Jiu-Jitsu Letter

Worth Defending / Opening Closed Guard

Richard Bresler’s Worth Defending and Robert Drysdale’s Opening Closed Guard are great to read either one after the other, or if you are the type to read multiple books at once, in tandem.

I enjoyed reading about the beginning of the Gracie Academy in America, as well as Bresler’s own story.

Opening Closed Guard, like Reila Gracie’s Carlos Gracie, presents a mostly negative1 view of Rorion Gracie’s Helio-centric story. Drysdale interviews several masters and gives them an opportunity to share their histories.

It’s understandable to be skeptical of any origin story (“History is written by the victors”), but Bresler’s personal story is one that I think most jiu-jitsu practitioners can relate to. Everyone I know that (still) trains say jiu-jitsu is among the most positive things in their lives.

Richard Bresler:

No matter what you think about Rorion Gracie, the one thing you have to recognize and appreciate is that we in America are doing Jiu-Jitsu today because of Rorion Gracie. You can love him or hate him, but you have to thank him. Without him, without what he did, none of this would be here.

Read both.

  1. There are interviews with Royce Gracie and Pedro Valente. Drysdale says Rorion declined to participate. ↩︎

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