This article is to review the book ‘Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life’ by Paul Kindzia.
And… I’ll answer the question:
Does this book live up to its subtitle’s claim of showing you ‘how to create an extraordinary life through Jiu Jitsu’?
But first, here’s a fun fact:
I mentioned to one of the BJJ figures that’s featured in this book that I read about their story…
….and they didn’t even know they were in this book!
[more on that later]
My review: Here’s my thoughts and opinions on ‘Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life’…
So I was listening to Stephan Kesting interviewing Paul Kindzia on ‘The Strenuous Life’ Podcast.
His approach to learning sounded interesting.
Then I heard this:
You walk in Day 1 to your Harvard math class. And there’s no textbook, there’s no curriculum, there’s no syllabus.
Now, your neighbour to your left, they’re already a Graduate Student, and the guy to your right, he’s a Sophomore. And then this guy, likes conceptual math, and this is abstract math.
Then, the professor, who is a Black Belt in math, just says “okay, here’s an algebra problem, here’s a geometry problem, and oh yeah, and here’s a concept on derivatives.”
And then they just tell you:
“Look dude, if you just keep coming to math class, eventually you’ll kinda figure it out, you just need time on the mat”
But that’s exactly what happens in Jiu Jitsu.
Read the whole quote here: Paul Kindzia’s BJJ Harvard Math Class Analogy
This sounded like it could be controversial… because it’s correct
[I remember being taught Iminari Rolls into Heel Hooks before I knew the details on how to do the Triangle Choke from Closed Guard]
This book is about using principles and real life examples to take control of your own Jiu Jitsu journey.
I think a good example of what this book is about is in the chapter on Tracking and Benchmarking:
This habit and behavior also allowed Scully to remember what his objectives were for a specific class, or for a specific week or training cycle.
Nothing was random or left up to the hands of others such as his instructors.
The best thing?
This book offers solutions.
Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life: First impressions
Read the introduction to this book and straight away you can see there’s a different way.
Just the examples in the introduction should change your mindset:
What some people would see are limiting factors to learning BJJ can actually be a benefit
In particular, there’s Espen Mathieson’s story…
Just reading his story should make you stop and think about your current situation in both Jiu Jitsu (and other areas of your life)
It sets the scene for a book that will help you learn how to learn.
What’s covered in ‘Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life’?
There’s 22 chapters. Each pretty much covers one principle using:
- Case studies and examples of the principle in action using BJJ sports figures and influencers
- How the principle applies to getting better at Jiu Jitsu, and
- How the principle also relates to improving life in general
These are the principles that are covered in Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life:
- Minimise and Simplify
- Tracking and Benchmarking
- Continuous Deep Learning
- Workload and Stress
- Do Your Best
- Become An Artist
- Personal Growth
- Know Your Why?
It’s a mixture of Jiu Jitsu and non-Jiu Jitsu anecdotes… mixed with some specific recommendations about how to accelerate your learning and continuously progress.
You will like ‘Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life’ if…
You get frustrated about taking wrong turns and taking a route that’s longer than necessary.
The Tatami ‘Chess Gorilla’ Rash Guard appeals to you.
You don’t have access to personalised coaching but want to take control of working on your own strengths and weaknesses.
You like learning about learning.
BJJ’s history, players, personalities, and politics interest you.
You like reading about success principles.
‘Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life’ compared with ‘Mastering The 21 Immutable Principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’
It isn’t really a question of one vs. the other… because they take a COMPLETELY different approach.
Well, there may be a little overlap, but:
If you want a quick read that covers specifics about how to apply techniques and how to change your rolling game?
Read: Mastering The 21 Immutable Principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (114 pages)
[This is a book you’ll keep going back to, a chapter at a time]
If you want a deeper look at how to efficiently learn Jiu-Jitsu and how to apply these principles to other areas of your life?
My key takeaways from reading Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life:
The biggest takeaway I got from this book is that there’s no shortcut to getting better at BJJ….
…but there is such a thing as taking wrong turns and taking a route that’s longer than necessary.
Some things that have really stuck with me:
- The key to long term success is starting with very small habits that may even appear to be insignificant or too easy
- Use visualization. Not just to imagine success… but to see all the steps that must be mastered. Because then you’ll know the strategies and training that will be required to get there.
- Learn to set and chase short-term goals which feed into your long-term goals
- Using a documented stage-by-stage road map can be an incredibly valuable tool… so that you aren’t fooling yourself about your progress (or lack thereof)
- You can train volume, or you can train intensity. But when you combine the two simultaneously for extended periods of time… eventually bad things happen.
There’s A LOT more to this book… but these are the things I’ve taken away as my priorities.
Is ‘Master Jiu Jitsu Master Life’ the sort of book you would read more than once?
No. But ‘yes’ to the highlights.
Reading the whole thing once is enough. But I’m glad I did.
The stories behind each principle give context. Sometimes they were just entertaining. I feel like I know way more about the entire BJJ scene.
And, without this background information the main ideas wouldn’t seem as important.
To be honest:
- Some of the stories can seem a bit unrelated to the principle of the chapter (I didn’t think this detracted from the book though because it made it interesting)
- There’s a fair bit of overlap between some of the chapters. It’s like reading the same principle again, but coupled with a different Jiu-Jitsu person’s biography
So I’ll got back and read the points I highlighted.
Again and again.
Because I’m sure that some of the principles that weren’t priorities now will become key takeaways for me in the future.
‘Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life’ price: Worth it?
It didn’t cost much because I bought this from Amazon on Kindle.
Would I be happy if I paid the extra and bought a physical copy of the book?
Yes. Because it’s the sort of book I would keep going back to.
It makes it worth the money if you can flick through it, and get little reminders of the things that you can be doing to improve your Jiu Jitsu (as well as other areas of your life)
Conclusion: Very happy with ‘Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life’
Overall, I’m glad I bought and read ‘Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life’
It’s perfect for someone like me who can only get to class 1-2 times per week, and has to train BJJ at home:
It’s helped me identify what I can do in my own time to make the most of my limited time on the mat.
On a scale of save-your-money-and-read-at-the-library to buy-a-leather-bound-hardcover I rate this book:
Buy a paperback so you can highlight it and make notes
Comment below if you have any questions about this book, but in the meantime:
Master Jiu-Jitsu Master Life
Depth of Content9.0/10
Ease of Reading9.0/10
Structure for Readability8.0/10
Value for Money10.0/10
- Gives you lots of tools to help you learn Jiu Jitsu faster
- Written in a way that makes you realise that the principles do apply to other areas of life
- The examples show that the principles really do work in real life (on and off mat)
- Would benefit from use of pictures and quotes to break up walls of text
- Some great takeaways are buried in the middle of paragraphs
- In a couple of chapters it’s harder to work out specifically how to apply the principles