As my friends already know, I hate reading. Throughout high school and college I somehow managed to avoid reading any of the books assigned to me and I relied solely on CliffsNotes and the Internet. [Hold for applause.] Although I despise reading, magazines always have had a place in my heart (along with comics), maybe because I have a short attention span and big color photos and graphics are the only thing that keeps me from putting them down.
I recently got a quasi-exclusive first look at UK-based Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine (JJSM) in it's newly available digital edition and, to say the least, I was very impressed. Being the designer extraordinaire that I am, I loved the bright visuals, clear graphics and high resolution photos. Over the years, I have seen my share of poorly published martial arts magazines and books that look more like a high school PTA newsletters rather than high quality publications. JJSM features terrific articles on our favorite subject and interviews with the world's elite grapplers as well some really nice, full page, easy-to-read grappling tutorials.
Overall, a very well-rounded, solid read. Worth every pound (or dollar - exchange be damned). So here is a quick breakdown of the magazine in BJJ terminology (White to Black ranks, silly.)
- Tutorials: Brown Belt. You can almost never have enough.
- Minimal Advertising: Brown Belt. Any less and there would be none, but there was!
- Photo & Graphic Quality: Black Belt. Now only if there were a centerfold.
- Writing: Brown Belt. I Just wish it was a U.S. based Mag and they didn't replace all my Z's with S's. We like Z's.
- Stories: Black Belt. Profiled both smaller schools along some big name stars (e.g., Roger and Kyra).
- Overall Rating: 4 stripe Brown Belt. Well, Black Belt is obviously left for the very elite and JJSM is very close to that. Of course we wish it was based out of the colonies, but there isn't anything we could do about that.