Bloody Elbow Book Review: Andre Galvao’s “Drill to Win”

There have been dozens of  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu manuals, many by legends of the sport, but Drill to Win: 12 Months to Better Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu…

By: Nate Wilcox | 13 years ago
Bloody Elbow Book Review: Andre Galvao’s “Drill to Win”
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

There have been dozens of  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu manuals, many by legends of the sport, but Drill to Win: 12 Months to Better Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu by Andre Galvao with Kevin Howell, is a unique and valuable addition to the canon.

Where most jiu jitsu manuals focus on presenting a dizzying array of techniques, Galvao’s book focuses on practical drills that will help the diligent reader master the movements involved jiu jitsu and dramatically improve their competition game.

Galvao is a highly decorated grappler with multiple World Jiu-Jitsu Championships and IBJJF Pan American Championships as well as taking second and third place prizes at the ADCC World Championships.

In the introduction to the book Galvao describes his effort intensive approach to jiu jitsu and the way he, an athlete of limited natural gifts, outworked and surpassed many more talented training partners.

Howell is the co-author of Saulo Ribeiro’s Jiu Jitsu University, which judging by its amazing sales on Amazon seems to have become THE standard jiu jitsu instructional book. Drill to Win is the perfect complement to Jiu Jitsu University with its plethora of drills for each stage of your jiu jitsu game.

Galvao and Howell cover diet, balance and strength drills, breakfalls, grip fighting drills, takedown drills (both wrestling and judo), guard pulling, basic escapes, guard passes, top position drills, two chapters worth of guard drills (including exotic positions like x-guard, spider guard and de la riva guard), and a great chapter on transitioning drills that will allow the diligent student to transform themselves into a very dangerous jiu jitsu player able to string together combination attacks.

Visually the book is amazing, graphic artist Kathy Howell has outdone herself as every move is illustrated with a series of photographs of Galvao and training partner Marcel Louzado moving through each sequence of events step by step. I can’t describe it adequately other than to say that it looks more like animation on the page than a bunch of still photos. She’s cropped out the backgrounds, leaving just the figures moving through space. The most complicated moves are illustrated by as many as two dozen photographs, yet the pages never look busy and are always clear and easy to follow.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is seriously looking to dramatically improve their jiu jitsu game. Galvao and Howell have supplied the step by step instructions and drills, you’ll have to provide the hard work.

Thanks to Victory Belt for sending me a review copy of this book.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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