I just got BJ Penn’s massive tome. Man this thing is huge. In his intro, he encourages readers not to stop with the material he’s presented but to experiment beyond it. Huh? There is so much stuff I have no idea when I’ll understand 10% of it. I like how he encourages experimentation though. He says there are endless ways to blend striking and grappling aspects and success is based on how well you can blend these techniques and to keep experimenting. Victory Belt Publishing seems very impressive. As much as I like Penn, I can’t wait to get Fedor’s book and compare and contrast their approaches. More stuff I can probably never learn. Oh well. Doesn’t matter.
So far I am just reading Penn’s intro. One thing he mentioned was the fight against Machida. He seems to have a lot of respect for Machida and said Machida hits incredibly hard. When I watched that fight, though, which Machida won via unanimous decision, I thought BJ did better than the decision would indicate. He also mentions Machida weighed 235, but he thinks he could win next time. Whew. That would be an awesome rematch to see happen. Of course Penn is already moving up in weight to fight GSP and who knows if he can pull that off first.
Update: Penn talks about showing no kicks in his standup section because for the most part they don’t fit his strategy and main base in jiu-jitsu. He says his preferred style is mainly to punch as a transition to a takedown to focus on his jiu-jitsu strength. Now I’m trying to remember if I’ve seen him kick. I want to learn some kicking but in general I personally like his style though jiu-jitsu is not my favorite area. Some of the areas I skipped to that I want to try. He has a takedown defense section that has a move like rollback to push from a taiji perspective. He then shows it transitioning immediately to knees. There seem like endless possibilities here, especially if one stayed connected to keep superior positioning. He also has a sit-up guard where he is controlling his opponent’s head to stand up. In the picture sequence he backs all the way out to boxing range even though as he transitions he’d be in a dominant clinch position. He does another guard type he calls “damn good guard” with one leg on top of his opponent breaking his opponent’s posture by pulling down and the other knee inside controlling his opponent’s shoulder to avoid getting punched. His left arm traps his opponent’s right arm. This is a guard I want to try as soon as I get a chance. His book is filled with photos of lots of sequences that give a lot of ideas. I’m really impressed with this book so far, but this is the only book on mma I have so I have no idea if it’s much better than others, just average, or what. Also, I’m just a beginner so some of this material may be basic for a lot of experienced folks and I really don’t know. Reviews on Amazon seem to indicate a lot of people like it better than most. I also like how Penn gives his particular perspective and says these are the things that work most for him but the reader might have different strengths and preferences.