Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Guard by Ed Benneville - January, 2006

This review earned me a Spotlight Review position on Amazon. I really like the book.


Picks Up Where Volume 1 Left Off

Having thoroughly read Volume 1: 'Passing the Guard' (and still working on it, daily), I awaited Volume 2 eagerly. Beneville had teamed up with Tim Cartmell for the first book and has done even better here, documenting some of the game of the legendary Joe Moreira.

Moreira is a deserved 7th Degree Black belt and Beneville (also now a black belt) is an articulate and logical author with an eye for detail.

The book uses the same revolutionary format as 'Passing the Guard'. White vs Blue photos, re-illustrated photos to show details and fantstic descriptions of techniques and details. The details is the area that sets this book apart from the others. The detail explanations are better than you see on most video presentations!

The book starts with 'Fundamantals' and details one and two man drills for improving movement skills and makes examples of their applications. Then, it moves immediately into guard pass counters and defenses. This demonstrates techniques and principles to defeat the most common passes. It lines up really well with Volume 1, here, too.

From here, there is a section on basic chokes. Quite basic, in fact. However, I guarantee you'll find details you didn't know, or at least forgot.

From there, it's sweeps. Sweeps get the same basic treatment as chokes, with the little details that will make your game better. Each technique works well together and weaves into a game. The details serve to explain when to attempt the sweeps in terms of mechanics, as well.

Armlocks against stacking is an important, rarely covered topic and it gets its own chapter, here. From this section, I got immediate benefit, as I have long sought to counter this basic defense. As a result, the games of others who roll with me are changing to not rely on stacking as a passing method. An example of ongoing benefit.

My favourite two sections of the book are next. They deal with attacking good posture. The first is on the upright posture and the second on the "stalling" or "control" posture. This is another of those sections with "a-ha" moments for me. These sections detail intricately how to attack those with good base and posture. These sections are worth more than the purchase price, alone.

The next part is on "Flowing Attack" and details a series of techniques meant to work together to become part of your game. Do I need to mention the details demonstrated, here? I guess not. But they are there and that's what separates this from other books.

The next section on neck control is another rarely covered topic. It shows how to manipulate the opponent's position to improve yours - all by controlling the neck. Moreira, for the most part controls the head and neck in various ways before popping out to the back or the quarter position to finish a series of armlocks, crucifixes and chokes.

The backroll is then covered. Usually treated as a last resort to a stacking pass, Moreira and Beneville show how to turn a bad situation into an attacking one by going back over the shoulder and recovering guard, scoring the takedown or attacking with a submission.

Lastly, is "Snake Knees and Standup". In this section, the authors concentrate on coming to the knees or feet in base. Everyone knows this movement (you do know the movement, don't you?), but most will not know the true attacking value of the movement until they read this book. Again, it's one of those techniques usually used as a last-ditch defence.

All-in-all, this is probably the only book that surpasses Volume 1. In fact, it's the only book in the same league. I enjoy the Gracie / Kid Pelligro type books for the information presented and insight they give. However, none come close to the details and presentation of this book, let alone the sheer volume of information.

Beneville should be selling this book for a lot more than its price tag (The amount of work in this book is astounding). And everyone involved in the grappling arts should be purchasing it - regardless of level.

I know there's material for years here for me.

No comments: