There are more and more blogs on Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I try not to read too many of them, because for me BJJ is something you learn with the body, not with the head.
Slidey’s Training Log – this was the first blog I found, by Googling the name of my instructor, Luciano Cristovam. Slideyfoot also trains with the Roger Gracie Academy, though at the Academy rather than at the Budokwai. It’s a detailed blog and when you’re beginning it helps to give a feel for what classes will be like, but I found that following Slidey’s detailed descriptions of the moves he was learning was confusing my fragile memories of what I’d just been learning myself, so I stopped.
The Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood – this is a new blog (April 2007) by Nicolas Gregoriades, a brown belt who also instructs at the Academy. His teaching style is more analytical than Luciano’s and his posts are interesting because they are reflective and consider the sport as a whole rather than covering specific techniques. In fact, they get a bit cosmic sometimes… Nick hasn’t posted since the beginning of June, but I hope this is a temporary glitch because his posts are well worth reading, and he responds to comments as well.
B Stuff et cetera is the rather clever title of a blog dedicated to BJJ, snowboarding, and business school. The author, “a confused and hungry mid-20’s New Yorker” with far too much energy, seems to be writing mostly about BJJ at the moment. His descriptions of classes are interesting enough (if we’re to believe his numbering, he’s just done his 86th class) but the sheer stroke of genius is the way he’s invented for describing BJJ moves.
He uses two models, Boarder and Nogi, and takes photographs to illustrate each step of the move. It is unethical to link directly to someone else’s pictures, but really it’s essential in this case, so with apologies, here’s a typical picture:
which shows Boarder about to do an armbar on Nogi (from “Standing outside Open Guard to Arm Bar“).
This is genius, because you can see the move so clearly: a lot better than doing it all in words, and actually rather better than doing it with photographs of real people because it’s a lot clearer. The link from eyes to body memory is direct: you remember seeing things like this on the mat and as you look at the pictures, your body instinctively tries putting itself in the positions.
He says he’s “trying to find the time to figure out what I want to do when I grow up”. Well, I can tell him one thing he can do while he’s working it out: take the whole snowboard instructor series, make it comprehensive, and make a book out of it. Not a tutorial, just illustrations of the main moves with a brief commentary in the captions. The aim is not to replace real BJJ sessions but to act as a reminder between classes: especially important when you’re beginning, but always useful. Everyone would buy it.
It’s Not Ballet – a bit sporadic in posting, the content doesn’t focus on the specifics of moves (just as well, given what I’ve said about thinking with the head instead of the body) but more on BJJ in general, and on general fitness training. I keep it on my Sage toolbar and I read it every time a new post appears.
The Daily Jits isn’t daily at all but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Articles he’s read, videos he’s watched, interesting new approaches in his BJJ class. He’s a white belt, which is encouraging for us other white belts (he started training in April 2006, a little less than a year ahead of me). His subtitle is “Follow me along on my journey from white belt to blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu”. A more eclectic approach than the first blogs I mentioned but definitely worth keeping an eye on.
All in all, though, you don’t learn BJJ by reading, you learn it by doing. That’s partly why I do it. So: don’t read, roll!