Book Review: Submit Everyone by Dave Camarillo
10 Second Review:
Submit Everyone is a comprehensive guide to building a submission-driven game that showcases Camarillo’s talents as a grappler and a teacher. The quirky “military report” writing style may put you off (or you may not care), but the content and techniques are stellar. Camarillo’s material on the “kimura control” is worth the price alone. You can pick up a copy for around $20.
A month ago, Kevin Howell sent me a digital prerelease of Submit Everyone, his latest work with Dave Camarillo. Since then, I have been reading through it and trying out the material daily. Here’s my review.
The book, with its full title “Submit Everyone: The Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu Files: Top Secret Tactics to Become a Submission-Focused Fighter,” takes the “guerrilla” theme to the extreme. It’s laid out like a typewritten military dossier full of polaroid photos. Howell employs a military vocabulary, with jargon like SNAFU and AFTER-ACTION REPORT and labeling techniques SITREP 4.16. Here are sample sentences:
SUBJECT CAMARILLO is operating in the spider guard with his foot on the right biceps of CONTACT DARCY, MATTHEW.
All the guerrilla has to do is simply follow the POE and he automatically arrives in an easily attackable position for his preferred fire team.
The writing can be a little confusing and contrived, though sometimes the pseudo-military terms do work, like calling a “go to” position for offense and defense a “fire base or HUB.” Once you get used to it (or if it never bothers you), the lessons underneath are valuable.
Whatever complaints I have about the writing style, they’re easily overlooked in favor of the excellent techniques and high quality photography. Camarillo and Howell put a lot of thought and care into the creation of his book. (As I said, I read a PDF copy, but I’m sure the real book is well made—big pages, glossy paper, crisp photos—like all Victory Belt publications.)
To start the book, Camarillo does a good job showing what he sees as the difference between a “submission focused” grappler and one that worries about points.
First, he shows a traditional way of maintaining position as someone escapes side control by turning to their knees, where he circles around and keeps them trapped under turtle. (It’s actually a pretty good technique, but not the lesson he wants to teach.)
Next, he shows his “guerrilla” approach, where rather than worrying about just staying in the standard safe positions, he’s quickly gripping to attack with chokes and armbars as he circles to the back.
That is a simple example, but it does show Camarillo’s style of jiu-jitsu well. He’s always looking to finish the fight from every position. That’s not to say he throws good positional control out the window. He does show when you’re better off securing a position on a defensive opponent. But on the whole, he wants to end the fight now instead of playing it too safe or waiting to see what happens.
Camarillo goes out of his way to show the influences judo, sambo and wrestling have on his jiu-jitsu. He demonstrates moves that blend each art to demonstrate how the mix can surprise someone who is only familiar with one art. Camarillo’s dynamic style shows even through the slideshow nature of step-by-step photos. This book would have made a great video.
He also addresses the endless “gi vs no-gi” debate with my favorite answer: “Shut up and do both.” His full reasoning is a bit better than that, but you get the idea.
A book like this is in danger of becoming just another “mixed bag of submissions”, but Camarillo does a good job of avoiding this by using his techniques to illustrate underlying concepts, putting them into combinations, or grouping them by shared positions.
The first part of the book shows a wide variety of basic submissions: chokes, armbars, triangles, omoplatas, kimuras and more. (No leglocks are shown.) He offers these as the core submission that you’ll likely build your personal game around.
He moves on to showing simple submission combos and chains, like how armbars and triangles go together, how collar chokes can give you armbars, or how a kimura can always lead to an armbar. These combinations get progressively deeper as the book continues. He shows attacks from many positions, like closed and open guards, including his “octopus guard” (different than Eduardo Telles’), side control, knee-on-belly mount and rear mount, and more.
By the end of the book, Camarillo dedicates himself to showing the depth of his armbar game. He does this to illustrate how he wants you to pick a single submission and make it your best attack by learning every entry and solutions to any roadblocks. This includes a bunch of good armbar defense breaks, similar to what Eddie Bravo shows from his “spider web” position (though I prefer Camarillo’s.)
Throughout the book, Camarillo stresses the importance of continuously attacking and never giving up ground or trading “one for one.” This involves using sweeps to off-balance for easier submissions, jumping into submissions while passing guard, turning your escapes into attacks, defending takedowns with submissions, keeping on submissions even during scrambles, attacking through submission defenses, and more.
My personal favorite moves are the ones that highlight Camarillo’s use of the kimura grip in combination with armbars, chokes and taking the back. In his Back Attacks DVD, Ryan Hall credits Camarillo with teaching him this approach, and anyone who tries it will see why it deserves the praise. I’d pick the book up just for this alone.
So who should get this book? Is it too advanced for a white belt? By its nature, any instructional about submissions is geared toward higher belts. Many of Camarillo’s moves are combinations that take a good sense of timing and full commitment (not the hallmarks of beginners). This isn’t a surprise coming from a guy who’s famous for his flying submissions. I wouldn’t recommend this book to white or blue belts who aren’t confident in their basics, but a competitive blue belt or any higher belts will find a lot of valuable material.
If you already own a copy, please leave a comment below to let me know how you liked it. Happy new year!