My Copy: 9781514109328 (image courtesy amazon.com)
As a newbie to Jiu-Jitsu (and its seemingly half-dozen acceptable spellings), I felt like I needed an understanding as to how it all worked. However, this is not a “technique-book,” but more of a “mindset-book.”
Mastering the 21 Immutable Principles is a thin read and deceptively easy to understand. But, like Zen in the Martial Arts, it’s not just something to swallow and completely understand in one go. It’s a book to refer back to often.
This is a book on what to keep in mind regarding defense and getting out of tricky positions. It’s like basic physics, psychology, anatomy, and pop culture had a love child and put a hakama and gi on it.
For more on the techniques, the black-belt author refers back to his website so you can see in action what the still photos and passages refer to. I got on the website (gave e-mail, confirmed it, then got links in my inbox–that’s how it works). The editing’s dated, but if you don’t care about that (and I sure as hell don’t) then the videos are worth looking at. Mr. Guillobel gives plenty of detail in them before jumping into the moves.
As of this writing, I haven’t viewed them all yet, but I will keep watching to help me practice the particulars and techniques (at least I can mime the moves in my office).
However, if you don’t know much about technique and some of the terminology involved, you may want to come back to this book after some hands-on instruction or other books on jiu-jitsu. Still, it’s a small book, digestible, which means it’s a good reference to come back to.