Saturday, February 17, 2007

Book Review - Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu

Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu, by Dave Camarillo with Erich Krauss, published June 2006. Currently $20.67 @

Dave Camarillo is a black belt in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His years of experience in both styles has led to a new hybrid game that has evolved from his personal combination of the superior stand up and takedown techniques of Judo along with the unequaled ground techniques of BJJ. This combination has allowed both himself and his students to dominate both sports at the highest level. He calls this game Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu and attempts to fill a major gap in the BJJ players' game - the stand up. Not to be unbalanced, this book is chocked full of submission combinations and follow-ups for the judoka that stem from superior grips while on the feet. However, while it is my impression that this book is an attempt to bring the attributes of Judo to the BJJ player, there is much to be learned from Camarillo by any judoka or sensei seeking to expand their game. Camarillo breaks down the walls that separate the styles and embraces them both for their attributes. In his prologue he adresses the differences between the two styles and the reader, regardless of their style of choice, is left with an appreciation for the "other" grappling art.
I am primarily a BJJ player at heart. However, within my BJJ game I hit a point where I needed to expand and evolve my game and gain an edge on my competition. So, I turned to Judo to fill in the gaps in my stand-up game. Despite my wrestling experience I found that at the level I was competing at, wrestling and BJJ weren't enough for me. I have been training at a Judo dojo and competing in Judo tournaments (shiais) for about 5 months now. I bought Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu about 1 month after I started training Judo and it has helped me understand how to take what I learn in the Judo dojo and apply to BJJ competitions. There are many throwing techniques in Judo that do not translate to the BJJ game. But Camarillo shows both judokas and BJJ players how to translate many throws into a game that is not over once your opponents back hits the mat.
Camarillo's book is broken up in to 3 sections folowing the prologue:
1. Incorporating Judo and Jiu-Jitsu
2. From Throws to Submissions
3. Flying Attacks
And it is in the last section, Flying Attacks, that some of the "Fundamentalists" may feel is a waste of paper. At first when I read this section I was miffed. I am well aware that both BJJ and Judo have flying attacks incorporated into their respective competitive styles. But, as a person who's style is more based in accordance with the laws of gravity I found this section to be too flashy and Hollywood based for my taste. Not that I am opposed to flying attacks in my competitions should they present themselves. But, as a fundamentalist - in order to "believe" in a flashy move (which flying attacks are) you have to hit me with them to make me see the light. Why am I not a believer? Even though I've seen them on many a highlight reel, they have never happened to me - even in practice. These techniques are so uncommon that most people will disregard them as Bruce Lee type, $100 moves (moves you pay $100 for in a seminar or private lesson - like a secret recipe) or dream moves (moves that you can only hit in your dreams). But then, I looked at it again. Camarillo is KNOWN for his flying attacks. This guy practically brought flying attacks into the Judo game. Of course, he wasn't the first guy to do it, but his relentless pursuit of the flying attack forced it into the mainstream like a commercial for McDonald's. Even if you don't do flying attacks yourself - this chapter from Dave heeds you to pay attention, because now you better be able to defend them. In my retrospective review of the Flying Attack chapter, I gained great insight into Camarillo's game. He was showing me an aspect of his game that made him famous, and which he has proven time and time again is effective in competition regardless of what the fundamentalists may think.
This is a must read book for both BJJ and Judo players. For BJJ players at Blue Belt and above, you will need this someday, if not now. So get a leg up on your competition and start implementing Camarillo's teachings as soon as you can. Also, enroll at a Judo dojo or club (P.S. most local Judo tournies only cost $25 or so.) For the judokas, regardless of belt, Camarillo's book will take your standup game into a seamless transition to the mat. It will show you ways to find the sub instead of the pin and it will prepare you for the wave of BJJ guys that will be coming to your tournaments in the near future. Which will make both of the styles better in the long run.
Check out some video clips of Dave and his brother Dan Camarillo (also a double black belt, BJJ & Judo) at On The Mat ( here. Also, check out Dave's academy website here. and his MySpace page here.

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