OG Starting Over at BJJ After Quitting

November 3, 2010

Paul, I’m a 36 year old OG. I started BJJ back in 2003 and quit a
few times. Well now I want to try again but I keep backing out. I’ve
even driven out to the gym only to turn around and go home. I
suppose I’m worried about looking out of shape and getting hurt. I
think I’ve forgotten all my techniques too. What should I do?

TWG:  This problem isn’t as tough as you think and happens quite
often, OG.

First, you should do is recognize the fact that deep down inside,
you REALLY want to train at BJJ, maybe even become a black belt
someday.  The reason I point that out is to show you that you’re
NOT as big a quitter as you feel.  If you were a “true quitter”,
you wouldn’t still be thinking about going back to the mat or going
as far as driving down to the school, in spite of the fact that you
never stop and go inside the school.

Second, 90 percent of this struggle comes from your poor mental
mindset about who you are or what you think you should be.  It
doesn’t matter that you’re out-of-shape because most of the people
that start training are out-of-shape in the beginning, me included.
You just have to get back in there and let the training get you in
shape.  And as far as forgetting the techniques that you learned
back in the day, no one will know that unless you want to go in and
start telling people that you’ve been training since 2003.  If you
go into the school like you’re a brand new student that’s never
taken a BJJ class before, then there’s no pressure to remember
anything you learned back in the day and you can learn like every
other newbie taking BJJ for the first time.

Finally, as for worrying about getting hurt, you should know since
you’ve been training that bumps and bruises come along with the BJJ
Training.  If you’re really concerned about it, use that concern to
help guide you to the right school to train.  You don’t need to be
at a school with a bunch of up-and-coming MMAers where the risk of
being used as a grappling bag with feet is likely.  Check around
and (if possible) find a school that’s being run by an OG
Instructor (see my website for a list of schools).  If there aren’t
any schools run by an OG in your area, pay attention to the school
that seems to have a good number of OGs in their classes and talk
with a few of them.  That should ease your concern about being hurt
because you’re an OG.

Bottom line:  Do your homework to find the right school for you,
stop thinking about all the bad things that can happen (since most
of it is in your head), and get back on the mat so you can pursue
your dream of being a BJJ Black Belt.

And make sure to let me know once you’ve joined the school and how
the training is going once you’re back on the mat.

I hope this helps and good luck.

The Wise Grappler QOTD

October 10, 2010

While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.

Henry C. Link

The Wise Grappler QoTD

September 29, 2010


“To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.”


The Wise Grappler QoTD

September 15, 2010

Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can’t accept your imperfections, that’s their fault.

Dr. David M. Burns

The Wise Grappler QoTD

September 15, 2010

“Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

Abraham Lincoln

BJJ Class or Instructional DVDs: Which Teaches You More?

September 9, 2010

A few days ago, a BJJ student was asking me for help with a
technique he saw on an instructional DVD.  He didn’t do a very
good job of explaining to me, resulting in me not being able to
help him with the move.

He thought if he told me who made the video (Grappler X), that
should jar my memory, but it didn’t.

And after his disappointment in me not being caught up on the
latest DVD learning, he asked if I watched a lot of instructional

I told him that I do have a DVD collection at home, but that I
don’t watch them as much as I used to back in the day.  In fact,
I told him that it seemed that the more I progressed in BJJ rank,
the less I watched the DVDs.

Needless to say, my comment provoked a look of disgust on his
face.  So, before he stormed out of the school and demanded my
removal from the teaching staff, I thought I’d better explain
why I ended up watching instructional DVDs less and less as I got
promoted in belt rank.

When I was a white/ blue belt, I was more concerned about seeing
lots of techniques and trying to find something that my classmates
didn’t know.  It was more about me learning something “new” to
get an edge over them during sparring than it was about me trying
to build a grappling game.

When I got promoted to purple belt, I got a rude awakening because
that was the first rank when I was “expected” to routinely submit
or dominate most (if not all) of the junior belts under me. And
the truth of the matter was that I couldn’t because I could
demonstrate a lot of stuff, but didn’t really know anything
that could be called a mat “A” game. I “knew about” a lot of
techniques, but didn’t really “know” them.

Once that reality hit me, I started watching instructional DVDs
that complemented my core game more and a little less for adding
another new technique that I could demonstrate in class, but not
execute on a partner during live training.

And since I wasn’t watching the DVDs to get a new technique to
beat my classmate every week and focused on my core techniques,
I just started watching the DVDs less.

When I got promoted to brown belt, I started watching the DVDs for
techniques that would ONLY fit into my game, not so much to add new
things that would take away from me being able to perfect what I

Now that I’m a black belt, I watch instructional DVDs to learn the
concepts behind the positions and technique.  I don’t have to watch
a DVD so much to learn how to apply a technique (which I still do
because every instructor has their own unique way of teaching),
but to extract what I call the “5W’s” of a technique so discover
the strategy behind a technique and the best time to deploy it.

After that explanation, he said he understood my point and said
that he would take what I said under advisement.  I hope for the
sake of his grappling journey he does.

OG Commits to Competing in 50 BJJ Tournaments by Age 50!

July 10, 2010

Two months ago, I heard from another OG who told me about a
challenge that his instructor (Alvis Solis) decided to take on at
age 46 because he was a little “bored” and wanted to do something
momentous on his push to age 50.

Alvis decided that he would compete in 50 grappling competitions by
the time he turned 50.

That’s almost one tournament a month for the next four years!

And once I heard about this self-imposed challenge, I knew I had to
talk to Alvis about it and find out a little about it and him.

So, when I heard that he was coming out to TLI for the Mendes
Brothers BJJ Camp that we had out here a few weeks ago, I made sure
to get him on video talking about the challenge.

You can check out quick interview video here at:


Dedicated to improving your mat experience!

Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler)
P.S.  Remember to check out Alvis’ training blog over to keep track
of his “50 by 50” Journey (including his Super Fight today at the
Houston Grand Prix Championships against BJJ Black Belt Renan
Chavez) at www.50by50Blog.com