Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.–Bruce Lee
Third degree Renzo Gracie black belt Karel “Silver Fox” Pravec brings us his distillation of 23 years of Brazilian jiu-jitsu in his new book Fluid BJJ. The book is subtitled “Scrawny Middle-Aged Guy’s Guide to Getting Submissions” but I would argue that this book has something for every practitioner, regardless of age or skill level. He has also created a supplemental video resource available at a discount through Digistu.
On the surface, the book’s appeal might first be only to the more seasoned practitioners and by this I do not mean belt level.
Professor Pravec came to jiu-jitsu in his 30’s after years of training in other martial arts. The focus of the chapters initially seems to be on perfecting one’s submissions with sections focusing on guillotines and omoplatas.
There are also detailed sections utilizing water and pool exercises to reinforce movements and conduct drills in a very joint-friendly environment. In Professor Pravec’s experience, this is crucial to maintain a solid training volume, while not causing undo damage and potentially causing injury in older athletes.
As a 40-plus-year old, not so scrawny, brown belt Fluid BJJ and Pravec’s description of pool training, complete with tons of images gave me a lot of food for thought for ways to train when not able to officially train, i.e. while on vacations or work trips. But the true gems for me were the concepts of “triggers” and “momentum” described by Professor Pravec.
These two concepts are where the book transcends its own subtitle and becomes essential to all athletes. As one develops as a practitioner, our ability to hone in on the triggers becomes more powerful, but understanding this concept early on will begin to expand your game.
Add to this an understanding of how to create Silver Fox style momentum and you become a force to reckon with on the mats.
So don’t let the subtitle steer you away. This book has something for everyone, even if you’re not “scrawny” or “middle-aged.”
I look forward to many, many more years working on seeing triggers and building offensive momentum, while honing techniques using pool techniques and you can too with Karel “Silver Fox” Pravec’s Fluid BJJ.