Ask the Wise Grappler

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about an OG finding the “missing piece to his grappling puzzle” by accident during a sparring session.”

Well, I got an email from an OG that thought maybe I was stretching it a bit for the sake of having something good to write about and I wanted to share with you his comment and my reply to it.  Enjoy.


Dear Wise Grappler

So are you telling me that if a 45 year old white belt with no contact sport experience goes up against Rickson Gracie, he can just think his way through a 5-minute match and not get tapped?  I’d love to see that happen.”

The Wise Grappler replies:

No OG, I wasn’t trying to say that “a 45 year old white belt with no contact sport experience” would use their mindset to beat up Rickson Gracie in a 5-minute match.  Even though I believe that anything’s possible (based on pure chance or a fluke), I wouldn’t bet my last dollar on it!  There have been people with more grappling and mental mindset experience than our 45 yrs old couch potato (with no sports background) that have tried and failed miserably against the man that many (me included) believe is the best proponent of BJJ in the world today.

Here’s what I was trying to say in that “Missing Piece” Article.

The positive OG Mental Mindset’s main role is to have an effect on the grappler or combat athlete’s performance during a match.  It provides absolutely NO GUARANTEE that the match outcome will be in favor of the combatant; only that it will force the athlete to fight hard enough to either meet the current challenge successfully or to go down fighting unsuccessfully.

For example, whenever you have a grappler or combat athlete getting ready for a contest, they have to believe without a shadow of doubt in their mind that they’re prepared and going to win a match.  If they don’t (whether it’s due to lack of confidence or preparation), then they’ve already lost the match.  In fact, if you spoke to both combatants before a match, both would tell you they’re going to win and that’s expected.  In fact, I’ve NEVER heard an athlete after losing a match (whether by decision or being knocked out) say they didn’t think they even had a chance to win.

There are so many variables that come together to bring about a winning outcome in a performance (with mindset only being one of them), that it would be virtually impossible to point to one thing
to say that’s the one thing I need to focus on exclusively that will determine the outcome of every match.

In my opinion, to compare White Belt A sparring with Rickson Gracie and using his positive mat mindset to force Rickson to submit, instead of White Belt A sparring with White Belt B, isn’t a fair comparison at all.  There’s a very good chance that if White Belt A knew he was going to spar with Rickson, White Belt A would probably think they don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell against him and would probably just be waiting for the tap to come.

Technically, White Belt A would probably be right. But as a coach, I want to believe that Rickson would correct that white belt’s thinking on the spot by saying something motivational to correct
the negative thinking, causing that white belt to fight as hard as possible… until he made them tap!

I hope this cleared up any misunderstanding from the “Missing Piece to the Grappling Puzzle” Article.  If not, send me another email and I’ll try to get it right the second time! 🙂

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