People who not only practice but are serious and deep into Jiu Jitsu will agree that it is not just a sport or martial art like it originally begun, but it turned into a whole lifestyle, where not only you worry about your technique advancement and improvement, but the details that BJJ adds to your life.
As such, when it comes to it´s practice, not only the grind and repetition are required to become better, but increasing your knowledge and understanding of how techniques work, how the body and mind behaves, and everything that leads into those minutes on the mat with your training partners or opponents.
This guide will show a few good Jiu Jitsu Books that are worth the read for those who may want to boost their growth in the art from the academic standpoint, in order to apply what they learn into the mats.
Books in Jiu Jitsu take two main approaches, first is the Technical approach where the vast mayority of the pages focus on teaching you how to approach technique and execution; the second is the Mindset and Growth approach, where the focus goes towards personal insight and philosophy of training.
To make it simple, we will show you 9 picks for each approach, explaining a little bit about what to expect in each of these books and why they can be a great addition to your home library.
After reading through our top picks, take your time to check the FAQ by the end of the article to get a little more tips on what to be on the lookout if you want to add more options to your home library.
Best BJJ Books
Saulo Ribeiro’s JiuJitsu University is perhaps the best-selling Brazilian jiu jitsu book of all time. To this day, it stands as one of the most useful jiu jitsu books in print.
Ribeiro takes a unique approach by organizing the chapters by belt rank, instead of technique. From “white belt survival” to black belt, he structures the techniques he covers based on the principles he believes each belt should master.
Saulo covers basic, fundamental jiu jitsu that will never go out of style. The techniques and concepts he shares are battle tested by the world champion himself.
The focus of this book is the gi, but the principles remain the same for no-gi training.
- Gracie, Renzo & Danaher, John (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 252 Pages – 05/22/2003 (Publication Date) – Human Kinetics (Publisher)
Renzo Gracie is one of the most accomplished BJJ and MMA fighters of all time. In Mastering JuJitsu Renzo teams up with John Danaher to produce this seminal jiujitsu book.
This one one of the first books to tackle the history of jiujitsu instead of just listing out techniques..
Mastering JuJitsu is superb as both a book about the theory and practice of Brazilian jiu jitsu.
The book explores the general frameworks of each position and gives you a way to think about how several techniques work in those contexts. It also covers BJJ from a mixed martial arts (MMA) point of view.
- Brandon Mullins & Stephan Kesting (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 275 Pages – 07/12/2020 (Publication Date) – Independently published (Publisher)
Stephan Kesting spent over 6 years developing this book with his co-author Brandon Mullins.
This book has received rave reviews and can take its rightful place in the canon of jiu jitsu instructional books.
In Non Stop Jiujitsu, Kesting set out to examine every aspect of modern jiu jitsu. This is an encyclopedia of jiu jitsu knowledge that deserves to be on every practitioner’s shelf.
White belts and advanced belts will approach the level of detail and usefulness that Stephan has crammed into each page.
- Bravo, Eddie (Author)
- 208 Pages, Published September 1st 2005 by McGraw-Hill Education
In the introduction to this book, Eddie Bravo tells his personal jiu-jitsu story, from high school wrestling up to his defeat of Royler Gracie in ADCC and on to his creation of the 10th Planet Jiu-jitsu school.
As a self-described “150 pound weakling”, his story is inspiring. And he makes a very, very strong case for training without the gi, his argument being that avoidance of gi training is responsible for his meteoric rise in the ranks of the submission grappling world.
This book however, isn’t really geared toward the beginner. Eddie doesn’t go over the basics of jiu-jitsu. Rather, he assumes you know the basics and are looking to add something new to your game.
This book written by Renzo Gracie, Royler Gracie, Kid Peligro and John Danaher is a great way to improve on your technique when you’re not learning in class.
The pictures are detailed and clear and the written instruction is easy to understand.
The book also contains the history of BJJ that is garnished with many pictures. I would recommend this guide to anyone taking Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Marcelo Garcia, winner of five Brazilian jiu-jitsu world championships and a man many feel is the best pound-for-pound submission grappler of all time, unveils the secrets behind one of the most effective guard systems, the X-Guard.
Unlike most jiu-jitsu instructional books, Garcia leaves no stone unturned. Not only does he show how to sweep an opponent using the X-Guard from nearly every control position, but he shows how to do it both with a gi and without.
This book by Andre Galvao covers so many topics from strength, stretching, balance, and basic dieting.
It will be a good help to any one at any level of Jiu Jitsu. From the basics to more advanced drills it goes month to month, week to week. Andre Galvao provides drills from every position.
Andre does a great job of demonstrating each drill in a great way for anyone to understand.
This book written by Greg Jackson (Coach and Co-owner of Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico) is divided into six sections based on position: full guard, guard variations, side mount, head control, rear mount and full mount.
Each section details submissions, strikes, sweeps, transitions, escapes and passes.
Like any good instructional, the theorizing is kept to a minimum, with full-color photographs featured prominently along with step-by-step directions and the occasional helpful technical note.
In a clear and easy-to-follow format, Helio Gracie addresses different aspects of the Brazilian-jujutsu method that bears his name.
From the first page to the last, you’ll get a simple break down of how to systematically progress and technically improve your mat game regardless of your background or grappling ability.
Helio left this world at the age of 95, but he was still training and teaching in those years, and he has left an enduring worldwide legacy.
Mindset and Growth Approach
After a training partner commits suicide, Christian Graugart feels obliged to do something with his life. Starting his own gym, dedicating almost all his time to the art of BJJ, alters everything, including the way he sees himself.
The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Globetrotter is not only a story about traveling and training in martial arts. It’s about all the things that can happen to you if you choose to truly stay alive until you actually die.
Equal parts travelogue and Graugart’s personal life philosophy, you can follow his journey around the world spreading the art of jiu-jitsu.
This book by Chris Matakas seeks to codify the mechanisms by which Jiu Jitsu shapes the individual, as the character traits required to achieve mastery in sport are the same which our highest humanity requires.
The focus of this book is that the articulation of these benefits will ensure the reader’s continued practice of self-mastery through the practice of BJJ
Sam Sheridan writes an excellent view from inside the gyms and camps of top level trainers in Thailand and Brazil. A fascinating glimpse into the philosophies of some of the personalities.
This book doesn´t only focus on BJJ, as the author decides to test multiple martial arts during his journey.
In this book, Black belt Roy Dean retraces the trials and tribulations he faced in learning the sophisticated art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
From early competition experiences in Southern California, to running a world class academy and sharing that journey online, the lessons he learned are the lessons he is sharing in this novel.
Over several years, author Paul Kindzia has observed, studied, and recorded the principles used for success by Jiu-Jitsu practitioners at the highest level.
What he observed is that those same principles are applicable in other important areas of life.
Mastering these proven Jiu-Jitsu principles will make you more successful in life and mastering these proven life principles will make you more successful in Jiu-Jitsu.
John Danaher has risen to be recognized as one of the foremost minds in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and competitive grappling. More than just a coach, Danaher has garnered a reputation as a philosopher of the art.
Danaher is able to take the complex and often contradictory rules of jiu-jitsu and break them down into universal concepts.
And it’s not just talk: Danaher’s student’s are a who’s-who of combat sports. From MMA champions like George St. Pierre, to Grappling phenoms like Gary Tonon and Gordon Ryan.
This book assembled John Danaher’s most timeless and thought provoking writings, over one hundred passages in short segments.
Once again Chris Matakas boils down an ocean of experience, feeling, wisdom, and council in this little book.
His approach and progress toward mastery in Jiu Jitsu itself and in humanity is well is perfectly reflected in the efficient nature of this presentation.
Not a page is wasted. Anyone could enjoy and appreciate this read but practitioners of jiu jitsu will connect to it deeply, particularly those who have thoughtfully evaluated its rightful place and purpose in their life.
In this book, the Renzo Gracie Black Belt, Karel “Silver Fox” Pravec wants to share his insights as a 23+ year practitioner of, and competitor in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
In this book, he provides concepts, transitions, and drilling sequences that are geared towards practicing the combat art in a way that allows us to exhibit greater levels of mastery and ability as we age.
In this book Rickson Gracie shares the full story of how his father and uncles came to develop Jiu-Jitsu, what it was like to grow up among several generations of world-renowned fighters from the Gracie clan, and the principles and skills that guided him to his undefeated record.
From learning to assert himself on the streets of Rio to gaining fame and honor in Japan and emerging through heartbreaking tragedy, the martial arts master shares tales of overcoming challenges, extolling universal virtues and showing readers how pride and ego are the enemies of success.
BJJ Books FAQs
Why should I be looking into a BJJ Book?
Reading a Book in the topic of BJJ is a different way to take a deep dive into what the art is about, instead of investing everything into mat time.
It is a great option to learn in a passive way, keeping your mind focused on the different details that make the art what it really is, and well, it is also a great way to keep your head focused into BJJ when you are unable to hit the mats, either from traveling or lack of time to hit the Gym.
Should I focus on the Author of the book?
Focusing on who wrote the book you are going to read can be a good marker on the quality of the technical approach you are going to get.
When it comes to instructionals, you may want to find the ones written by top level athletes and competitors, however, there is also a good thing to giving the benefit of the doubt to an author you know nothing about, because a different perspective to look at the art from should always be well received.
Would any book be a good option?
As much as I´d personally like to say “Yes”, that depends on the approach you want to look into.
Some books focus on motivation or phylosophy of the art, which is great if you are looking into everything around BJJ practice, however, some readers would rather just get an instructional book.
Make sure to find a book that suits the style that you want to read.
You should by now have a few great options in case you are willing to expand your view into the art of Jiu Jitsu by adding a few books to your library.
Keep your eyes open, there are a bunch of other gems in the BJJ book world waiting for you to find and read them, so keep those reading glasses at hand for whenever one of these comes your way.
If your favourite BJJ Book wasn´t mentioned, leave it´s name in a comment below in order for us and others to see your recommendations!