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Apr 2, 2013

Book Review: Zen Jiu Jitsu by Oliver Staark

I was contacted by the author, Oliver, to do a review for his book Zen Jiu Jitsu. As always, I was excited. I love books. This book was a little bit different because it's not a technical submission help book. It's more of a 30 day plan your success book. It sounds gimmicky right? Well it helps you set up your plan of attack to improve your game. I was surprised that I enjoyed reading the book as much as I did. Also, be sure to check out the interview I did with Oliver Staark!

Quick Review: The book is an easy read. It keeps you entertained while providing the information to help you get your game better. Oliver takes it with a realistic and logical approach. If you want to get better, this book will help you. If you're lost, this book will help you. I've seen the image floating around that it takes 4 weeks for you to notice change in your body. The same could be said for the idea behind this book. 30 days to make your game better, 4 weeks to make you a better Jiu Jitsu player. Are you up for it?

What do you think 12 weeks of drilling guard passing would do for you?

Full Review: This book isn't a technique book. There isn't a trick or a biggest secret on how to get your Jiu Jitsu better. It's a philosophy that any good black belt should agree with. What it does provide a layout on how to improve your Jiu Jitsu. Who doesn't want that? It really was an eye opener for me. I have been doing BJJ for 6 years on and off now. Sometimes it's really hard to focus on where I am in my game. Especially after coming back from a bad injury, it's easy to feel lost. This book just gave me a general direction with very good instruction on how to get my skill up. I followed the book's way of doing things, and it helped. 

The book is easily laid out and very fun to read. The authors voice is easily "heard" and doesn't sound staged. There are some humorous parts to keep you entertained as well. It presents a new perspective for anyone reading. If it doesn't then it's a good reminder. It takes years to "master" this ever changing sport, and some days I know I feel lost, having something like this helps you stay on track. It's like that giant arrow at the top of your screen when you play video games, it's pointing you the right way, and you just gotta find a way to get there.

That red arrow, it points the way! You just gotta follow it.

The philosophy is based off of the immersion technique which is mainly used for learning another language. If any of you have Rosetta Stone, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't know, here's the idea, basically to learn something the most efficient way you need to surround yourself with it. Using languages as an example, if you want to learn French, not that anyone would, but flash cards won't be as effect as dropping yourself into the environment. The longer you are surrounded by it, the faster you will pick up on things. Not only will you pick up on them, you'll also retain them. You can translate this into Jiu Jitsu, which is explained in the book.

The methods in the book can be applied by anyone, which is great. It doesn't matter your rank, age, weight, or anything of the sort. It makes you look at your skills and lets you decide where you want to go and then it helps direct you. If you decide that your mount game needs some polishing, this will help guide you to improving your game 1000%. 

I've spent money on DVD's, books, and webinars. Nothing has opened my eyes more than this book. All the books and DVD's I've bought are great for learning new moves, but you can only learn so much from watching or reading. They usually cram as many techniques in as possible, with mediocre details. That's what makes this book different. When used correctly this book improves the skills you have and helps develop the skills you are lacking.

Overall I can recommend this book to anyone. It doesn't matter if you're a 23 year old purple belt, or a 54 year old white belt this book can help you. It's a quick read too, so depending on how fast you read you can finish the book in a couple hours at most. I read the book a few times myself, just to make sure I took it in correctly. I will say if you don't follow the game plan 100%, you still will see results, just not as much as you would if you stayed on track. If you feel like you're lost, or need a challenge, this book is for you.