Here’s a link to join my Wise Grappler Fan Page on Facebook!

April 28, 2009

I thought it would be a cool idea to give people a central place to check out my upcoming grappling clinics, online training tips & videos, OG pictures & video clips from past OG Clinics, and any other cool stuff that I can give to the OG Nation that’s a little more interactive than just a regular email.

So click here to become a fan of the Wise Grappler on Facebook. And if you don’t have a Facebook Account, it’ll take all of 5 mins to set one up to join the club.

Dedicated to improving your mat experience!

Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler)

OG keeps training tips stuck in his head during the New York International Open Tournament

April 23, 2009

OG keeps training tips stuck in his head during the New York International Open Tournament last weekend and witnessed the payoff from his OG Clinic Training DVD investment.  And make sure that you click on the link below to see Mike on the podium

Hey Paul,

I just thought I would tell you I won the Masters Purple Absolute (14 guys) at the NY International Open (a CBJJ Tournament).

I have to say that your video on posture in the guard really stuck in my head and made a big difference Mike at the Podium.


Mike Zenga

Hey Mike,

First, I need to say congrats on your performance at the tourney last weekend. If you had 14 guys in the absolute bracket, you had at least four matches and for those of us that have done it, that ain’t easy! You gotta be in great shape or finish your opponents quickly. Either way, good job representing the OG Nation. Now we just need to get an OG Patch on your gi, champ! 😉

Second, I need to commend you on the great work that you did in fixing that posture problem because you told me to watch a training video of you that was online and one of the first things that popped out was your bad posture in the guard. After watching the OG Clinic 1 DVD, you saw immediate results in the training room and it’s good
to see that it worked for you in tourney matches as well. Keep up the good work and let me know how your training for the Mundials is progressing!

Instructor overlooks and belittles OG because he doesn’t want to compete and wonders if he should change schools or stick around

April 19, 2009

 Ask the Wise Grappler:

“I am at a great school with great instruction. I’ve been training
for about three years and been a blue belt for over two years now.
I train almost entirely gi only. I just do not enjoy no-gi and judo
kills my body. I also do not do tournaments. This said, the things
I “do not do” seem to be getting me over looked and at times
belittled. I understand the school’s future is in those who win and
bring attention to the school. But I train five to six times a
week, do drills on my home mat on the side and sweat and work just
as hard as anyone else in the school, any advice on how to handle
my situation? Is this something I just accept and keep working hard
towards my eventual goal of a black belt or is this something that
will hamper me my entire grappling journey?

The Wise Grappler writes:

Let me see if I got this straight: you’ve been training gi
grappling primarily for 3 yrs, train 5-6 days a week, do drills at
home and, in spite of that, get overlooked or occasionally
belittled because you don’t like judo, no-gi grappling or don’t
compete. And you’re wondering if something’s wrong with you or if
I have some advice for you, right?

No OG, there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with you or the way you
feel and I do have some advice for you… you’re training at the
wrong school and need to start looking for another one without
feeling guilty because you’ve been there for 3 years!

From the way you’ve described yourself, you sound like the ideal
student that every martial arts instructor that’s trying to run a
successful martial arts school wants in their academy.

What you’re NOT is the ideal student for an instructor that’s only
interested in building their overall school success through
competitions and their competition team.

Personally, I don’t think it’s a wise business decision to try to
force people that love to train (like you), but have no desire in
competing into doing something they don’t want to do. Competition
isn’t for everyone and NOT a requirement for being a good grappler.
But it happens all the time and your instructor has the right to run
their school the way they see fit.

To them, you’re probably viewed as “wasted talent” because you are
so dedicated (but won’t buy into the competition game) or a wimp
because you’re “too scared” to go out there and do what they think
you should do.

Either way, it really doesn’t matter what they think because you’re
a grown man capable of making your own decisions and don’t have to
justify it to anyone like you’re a child. You can’t change what
they want their students to do, but you can change whether you stay
there or not and give them your money since you’re paying for a

And as far as just accepting it and working through it, that’s
crazy! If you could’ve accepted and worked through it after 3 yrs
of being in that environment, you wouldn’t be asking me this
question, right? Even if your instructor saved you and your entire
family from some calamity and you felt you owed them your loyalty,
that’s no reason for you to stay in an environment where you have
to put up with crap because that’s the way it’s “supposed” to be.

You wouldn’t continue to go to a restaurant and pay for bad food
where the staff occasionally disrespected you. Why allow it to
happen because it’s a grappling school?

You already knew the answer before you asked me the question. So,
start looking for a new school and don’t worry about what anyone
thinks about your decision. There are plenty of good schools out
there where you can learn and not be made to feel like a punk for
training with your agenda in mind, not theirs.

Can Your “SOS” Make You A Better Grappler?

April 15, 2009

Let’s face it… getting submitted sucks!

And even though we know that it’ll make us better grapplers in the long run, we still hate getting tapped.


Because, it reminds us that we have a lot of work to do on our journey to becoming proficient grapplers.  And if you’re like me (which most people are), we want to be the best we can be as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, you can hurry a proven process and all of us will just have to get used to taking our lumps (or taps) along the way.

But what if we looked at submissions in a different light and actually detailed the lessons to be learned from each sub.

When I think about getting submitted, I start to concentrate on what I call the “Sense of Submission” or SOS.

Within the SOS, there are certain things that I should notice:

Touch- every submission has a certain feel when it comes to my opponent’s weight on me and their hand/body placement.  This enables me to tell the difference between being in little trouble by the attack and being in serious danger.

Sight – each grappler has a certain look that they achieve when they think they’ve reached their “sweet spot” right before the submission.  That look lets me know if they feel confident in their attack, a feint attack, or a move they have no confidence in succeeding.

Hearing – have you ever listen to the scrambling between two grapplers before a submission is applied?  If not, pay attention to it because you have two patterns:  one from the grappler applying and trying to maintain a submission, another from the grappler trying to escape it.

Smell – rarely do submissions appear out of nowhere and render us helpless.  They’re usually implemented in stages where we get to see the attack being unleashed upon us, creating the feeling of “impending danger” that we’re powerless to stop.  And since they rarely spring up unannounced, we need to be able to “smell” the signs of a submission with our name on it when it starts to appear in the air and not wait until the last sense kicks in on us.

Taste – this is the bad feeling in the pit of your stomach and the back of your throat that you feel once the submission has been applied and you conceded to it.  The taste should serve as a reminder of how we ignored our SOS prior to our grappling defenses breaking down and being submitted.  We should use the “taste” as motivation to move quicker, fight harder, and do everything possible to stop the submission before it’s too late, whether it’s doing training sessions or competitive matches.

And there you have it… a different approach to looking and learning from being submitted.  Start paying attention to SOS before, during and after a submission thread is executed on you, and you’ll be amazed at how much it will open your grappling vision.

5 Questions to Help You Embrace Basic Grappling Techniques!

April 13, 2009

Let’s face it… most grapplers think basic techniques suck!

It’s true, the basics get “hated” on a lot because they don’t give the same “oooh” and “wow” effects to the crowd that other flashy techniques (e.g. the flying triangle, flying armbar, the twister, etc.) do when you see them live or on a video.

And while each of those flashy techniques are solid and work very well, 95 percent of the grapplers that are running around with those DVDs in their workout bags hoping to master those techniques over basic technique mastery will NEVER be anything more than mediocre grapplers at best. The only thing they’ll master is becoming expert keyboard warriors that spend more time debating proper training than actually doing it.

Well, here’s how I think I can help the future keyboard experts re-think the notion that the basics are too simple and couldn’t possibly help develop their grappling game and I’ll use a grappling scenario to make my point.

Let’s say that you’ve mounted your opponent and I told you to apply a paintbrush. Most grapplers would probably throw a chair at me for wasting their time with such a “garbage” technique, but look at that scenario again while asking yourself these 5 questions:

1. Are you entering into the paintbrush with a high-percentage setup and applying the technique correctly?
2. Are you applying the paintbrush in the most efficient way possible so that you’re not burning energy unnecessarily or losing your position?
3. What’s your opponent’s thinking right now (or what would you be thinking if you were on the bottom)?
4. What are all the options that your opponent can do to prevent you from finishing the paintbrush (or what would you do to keep from being finished if you were on the bottom)?
5. What follow-up technique would you respond with to counter each to stifle your opponent’s reaction?

If I’ve learned nothing else since becoming a black belt, I’ve learned that champion grapplers understand that every technique is only as good as the setup that precedes it and the ability to finish or transition into the next high-percentage technique that follows the initial attack if it fails.

I’ve also learned that grappling bums don’t understand that concept and are quick to label a technique as “useless” because they don’t work for them and the basics seem to fall victim to the “hate” of these grappling bums all the time.

Any grappler that can understand that concept will find that those “basic” techniques aren’t “useless” and will find a new respect and appreciation for them.

How to Deal with Training Plateaus

April 13, 2009

Does Your Training Also Teach You How to Defend Yourself… or Just Win Grappling Tournaments?

April 13, 2009

Imagine one night after leaving your grappling class that you decide to stop off at a convenience store to get a soda. As you’re walking through the door, a guy rushes out while not paying attention and runs into you, forcing him to drop his soda. You say excuse me for your part in the mishap, even though it wasn’t your fault, and hope that will resolve the issue.

Unfortunately, our rude friend decides to call you a few dirty names and demands that you buy him another soda before he kicks your butt. You try reasoning with him and are forced to accept the fact that he’s not going to let this thing end peacefully.

And as you try one final attempt to resolve the issue peacefully, our rude friend decides to…

Now, I ended the scenario right there because I don’t want to say exactly how it turns out because it can end a number of way (e.g. guy takes a swing at you, guy accepts your apology, guy realizes he wasn’t paying attention, etc.). But the question I want you to ask yourself is this:

Does your grappling training prepare you for this kind of situation or is it geared more toward competitions?

Why am I asking this question, you may ask?

Ever since grappling emerged on the MMA scene in the early 1990s, millions of people have joined grappling schools around the world hoping to learn how to defend themselves, like we saw an underdog named Royce Gracie do in those early UFC matches.

There were some schools that taught their people how to fight. But unfortunately, there were far too many schools that made their students only sport tournament practitioners that couldn’t defend themselves in those kind of situation mentioned above.

They never learned how to throw a punch, kick, head butt, bite someone, the right mindset for self-defense or even how to hit someone with a brick to get to safety… but they know how to apply an armbar or 3 different ways to escape a triangle choke.

Now don’t get me wrong because I’m not against sport grappling at all. I just believe that every school should provide a vehicle to teach their students how to protect themselves outside of the sport tournament rules framework.

I also believe it’s the responsibility of each student to ensure that they learn how to defend themselves so they will feel confident in their abilities to deal with those kinds of situations when they occur and can’t be resolved peacefully.

Flying triangles look cool, but they won’t do you any good if someone slaps you, puts you in a headlock and throws you down to the ground while you flounder there helplessly. How are you going to explain why you got beaten up at the store when you’re telling everyone that you’re at the gym “fighting” 4 days a week?