Kevin Howell

Book Knowledge translated to Mat Knowledge

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My efforts to record what I practice from books has borne fruit. I was able to tap 2 people (albeit new guys) today using new techniques. I have been working on the Closed Guard Overwrap and Overwrap to Back techniques from “Jiu-Jitsu University.” Today I was able to use both with a little variation during rolling.

While rolling with the first guy I was able to pull him into me while he was in my guard. I then realized that I could throw my left hand over his right shoulder and snake my right hand through his left armpit. I clamped them together (Overwrap) and then tried to use my right shoulder to bump his arm up so I could get my head out (Overwrap to Back). After I was able to get my head out I realized that I had a opportunity for a head and arm choke. I dropped my plans of hipping out and trying to take the back and instead locked in the choke from guard. 

Oh man it was locked on tight. I didn’t have to squeeze hard at all and I have never felt that much power in a choke. I could have written it off to chance but I was able to do the same thing to the second guy I rolled with. He tried to struggle a little after I locked it in but a little squeeze made him tap too.

I only performed 30 reps each of both of those techniques and am glad that I was able to use it so soon. I guess the position I ended up in while transitioning from one technique to the next provided the extra torque in the submissions.

As far as the drill portion of class, we worked on guard defense. It was a really good session as we worked on a sweep, shrimping out, a block to an attempt to throw the leg over the shoulder, etc. 

*The techniques I referred to are on pages 103-105 in the Purple belt section of “Jiu-Jitsu University.” 

Jiu-Jitsu University – ‘The Book of Tweaks’

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission WrestlersTapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more

I have had the book Jiu-Jitsu University by Saulo Ribeiro, and let’s not forget Kevin Howell, for a few weeks now. It has created quite a buzz for some of my fellow bloggers.

I have been silently implementing the advice in the book each class since I had the book, with great success. Here is why I think the book is so fascinating. The book doesn’t necessarily teach you anything new about BJJ. But it will DEFINITELY help you fill in any gaps and holes in your game. Further, the advice offered has been tested in the highest levels of competition so it is also trustworthy. I don’t know if this was intentional or it is just the way that Saulo Ribeiro instructs.

Reading this book is like taking the equivalent of a private session each time I go through a technique. Ribeiro and Howell emphasize the importance of an extra tight defense until you are able to counter, knowing that your defense is working if your opponent starts to muscle you and/or the higher belts have to dig deeper in their quest to submit you through your defensive efforts.

From the first day I started to integrate the advice from the book into my game I received compliments from rolling partners and the inner satisfaction from knowing that I thwarted someone’s plans. I’ve been told that I have good neck defense, I’ve seen my rolling partners have no options available to them from a dominant position and they had to totally change direction. It has also prevented me from being tapped out by a person who usually taps me every time we grapple (not my instructor).

I have a feeling that this is going to be a book that is going to raise the grappling skills of the entire BJJ community and implement a sea change similar to Eddie Bravo’s approach to grappling. However, it won’t be with flashy moves, but through the promotion of air-tight basics on which all Jiu-jitsu is based. The philosophical underpinnings which form the basis of this book also will give the reader tremendous insight. This book has demonstrated to me that you can know many or even all of the moves, but knowing how to do them correctly is the ultimate goal.