Part two of my Xmas gift guide features a pot pourri of BJJ related products that I think would be worthy inclusions on any Xmas list. In most cases I have tried or sampled the product but I've also added stuff that I thought was just interesting though I have not used/tried the product myself.
1. Something to read:
Top of the list for something BJJ to read would be Christian Graugart's BJJ Globetrotter book. I've just finished reading my copy (bought from Amazon) and it's a very entertaining and informative journey of the more obscure regions around the world where BJJ has made a mark. Christian describes each destination with wide eyed wonder and interjects the travelogue with a moving personal biography about his own background. It's a BJJ fanatic's dream to travel the world and train in exotic locations, Christian's book brings this dream to life and shows how our beloved sport connects people from all races, cultural and political backgrounds.
If you liked Christian's book, I would also highly recommend The Last Wrestlers by Marcus Trower. It's been out a while but you can still buy it from Amazon. Marcus is an excellent writer and he covers not just wrestling, but BJJ and other grappling arts as well.
2. Something to learn from:
There are a gazillion opportunities to learn BJJ through online, DVD, or app friendly platforms. Some titles are very popular, some are better suited for beginners, others are more suited to advanced players. Whichever you choose to use, they only really work if you use them as a supplement to your normal training on the mat.
For a good old fashioned DVD disc set, a lot of people love the titles produced by Caio Terra. His latest set is called Modern Jiu Jitsu. I haven't seen a copy myself but I really liked his previous effort - 111 Half Guard Techniques. According to my friends, the new set is even more lavishly produced and excellently put together. For those who are just starting out in BJJ, I'd also like to give a shout out to 50 Common Mistakes to Avoid in BJJ DVD set, produced by UK brown belt Adam Adshead.
Learning techniques through DVD discs seem to be fast being replaced by learning via online websites and mobile apps. One example is the recent trend for learning BJJ via mobile and tablet apps. The aforementioned Caio Terra is available via this platform, so is Roy Dean's Blue Belt Requirements set. Roy's set of instructionals are consistently rated by others as among the best of those aimed at beginners and intermediate BJJ folk. Another app cited by folk are those made by Draculino.
Learning BJJ via websites is well supported. Popular sites include the slick MGinAction by Marcelo Garcia, Grapplers Guide by Jason Scully and by BJJWorldChampion.com Roberto 'Cyborg' Abreu.
3. Something to roll on:
Jiu jitsu is a fairly equipment free sport. All you need is another person, a gi and space. Everything else is extra, but if you are intent on training at home, ala old skool garage BJJ days, then some mats would be handy.
Zebra mats seem to look the business. You roll them out for training and roll them back up when finished. They look thick and chunky too. This is their website: http://www.zebramats.com/catalog/zebra-home-mats
In the UK, you can buy them here: http://www.fightnfitmma.co.uk/
If you have more cash to spare, Dollamur are the Rolls Royce of training surfaces. I had the opportunity once to roll in a gym fitted wall to wall with their pro mats and they are incredible! I see they too offer roll out home mats so perhaps someone should write a side by side independent review of these two brands.
4. Something to wear outside
The BJJ lifestyle and leisure wear market is hotting up more and more as each month goes by. I guess I'm part of that scene too with my own clothing range. Here are a few cool brands and products I've noticed online recently:
Scramble 'Strong Spirit' T-shirt - featuring gorgeous Japanese tattoo artist koi and hand written calligraphy, this tee is about as Scramble as you can get.
Strike Fightwear 'Gentle Art' hoodie - Strike Fightwear continue their impressive run of form with the release of their graphics heavy hoodie design.
Oss Shinobu t-shirt - an update to their first run of shinobu t-shirts, this red version is very funky and looks great I think!
Tatami Fightwear Red Monogram hoodie - I saw a lot of these being worn by fighters at a recent BJJ tournament I attended. I like the classical design work and simple layout.
5. Something to wear for training:
Gawakoto 'Kalabaw' short sleeve rashguard - featuring the cool comic artwork of Bong Abad, the kalabaw is a water buffalo, a powerful work animal from Bong's original homeland of the Philippines.
Kingz Kimonos - 450 Comp navy gi. I've been road testing this gi from Kingz plus their newly revamped 420 Light gi. I must say I absolutely love the 450 navy. They sent me an A1L which has a great jacket fit on me, though the trousers are a bit long. I'm posting a very thorough and detailed review in a week or so but I wanted to mention it here as I like it a lot so far and recommend it as a Xmas gift.
Scramble Urban Camou Spats - winter is truly here in the UK and I absolutely cannot train without wearing a pair of grappling tights under my gi pants. I have Scramble's previous offering (the black spats) and their new camouflage inspired design looks pretty good.
Fuji All Around BJJ gi - When I reviewed the Fuji gi earlier in the year I was really impressed with the quality of product coupled with the basic price tag, I pretty much recommend this gi to every newcomer who asks me what gi I suggest they should start off with. In the UK, you can buy it at Made4Fighters for £63 and in the US, look out for it on BJJHQ as it is a regular offering for a very good price.