BJJ Review: Magazine: GiFreak

There are very few magazine catering for the BJJ community at the moment so when a new one comes out, it's immediately compared to the big names like Gracie Mag, Jiujitsu Magazine and JiuJitsu Style. For a new magazine to carve a niche for itself it must distinguish itself as different and GiFreak does just that. Built on the foundation laid by megasite, this quarterly magazine is a true work of the community:

"The purpose of this publication is to facilitate a conversation around Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We aim to bring you helpful, informative content that both serves and is produced by the BJJ community." from Our Mission.

"This publication is about the corners of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that set it apart…It's about creating something you can hand to your friend, girlfriend, husband, coworker or even a complete stranger, and help them understand just a little bit better, why you train." from To Our Readers.

It is this second quote that really struck me and explained what marketing gurus refer to as "position". 

GiFreak is a great little quarterly magazine to read, but above all, it is a great Jiu Jitsu pamphlet to share with friends or even strangers stepping into the reception of your BJJ academy. No one will read or page thru GiFreak magazine without getting at least a little inspired by the great articles and beautiful quality of production and layout, to find out more about the great art of BJJ.

For some time now, mr friend Don and I have been thinking about the best way to introduce a complete outsider to what Brazilian or Gracie Jiu Jitsu is and so far, we've agreed on simply showing them this awesome video of Rickson and Royler Gracie demonstrating techniques and sparring:

When it comes to printed material, I feel GiFreak fills this void.

Now, to the nitty-gritty:

Priced at $1.99 (digital, $7.99 print) The 24 page quarterly magazine has 17 articles (although the index only shows 14*), split into 5 categories which we are told will be a recurring theme in future issues:

The Spirit: 2 articles, one referring to BJJHacks' upcoming film "Red Belts" and the other to Rafael Lovato Jr's historic win at the Brazilian Nationals (with awesome photography by William Burkhart from

The People: 3 articles. These are articles that highlight the community. One by a preacher who trains BJJ in Florida, one by a purple belt blogger who writes about training with (and motivating) her children and a review of many recent BJJ-related charity events around the world from Brazil to the UK.

The Academy: 3 articles. A scientific look at the question of washing your hands, body and belt, an instructor's review of my friend and instructor Mr Eddie Kone down at in London and a very insightful piece about jiujitsu and women by purple belt & founder of Chrissy Linzy.

The Business: 3 articles. The business of Martial Arts in a much ignored topic, tragically so. We are started off with a thorough article addressing the question of fees in BJJ, followed by a quick review of 4 current BJJ-related websites and then part 1 of an article about branding in BJJ by the founder of award-winning website, Mr Brendan Hufford.

The Body:  5 articles. Ironically, the first article, one full of great advice on how to have a long and happy jiu jitsu career by none other than Mr Ryron Gracie, is called "The Mind". Next is an introduction to Ginastica Natural by BJJ Brown Belt and certified GN instructor Mr Adam Henkel and one, by Black Belt Mr Ryan Gallagher, tackling the question of post-workout nutrition.

The last two articles are my personal favourites: 10 tips for the Newer, Older Grappler and a story of a Super Transformation: 80lb weight loss and personal growth thru Brazilian jiujitsu by Julia Johansen.

GiFreak is a jiujitsu magazine, but it's also much more than that. It's a grassroots movement. It's an exchange: by the community and for the community. My only criticism is that the position (see above) they have carved in my mind does not sit well with the title they've chosen for the magazine, but that's a minor point and it's only my personal opinion.

*a couple of the articles were not listed in the index. I found that a little odd.



Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

Proudly sponsored by Predator Fightwear: Built for the kill and Brutal TShirt: Made By Grapplers For Fighters

1 comment:

Megan said...

Thanks Liam! ...especially for that video...awesome!