Last week I was cruising the internet, watching youtube and reading some blogs that I follow and I came across the Blackbelt Blueprint by Nic Gregoriades from the Jiujitsu brotherhood.
I have heard Nic being talked about amongst the BJJ guys I train with so I had a fair idea about who he is and what he is about. I clicked through to his books webpage and read through what the Blackbelt Blueprint is all about – and it is pretty much a book that contains Nic’s concepts and insights into learning the sport of BJJ and how he went from a white belt to black belt in only 4 years. I had a brief chat with a guy I know who used to train with Nic back when Nic was a purple belt and apparently he was awesome back then – now at black belt he must be unstoppable.
As a Judo coach I am always teaching and communicating concepts to my athletes and I grabbed this book because I wanted to see how Nic communicated his principles in BJJ terms and in slightly different words…..and he does a great job.
First off this book is unlike any BJJ book you have seen in the past – firstly it is not an instructional book. He doesn’t teach you any armbars from guard, takedown techniques on any sweeps or reversals – instead Nic goes into the concepts behind why we do these things –
“The why behind the what”
And this is so so so important for learning. We need to not know why or when to do something – but we need to UNDERSTAND when and why to do something.
For example he talks about learning how to string things together opposed to getting a random assortment of techniques and have an incomplete, unstructured technical game plan. He discusses the importance of drilling combinations (he calls them flows) as this is the best way to develop a winning game plan. Flows or combinations are the best way to develop and to out manoeuvre and outsmart your opponent. We tend to think that a boxer who only goes for the knockout punch and doesnt throw combinations is an amateur boxer but how many grapplers only go for the submission and lose position and sweeps left, right and centre. The best boxers, judo players, wrestlers and BJJ practitioners play and implement using combinations or flows.
Another aspect I love about this book is the actual pictures themselves. Nic (or his designer) have decided that instead of having your normal unedited BJJ or Judo style pics that you see in 100% of the books out on the market – the pictures in this have been edited using an ‘inverse’ or ‘inverted’ style which looks amazing. Ill add a screen shot below so you can see what I am talking about.
Like I was saying before – Nic doesn’t give us techniques to follow but more concepts to live and learn by. For example when discussing back, side control or mount he points out what both the attack and defender need to do in order to make the most out to the position. For example in north/south control (like the pic above) Nic points out important features of the position such as ‘keep your hips low’ or control the head. He also goes on to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the position as well as tips for both the attacker and then defender. By doing this Nic is trying to get his readers to remember concepts not techniques.
How often does someone pass and get stuck in your half guard and you say to yourself “ok, I need the far side underhook and I need to make sure that they don’t control my head or flatten me out??””
These are concepts…..not techniques and it is these concepts that help you get better and it is through these concepts you are able to implement your techniques.
Another aspect of the book which I love is the fact that Nic gets into other aspects of BJJ such as diet, competition, breathing and awareness while on the mat. I really loved how he touched on the breathing aspect as so many people do not control their breathing and get way way way too tired to quickly and cannot roll well – once again this is not a technique but a concept that you can implement to better your game.
Other aspects included in this 174 page book are things such as:
- Head control and movement:
- breath control,
- controlling angles,
- the importance of repetition for learning
- practice with and without your hands
- blind training (eyes closed)
- how to avoid injuries
- training overseas
- warm ups and cool down
- and more..
The blackbelt blueprint is a quick reference guide to the concepts and ideas Nic used to help him become a top level BJJ practitioner through understanding principles and concepts to implement your game. I recommend this book for anybody looking at gaining a better understanding of the ground game and to learn concepts (not techniques) that will help you implement your game more effectively.
All in al this is a great book. Nic has definitely opened my eyes to how he approaches BJJ and although I am very familiar with teaching principles and ideas to athletes of all levels he has challenged me to re-think some of my approaches.
This book is perfect for any beginner, intermediate or advanced grappler because i believe that we will each get something new out of it.
This book is very similar to my Beginners Guide to Judo eBook that I wrote a few years ago. So I have decided to give it away FREE of charge to anyone who purchases the Blackbelt Blueprint through THIS LINK:
All you need to do is go to THIS LINK and purchase your copy and then send your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a free copy of The beginners guide to Judo free of charge.