.

The book is organised into sections from the "empty black bar" to 4 stripe. The black bar starts with the basics (how to put on your pants) while the fourth stripe requires some experience in order for the reader to relate to it.

The book discusses many issues including:

- Why your gi should not be a fashion statement but clean
- How you will start to appreciate a non-injured body
- Why Pit Bull is the official jiu jitsu dog
- Why smoking weed will most likely not enhance your jiu jitsu
- Why you shouldn't make tapping a higher belt a big deal or brag about it
- Why it is completely cool and even important to train in whatever academy suits you best at the time
- Why you should hunt for submissions in a tournament despite what Helio said about the importance of not losing when FIGHTING. (This was particularily interesting in the light of the previous Metamoris tournament and because the author is a Pedro Sauer student)
- Why jitsu will make you a more complete person and less of a loud mouth punk

I strongly suggest everybody reads this book as most of us including myself will have something to improve about our jiu jitsu selves. It does not matter whether it is an unhealthy gi addiction, being a meat head in sparring, immature attitude towards other teams/martial arts, getting frustrated too easily, or a lack of hygiene. If I happen to teach one day, I might make this book compulsory for beginners..

The book felt like a breath of fresh air after all the advantage wins in the worlds, shameless marketing of everybody's own brand of jiu jitsu, and all other politics. I kinda felt that the author somehow was the opposite of Eddie Bravo (no disrespect intended, there is a place for all of us). This was funny because Mark says we should get rid of all our Tapout gear and Eddie is usually sporting a Tapout rashguard.

Get the electronic book at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jiu-Jitsu-on-the-Brain-ebook/dp/B006V5AFYE

If you want to read it on your laptop you need to download the free Kindle app.

More of Mark's thoughts in his blog tapordiecompany.com

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