Andre Galvao's Drill to Win
Review by Lockflow contributor Don Bluedorn.
We’ve been doing a lot of drills in BJJ class lately, seamlessly moving from the warm-up into a series of line and partner drills. I’ve notice a real improvement in my core strength, my cardio, and my basic muscle memory. Some of the drills are well known and would be familiar to anyone who’s spent much time around BJJ. A number of them are new to me, however, and are taken from Andre Galvao’s excellent new book, Drill to Win.
Galvao is a multiple Pan American and Mundials champion, and his book reflects his wealth of training experience. The book basically is organized as a 12-month training schedule, with solo and partner drills to be followed over the course of each week. Some of this organization will be familiar to readers of Gracie Magazine, which uses a similar format to highlight training suggestions from interviewees. Drill to Win takes this basic approach a step further by presenting a 12-month program designed to take the student from concepts such as conditioning and balance, through basic techniques (including takedowns), into more advanced territory such as Spider Guard and combinations.
I admit that I’m intrigued by the 12-month program, and I wonder about its effect on someone diligent enough to follow it from start to finish. However, I don’t think that it would fit well with my training program (and those of many others) and I tend to view it as an organizational concept that the authors employed to systematically present their material.
I think that the real (and considerable) strength of Drill to Win is the wide range of drills presented. There are drills for almost every imaginable concept and scenario. By my count, there are detailed descriptions of almost 250 different drills, accompanied by preliminary commentary and Frequently Asked Questions. The time series photos are outstanding, and the text is crisp and clear. Readers should have no problem understanding how to correctly perform the drills and what areas they are intended to address, and there is a wide ranging menu of drills from which to select.
I think that Drill to Win starts to fill a large gap in the existing BJJ literature, and I commend the authors for doing so. We are blessed with a wide array of excellent “how to” BJJ technique manuals, largely filling the vacuum that existed only 15 years ago. In my experience, though, Drill to Win is one of the first BJJ books that assumes a basic level of proficiency, and is designed to help the intermediate or advanced BJJ practitioner take their game to the next level. I hope that Drill to Win enjoys the commercial success that it so richly deserves, and that it in turn sparks other authors to pursue similar projects.