Best Books on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – From Beginners to Experts

If you’re looking to up your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newcomer to the sport, adding some books to your training regimen can be an excellent way to develop your technical and strategic understanding of this combat sport. With so many books on the market, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten books on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that are sure to improve your skills, and suit all levels of expertise.

Best Books on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - From Beginners to Experts

Understanding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: A Brief Overview

Before we dive into the recommendations, let’s begin with a brief overview of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). This martial art focuses on grappling and ground fighting techniques with the objective of forcing the opponent into submission. BJJ has gained popularity worldwide, and it’s now a significant component of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting and self-defense training. However, BJJ is known to have a steep learning curve, and acquiring a high level of proficiency requires a considerable amount of dedication and practice.

The History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ traces its roots to Japan, where it was developed in the early 20th century. The art was originally known as “Kano Jiu-Jitsu,” named after its founder, Jigoro Kano. Kano Jiu-Jitsu was designed to be an effective system of self-defense that could be used by anyone, regardless of their size or strength.

After practicing and refining his skills, Mitsuyo Maeda, one of the art’s earliest proponents, emigrated to Brazil in 1915. It was in Brazil that he taught the Gracie family his techniques, which became the foundation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Today, the Gracie family is regarded as one of the most influential BJJ practitioners worldwide. Their contributions to the sport are visible in the form of several training centers, tournaments, and publications aimed at promoting the sport.

The Basic Principles and Techniques

BJJ is based on the principles of leverage, technique, and timing, rather than brute strength. Hence, it’s often described as the “gentle art.” The beauty of BJJ lies in how it empowers even the smallest of fighters to use mechanics and leverage to overcome larger and stronger opponents.

Among the techniques at the heart of BJJ are positional control, chokes, joint locks, and sweeps. These techniques can be used to immobilize an opponent, gain a dominant position, and ultimately force a submission. BJJ practitioners are trained to think strategically, anticipating their opponent’s next move and countering it with an appropriate technique.

The Belt System and Ranking

BJJ employs a belt system to rank its fighters, with the highest rank being the red belt. Beginners often begin their journey with a white belt and progress through several different colored belts before reaching the coveted black belt.

Along the way, students are required to demonstrate an understanding of techniques and concepts appropriate to their rank. For example, a blue belt will be proficient in more advanced, submissions-based techniques relative to a white belt. The belt system serves as a tangible measure of progress and achievement, providing motivation for students to continue their training and strive for excellence.

In conclusion, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a fascinating martial art that requires dedication, discipline, and hard work to master. Whether you’re interested in self-defense, competition, or simply improving your fitness, BJJ offers a challenging and rewarding journey that is sure to leave you feeling empowered and confident.

Top 5 Books for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Beginners

If you’re a beginner looking to build your foundation in BJJ, the following books are an excellent place to start:

The Gracie Way: An Illustrated History of the World’s Greatest Martial Arts Family by Kid Peligro and Rodrigo Medeiros

The Gracie Way: An Illustrated History of the World's Greatest Martial Arts Family (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)

This book is a comprehensive guide on the sport’s fundamentals and covers everything from basic movements to fundamental techniques. It’s easy to read, and fantastic for beginners because it comes with plenty of pictures and step-by-step guidance. The authors, both renowned BJJ practitioners, provide valuable insights into the history and evolution of BJJ, making it a great read for anyone interested in the sport.

You can find this book here.

Mastering the 21 Immutable Principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Ultimate Handbook for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Students by Paulo Guillobel

Mastering The 21 Immutable Principles Of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Ultimate Handbook for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Students

This book is perfect if you’re looking for practical guidance on how to start training in BJJ. It covers everything from choosing the right training partner to proper warm-up techniques and safety tips. It also contains valuable advice on how to succeed throughout your journey in the sport. The author, Paulo Guillobel, is a black belt under Royler Gracie and has over 30 years of experience in BJJ.

You can find this book here.

The Ultimate Guide to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by Alexandre Paiva

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Ultimate Guide to Dominating Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Combat

This book covers all the physiological aspects of BJJ such as breathing, mobility, nutrition, and injury prevention. It’s a great read if you want to take your training to the next level and keep your body healthy and fit while doing so. The author, Alexandre Paiva, is a black belt under the legendary Carlson Gracie and has extensive experience competing and teaching BJJ.

You can find this book here.

Jiu-Jitsu University by Saulo Ribeiro

Jiu-Jitsu University

If you’re looking to understand the underlying concepts and principles of BJJ, this is the book to read. It delves deep into the sport’s history, theory, and philosophy and provides a comprehensive foundation for beginners. The author, Saulo Ribeiro, is a multiple-time world champion and one of the most respected and accomplished BJJ practitioners in the world.

You can find this book here.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Basics by Gene Simco

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Basics: Mastering the Essential Techniques

This book is perfect for beginners as it covers basic techniques such as grip fighting, movement, and distance management. The author provides clear explanations, accompanied by illustrations to help you grasp the fundamentals of the sport. Gene Simco is a black belt under Royce Gracie and has over 20 years of experience in BJJ.

Reading these books will give you a solid foundation in BJJ and help you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to progress in the sport. Remember, BJJ is a journey, and these books are just the beginning. Keep training, keep learning, and enjoy the ride!

You can find this book here.

Top 5 Books for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Experts

If you’re already an experienced BJJ practitioner looking to take your game to the next level, the following books are highly recommended:

Advanced Techniques for the Experienced BJJ Practitioner

If you’re looking for a book that covers advanced techniques such as takedowns, submissions, and striking, this is the book for you. It’s perfect for the more experienced BJJ practitioner who is looking to take their game to the next level. In addition to the advanced techniques, the book also includes drills and strategies for developing speed, agility, and stamina. With this book, you’ll be able to take your BJJ game to new heights.

Developing a Winning Mindset

If you’re looking to improve your mental game, this book provides excellent insight into developing a winning mindset. It covers essential topics such as visualization, setting goals, and strategies for overcoming fatigue and stress during competitions. The mental aspect of BJJ is just as important as the physical aspect, and this book will help you develop the mental toughness you need to succeed.

Techniques and Strategies for Tournament Play

For the competitor looking to up their game, this book covers techniques and strategies specific to tournament play. It includes advice on tournament planning, conditioning, weight cutting, and training for different rule sets. Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or just starting out, this book will give you the tools you need to succeed in BJJ tournaments.

Gaining a Competitive Edge

This book is considered essential reading for intermediate and advanced practitioners. It covers concepts such as timing, distance management, and the role of psychology in BJJ, to help you gain a competitive edge. With this book, you’ll learn how to outsmart your opponents and come out on top.

The History, Philosophy, and Culture of BJJ

This book delves into the history, philosophy, and culture of BJJ. It’s an excellent read if you’re looking to strengthen your connection to the sport or gain a better understanding of the roots of BJJ. You’ll learn about the history of BJJ in Brazil, the Gracie family, and the evolution of the sport over time. This book is perfect for anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge of BJJ beyond just the physical techniques.

There you have it – our guide to the ten best books on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, these books are sure to enhance your skills and deepen your knowledge of the sport. Remember, BJJ is a journey, and the best way to improve is through consistent training and dedication. Happy reading and happy training!


What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art, centered around self-defense. It revolves around a lot of fighting, kicking, holds, and combinations.

What are the best books on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Jiu-Jitsu University by Kevin Howell, Zen Jiu Jitsu by Oliver Staark, The Black Belt Blueprint by Nicolas Gregoriades, and Drill to Win by André Galvão are all good books to help with technique.

Who are the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitors?

Rickson Gracie, Cássio Cardoso, Joao Myiao, Guilherme Mendes, and José Tiago Barros are among the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitors of all time.

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