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on January 10, 2012
The book itself is mostly solid, with clear glossy photographs, a decent layout, and lots of drills. But it also has a couple problems.

The good:

The drills layout is logical. Follow the arrow and you get a series of pictures as the instructor moves through the drill. There's a text also describing what the instructor is doing. By comparing the two, it's easy to get a solid feel for each drill.

The book is divided into 12 months, with each month containing 4 weeks, and each week containing five days. Each day usually has 1 or 2 drills. Some will seem familiar to anyone who has been to a bjj class recently. I'm sure if you follow the drills in addition to your current training you will end up a better player.

The first few months focus on strength, conditioning and balance, the next few on basic movements, and then more advanced drills are introduced. It's a relatively logical sequence, with later drills building on earlier drills. Most everyone who makes it to a class will be familiar with a good portion of the drills in the first four months. Some heavier trainees might strain a bit on some drills, but that's why they need to do them. Comparatively, some lighter trainees might find some of the drills too easy. Overall, solid.

The bad:

The initial month has no drills, just a couple pages noting that diet is important and that you should work on that for a month. While diet might be important, it would have been better to mention that as part of the introduction or the first several chapters, and not cut into drill time. The final month is also under 2 pages, just noting that the trainee should review and work on weak spots. 10 months to better brazilian jiu jutsu.

10 months of drills could still be pretty solid. However, a good number of the drills assume you have a swiss ball, and a few also assume you have a balance board or two. A mat is also assumed, but that assumption is completely understandable. Even these are acquirable without too much trouble.

My big issue comes with the lack of solo drills in the book. Most of the drills in chapters two and three can be done and are shown solo. Very, very few other drills in the book are solo drills. You might be able to attempt some of the drills alone where the partner is least involved, but it's a dodgy prospect at best.

For someone like me who picked up the book to work on my own time with no practice partners accessible, this is crushing. The only time I have partners accessible is usually during class hours, and those are better spent with a live instructor. So, for me, 2 months to better brazilian jiu jutsu. And most of those drills I knew already.

Overall, if you have a training partner, the necessary gear, and the time and the will to implement the program, four stars. Without the training partner, two stars.
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on September 5, 2010
This book is a treasure trove of drills for improving your BJJ! The book is divided up into months, with each month and each week within it having a theme. This makes it easy to search through the contents for drills to work on your own weaknesses, or to follow the one year schedule as intended by the author. The drills cover topics such as:

1. General strength
2. Balance
3. Gymnastic ability
4. Breakfalls/Sprawls
5. Grips
6. Throws/Takedowns
7. Escapes
8. Guard passing
9. Top position control
10.Guard control/sweeps

Although there is a wealth of partner drills, there are also plenty of solo drills. This book superbly fills the gap left by so many BJJ instructional videos; namely making key movements second nature and erasing bad habits. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in becoming better at BJJ and highly recommend it to those who are studying on their own and don't have a school where (some) of these drills would be introduced.
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on February 5, 2013
Even after reading all the reviews, I couldn't quite figure out what the hell was in this book. What are these "drills" exactly? Some mentioned partner exercises, others said it was a bodybuilding book. Huh? So, for your benefit, here it is...

It's a conditioning book!

The exercises are meant to work the same muscles you'd use when grappling. So there are exercises that work on balance, strengthening core, adding speed, heightening reflexes, etc. In fact a bunch of the solo drills are ones you might recognize from class warm ups. The point in partner drills is similar in that you will acclimate to pushing and pulling weight as you go for certain moves, e.g. Omoplatas, arm bars, sweeps, etc.

The book would probably work great for instructors in particular who are looking to structure classes. For the individual, the solo drills in the book is all do-able from home, or during downtime before or after class. The partner drills pretty much requires a gym (i.e. mats) and a solid partner. All in all I think it's a good one to add to the library.

For more on the author, YouTube the show "Rolled Up." There's a whole episode on Andre Galvao. Also checkout his fight against Martin Suarez to see his dexterity in action.
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on September 4, 2010
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 a third place prize from 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.
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on July 27, 2010
This is a very unique book on the sport of jiu-jitsu. There are literally hundreds of drills covered, all of which are sport specific. Some are designed to improve your jiu-jitsu technique, some are for improving your stamina in the sport, and some are designed for increasing you overall strength. Often I use large books on jiu-jitsu just as a reference. However, this book is broken down on a week-by-week basis to improving your jiu-jitsu. Granted I probably won't do the exact training program laid out, but it certainly gives a base to work from. If I only did a fraction of the drills outlined in the book each week, I have no doubt I would watch my game improve dramatically over a years time. I highly recommend this book to anyone serious about the sport.
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on July 31, 2010
Drill to win is filled with comprehensible material and photos. As a BJJ enthusiast with a large family and professional demands, this book has quickly become a valuble resource because it enables me to sharpen my skills on my own. I especially like the diet and supplement section. As well as, the personal heart felt story told by Galvao. As a grappler, I know everyone has their fight, but it's not to often you get to hear it straight from the champ. Interestingly, it uncovers some of the Post-Gracie BJJ World. After reading the short introduction I felt a deeper sense of understanding of modern BJJ.The conventional BJJ books requires "willing" partner, "Drill to Win" gives me a choice and the ability to speed up the learning process. Realistically I've sometime have a hard time finding "drilling" partner, as most people like to spar. However, as a former collegiate wrestler, I know the value of drilling. wrestiling practice sessions often are made up of 40% solo drills. Through these drills I've I gained speed and muscle recall. This book has allowed me to take my skills to a sharper level. The only draw back is if I don't train I can't blame it on anyone else but myself. Andre and Kevin Howell give me plenty of material to train hard everyday, with or with out a partner, even if I'm injured. Now it's up to me, and that's the way I like it. If your serious about traing Jiu Jitsu or submission wrestling I would recommend you pick this one up.
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on December 26, 2014
If you're looking for a home supplement to your training, this is the number one book I recommend to Jiu Jitsu practitioners. Do yourself a favor and buy this book. This, I believe, is the first book that was laid out perfectly in pictures, where you fully understand how to perform the movements. It is not necessary to follow the order in which this book is displayed. But, I highly suggesting picking a few and drilling them for a week straight before moving on.
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on August 3, 2010
Just picked this book after a long wait. Andre is one of my favorite bjj fighters and has unique charismatic style of jiu jitsu. From my experience, most people don't enjoy drilling at all. When I first started training I would rather spend my time rolling hard and fighting pointless battles instead of drilling moves and working angles. I got to meet Kevin and his wife Haley at a Bjj tournament and picked his brain about the secrets to Andre's sucess. chatting. He informed me that drilling is what will make you better than everyone who doesn't do it and Andre Galvao is a fine example. I learned that his secret is drilling drilling and more drilling. Ever since then, this is one of the things that I've been meaning to incorporate into my training.
This book shows many different ways to drill, shows a sequence of drills and the meaning of them.
This book offers a step by step pictures and detailed instruction in all the basic to advanced drilling techniques that are truly important. He covers the most basic and fundamental Drills to advanced drills with an importance on transitions and such. I highly recommend this book. Its very well organized in a logical fashion, great pictures and a joy to read. It answers almost all of the questions I have wanted to know since I started and will help your game.
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on August 9, 2010
As you can see from the majority of the reviews, this book has a recurring theme... ATTENTION TO DETAIL. That's what makes the difference in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Very often BJJ practitioners like myself forget the minute details like the sagging of the hips to make you heavier, doing an ab crunch from closed guard to break an opponent's posture, extending an opponent's trapped leg from the half-guard to manipulate their base, etc. Just those minor adjustments make the biggest difference from being your opponent's highlight reel to you "folding Gis" with your opponents in them. Drilling to Win holds nothing back and breaks everything down to the lowest level possible. The drills are so easy to follow that even my jarhead teammates at the academy can comprehend the exercises just by following the sequence of pictures lol.
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on October 28, 2013
I've had the book for 3 days. The first month, per the book is about diet. I think. I do not know what sense that makes. I skipped right to the drills. I'm loving the drills. I cannot do them exactly the way illustrated, but I find they have improved my mobility tremendously!

So many of the books promise the sky and deliver much less than. I can't wait until tomorrow, because the drills get better everyday.
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