I'll be posting plenty of pictures on here over the following few weeks, but for all intents and purposes, the Galvao book is complete. The book has entered the editing phase and so far it is getting really great remarks from early previewers and our publisher told us that this is the best looking book Victory Belt has made as of yet (I can say this without ego because my wife is responsible for design not me!). With that said, I might as well gush about my experiences until now.
I first met Andre quite a few years ago when he was training at Ouano's school in the LA area. I had already been signed to Victory Belt books and I thought that Andre would make a great subject for a BJJ book (luckily enough Ouano proved to be pivotal in bringing us together). Andre was at the top of his game and his star was very much on the rise. Anyways, when I met with him and asked if was interested in a book, he eagerly agreed. That night, he came back with me to Huntington for the first of many impromptu training sessions so that we could feel out an approach to this project.
We trained for about 3 hours that night and Haley taped every second of it (later I collected many more hours of training and private lessons on mini DV footage). What I immediately liked about Andre was his willingness to show every part of his BJJ and he really left no stone unturned. In that first day of training/planning, I saw a totally different side of BJJ and I was interested in seeing how I could help Andre bring that to a book.
What followed was many other trips with Andre sleeping on our couch, eating all of our food, rolling on my 10x10 mats, and challenging my fighting game supremacy. I got to know everything about Andre and it was crazy to see someone moving from being a BJJ hero of mine to an actual friend. I felt honored. He was still someone I looked up to in the sport, but he was also someone who ate all my wheat bread and downed olive oil by the field. By the end of the project, I felt that this experience gave me the insight I needed to tell Andre's BJJ story through instruction.
So, when the time came for us to take the photos, how did it go and what would we shoot? The answer comes from another story... When we started working on the book, my first thought was to make a butterfly guard book, because I had seen him use with such calm and efficiency earlier in 2004 and it only matured to greater levels by the time we were ready to get the photos. I thought that his butterfly game was a mirror of Terere's and I felt that it would tell a great story of his mastery of the art. However, something happened one day when we were training with each other for the 2008 Pans. I asked him to show me exactly what it was that made him great at BJJ and I realized that it was a ton of hard work and even more repetition. At this point, it dawned on both of us that the butterfly guard wasn't nearly as important as his ability to transition into and out of different positions. He saw jiu-jitsu as more free flowing and not so determined. For me this was a revelation. When I watched Andre train, trained with him, and saw how he treated his down time, I knew - Andre was a product of a successful training regimen and it would be this that I would have to provide for his readers.
When we shot the book, Andre once again came through with a champion's work ethic. He shot over 350 techniques in just two extremely long and sleepless days. He never once complained, got moody, or slowed. His partner, Marcel Louzado, was funny and in perfect rhythm with him. When Brian was finished with his last photo, we knew that we were sitting on a gold mine of info and that we would have our work cut out for us in figuring out how to tell this story.
This is how we ended up with Andre Galvao's 12 month plan. It is a book that integrates drilling, diet, and exercise into radically changing your ability to move from position to position without dreading that next movement phase. Basically, it is a roadmap to making your jiu-jitsu look more like Andre Galvao's. It is made up mostly of what Andre uses the most - two person drills and training scenarios. On a visual level, it does something different and it is a departure from other Victory Belt books (which I am a fan of). I feel that my designer (and beautiful wife) did an incredible job of conveying movement and I hope it shows people what they need to loosen up and move! I feel that it is unique and I hope that it does Andre justice. He deserves it.
To finish my gushing, I also need to thank Andre. Without his guidance and help as both a friend and BJJ mentor, I never would have met my instructor, Leo Vieira, or had the opportunity to work on his book as well. I never would have met Leo's talented and kind brother, Leandro, and I would have missed the chance to open our dream academy with him, Fight Zone USA. Thanks Andre! You've made a great splash in my life and I hope the book does the same for yours.
In the coming days I will be posting some picture samples to this site and to my facebook page as well. If you are interested in checking it out in person, you can either come by Fight Zone USA and watch us toil away with some last minute edits or wait and come by for the book release party. Hope to see you all there and I look forward to your feedback.