April 2, 2009

"BJJ Legends" - New Martial Rag Review

Just as I was talking about the demise of quality martial arts publications, while perusing the local corporate, sterile B & N (I miss Albuquerque where the independent book dealers and magazine stands stood strong and were appreciated!), I stumble upon "BJJ Legends" which claims to be "training tomorrow's legends today."

Now I am usually quite leery of a magazine that is wrapped in plastic, that is not of the "gentleman's" variety! Cellophane usually veils the stench of pure garbage, with a flashy cover! In this case a DVD is promised treasure inside containing over 3 hours of footage! It is the inaugural issue, and most importantly it is a magazine solely dedicated to BJJ and the grappling world.

Oh, and did I mention the price of this "collectors item"... $12.99!!!

Now before I start blowing up about the rip off price, I did buy it after all, I want to be fair and state the quality of the print paper is top notch! Really nice and thick, all color, very professionally done. Layout wise it is a great publication. Very clear, orderly, easy to read, with quality photography.

As for the writing and information contained within the little treasure... the whole magazine is nothing but one interview after another! That is it. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good interview with people who are successful in various areas and are specialists in certain aspects of BJJ. But a whole magazine dedicated to interviews? So surely the substance of the interviews was solid right?

Did I mention it was $12.99!?!?!

Overall the questions were dull and self indulgent for the interviewee. A few observations if I may:

-Rigan Machado interview was one of the first things I looked for as I cracked the pages. Interviewed by his student Cindy Omatsu (first BJJ female black belt in America), the majority of the interview was nothing special, but Rigan discussed a desire to form a world wide league for professional grapplers (not MMA) where they could fight the best of the best world wide, and earn a respectable amount of money enough to be focused on their profession. This is very promising if he can get it off the ground.

Cost me $13 bucks after tax!

-Royce Gracie interview was very long, but had many good questions and insights into his training and opinions of the art of BJJ. Maybe it is me, but it really seems like some of the Gracies can do nothing but talk about themselves and their teaching method they term "Gracie Jiu Jitsu." On one hand Royce talks about how he is not into hurting people, presenting a nice humble mans attitude, and then turns around and states "I might as well be the best." in terms of MMA fighting.
It would just be nice to hear less self aggrandizing, and more about the principles of what they teach instead of why theirs is better, or the best.

-Marcio Feitosa offered some insightful tips on competing and training for points to win, not just submissions. He had some valuable points, and came across quite learned and talented in the BJJ realm.

Overall the magazine was a disappointment. At $12+ dollars I wanted more in my 80 pages of gloss. Oh, and I almost forgot... our little nugget gift DVD!! Yeah, well about that.... it is simply a video recording of all the same interviews. They do go through all of the moves the teachers show in the magazine. Some good sweeps and submissions from various teachers like Kyra Gracie, Marcelo Cavalcanti, and Mauricio 'Tinguiha' Mariano. Nothing too exciting. The DVD also offers a couple of Feitosa's fight at World No Gi last year, and one of Kyra's fights.

I hope this magazine grows more than just interviews, and I wish it success in a very tough and competitive market. It will need to improve many aspects of what it has to offer if it wishes to succeed. But we need it to succeed like no other, as their is no magazine other than Gladiator that is covering grappling at all! MMA is the fad now, and BJJ and grappling have fallen by the wayside.

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