Wednesday, July 16, 2008

'Judo for Mixed Martial Arts' - Karo Parisyan

I’m starting to sound a bit like a broken record with Victory Belt’s great books. VB certainly has a niche in the area of martial arts publishing. They are the kings of taking an accomplished fighter, assessing their game and translating it to the printed page. Their work has been stronger and stronger with each successive book.

The latest book is ‘Judo for the Mixed Martial Arts’ and is written by Karo Parisyan with the assistance of the usual suspects – Erich Krauss and Glen Cordoza. It covers (as you would expect) Karo’s adaptation of the art for the Mixed Martial Arts arena.

The first thing that struck me as I opened the cover was the colour. The cover is a bright flame tone, representing ‘The Heat’ – Karo Parisyan. It’s 284 pages, most of which have half a dozen photos.

After the obligatory introduction, where Karo tells the story of his development and his life in MMA, the book gets split into four parts. The first part is called ‘Control Positions & Transitions’. This section briefly describes some ties for use during the standing grappling game. This part doesn’t seem particularly unique, but it is solid information and also describes the method Karo uses to get into his standing Kimura control, which I have wanted to learn for a long time.

The next part is about striking and covers information on using and avoiding strikes to establish the clinch, as well as setting up takedowns from strikes and striking from the clinch. There is a little of overlap here if you have the Randy Couture book, but there is some pretty unique information here, too.

The real meat and potatoes of the book come in the next section – ‘Throwing Techniques’. This is where the book presents the majority of its unique information. Karo covers numerous throws and combinations and how to adjust your gripping strategy to reflect striking and fighting without the gi. The highlight of this section for me was the unusual grip for Harai Goshi. It promises to make one of my favourite techniques in the gi achievable without it. I’ll be practicing that one.

The ‘Grappling Techniques’ section covers a large amount of subject matter with sub-sections on all the control positions, some leg-lock talk, a substantial chapter on the guard and finishes with a section on ground ‘n pound. There will be a lot of sequences you’ve seen here before, but Karo’s take is slightly different to the usual Jiu Jitsu-based fare. Those familiar with Judo will be comfortable with Karo’s methodology and will get a great deal from it.

So, all-in-all another great resource for the mixed martial artist and another resounding success for Victory Belt Publishing? Yes.

And no.

This is a great book. It breaks Karo’s game down and translates I well, but it just doesn’t quite stand up to the standard of their previous books – especially the recent Marcelo Garcia one.

The introduction didn’t engage me as much as previous books, but it’s really the photography that I will criticize. Especially when viewed against the fantastic positives from the Garcia book. There are a lot of photos here and they convey the message effectively enough. However, I think there are maybe too many and the page (and information) can seem cluttered. I also believe there needs to be a little more thought put into the staging and dress of the participants. Previous books have been better in terms of separation of the models, especially in the gi section of Garcia’s book.

With all that said, I have to admit, I’ve been spoilt. If you had shown me this book two years ago I could think of maybe two or three books of a higher standard. Now, I’d say there are about a dozen – and most of those are Victory Belt books.

If you’re interested in new and interesting ways to work from the clinch and put your opponent on the ground, this is a great resource. For Judoka making the transition to MMA, I’ll go one further – this is mandatory reading.

Judo for MMA at

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