The Wise Grappler QofTD:

November 4, 2010

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

William James

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

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

Here’s a pretty cool video that I thought you would enjoy.

December 9, 2009

It’s a video that I received from OG Nicolai Holt (aka TheRealGeeza)
from the United Kingdom (UK) about an OG competing in a grappling
tourney against some young guns.

And before you start saying “what’s the big deal” about an OG
competing against some young guns in a tourney, I gotta let you in
on a little surprise…

Frank ONLY has one leg!

And once I saw the video, I figured there were a few training and
mindset tips that could be pulled from Frank’s performance.

I also liked the way Frank kept working from the bottom and made
that young gun earn that match.

Check it out and feel free to tell me what you thought about it.

No need to thank me, OG!  I’m just doing my job! 🙂

Dedicated to improving your mat experience!

Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler)

P.S.  If anyone knows how to get in contact with this OG, please
send me his email address or give him mine so I can do an interview
with him.

UFC 105 Forces OG Nation to Make a Tough Decision!

November 14, 2009

Whenever there’s a UFC Event, it’s usually pretty easy for me to pick who to cheer for… I usually pick the OG!

Well, that’s going to change in UFC 105 because the main event on this fight card has created a MAJOR dilemma for me and most of the OG Nation.  And I don’t mind saying that I’m struggling with who to cheer for in this one.


It’s because two of the biggest and baddest OGs from the OG Nation, Randy Couture and Brandon Vera, are squaring off in the main event.

Of course, you know that, right?  But what you don’t know is why it’s a struggle for me.

Here’s why:  Randy Couture was an OG when being an OG wasn’t cool.  Randy was out there getting it done when haters were laughing at every combat athlete over 35 out there trying to get it done, but just came up short.  Randy was the main OG that endured those haters tossing the H2O (he’s too old) Bombs his way every chance they got, proving them wrong more times than they were right.

Randy made it cool to be an OG!

And last but not least, Randy was also the first inductee into The Wise Grappler Hall of Fame (

As for Brandon Vera, that’s my friend, teammate, and brother.  I’ve Been training with and known Brandon for a long time.  Brandon was calling me “Master Paul” and “MP” out of respect long after his skills has surpassed mine and before 99 percent of the people reading this had ever heard of me or The Wise Grappler.

And when I was still competing (like in this picture here with Brandon at a GQ Event back in the day:,

Brandon was the guy that took time out during a visit to give me 30-minute private lesson on how to hit the perfect double leg without getting my head caught in the guillotine. 

And because of who these OGs are, they’re gonna go out there and lay it all on the line… with one OG emerging from the battle victorious and one in defeat.

The only question that remains now is… which one will it be since they both can’t win and you’re used to rooting for both of them.

NOW do you see my dilemma?

Regardless of which one I pick (and I have but will keep quiet so that no one can say I was wrong), it’s going to be one heckuva fight from these two OGs for the entire world to see and I wish them both the best of luck!


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Happy Veteran’s Day!

November 14, 2009

“We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

                               – George Orwell


– Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler)

Happy 234th Birthday – US Marine Corps!

November 14, 2009

First things first, in case you didn’t know, the US Marine Corps was born 234 years ago today (10 Nov) in a place called Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, PA.

Needless to say, today serves as a second birthday for all Marines (past and present) and a time that we honor and reflect back on “our time in the Corps”

And as I looked back on my time today, I started thinking about how on earth I became a marine.

It was 1982 and I was a young punk getting ready to graduate high school in Washington, DC with no clear direction as to where I wanted to go in life.  I’d thought about college, but there wasn’t enough money in the family to send me and my grades at the time clearly weren’t college material.

As luck would have it, I started thinking about the military since it seemed like the best thing for someone not going to college, but still needed to get out of their neighborhood and the bad stuff going on in it.

I’d like to say that I joined the Marine Corps because of some deeper reason than I liked the uniform, but that’s why I joined.  I wanted the dress blue uniform.

So, after talking to a recruiter and taking the test, I was all set to enlist.

Suddenly, I got scared at the last moment and changed my mind.  All those stories about how tough boot camp would be and how I wasn’t “tough enough” to be a marine from my friends and adults around the neighborhood got to me.  I figured they knew something that I didn’t know about me at the time and if they said I was “too soft” to be a marine, they must’ve been right.

To make a long story short, I called the recruiter and told him that I changed my mind. when he asked if I was scared and what I was going to do after high school, I didn’t answer him.  He knew I was scared and that made me feel even worse.

Then one day, I was walking home from school and saw a crowd standing around looking at something on the ground.  and when I went over to see what they were looking at, I realized that it was a body laying on the ground with a coat over the face.

I didn’t know what happened or who the person was that got killed, but it was a wake up call for me. I realized at that moment that I needed to get the hell out of DC anyway possible.

Bottom line, I called the Marine Recruiter as soon as I got home.  A week later, I was enlisted and the rest is history.

Even now as I’m re-calling the details of that story, I can’t help but notice how:

– I lacked self-confidence
– Allowed people to tell me what I could or couldn’t do
– Almost ran away from what turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life based on fear
– Fought through the fear and negativity around me and achieved my goal of being a marine.
– Got that dress blue uniform  (

So, if you know a “Jarhead” (and you ALL know at least one), wish them a Happy Belated Birthday!

Dedicated to improving your mat experience!

Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler)

The “Missing Piece” to Your Grappling Puzzle

November 7, 2009

Last week, I was talking to a student after BJJ class. We were discussing various training topics before I started talking about the “Hammer and Nail” Principle that all grapplers need to learn and
accept for mat success.

And while we were talking about the H&NP, the student (who we’ll call Jim) started talking about his own challenges in that area and how he admitted to the fact that he thought all that “mindset stuff” for surviving tough mat situations was a bunch of crap.

Jim’s opinion was based on his own mat experiences, where he was getting twisted up on the mat like a pretzel and unable to stop it.

Then one day, Jim said that during a match, he just made up in his mind that he was NOT going to beaten to a pulp or be finished by his partner on that day.

And to Jim’s total amazement… his partner DID NOT finish him during their match!

If you could’ve seen Jim’s face while he was telling me the story, you could tell that he was happy and shocked at the outcome because he didn’t think it could be that easy.

“Yes”, I said, “it can be that easy because your body will do EXACTLY what your mind tells it to do and when to do it. If your mind says fight, your body will fight! And if your minds says quit, your body will quit!”

I then told him that if he could think back to some of those matches in the past where he was being beaten to a pulp, he would be able to see that the “missing piece” to his grappling was that his mind had accepted the reality of losing and told his body to give up fighting.

Immediately, Jim recognized that’s exactly what happened to him.

And as we continue our talk, I realized that he was on the right track, but needed some more “OG insight” on the topic.

That’s when I handed him a copy of my “OG Mental Mindset Package” off the shelf in my office and told him this was the “missing piece” to his grappling puzzle.

What about you? Are you taking countless “mat thrashings” on a regular basis because you’re mind is telling your body to “give up and quit” during matches?

If the answer is yes, don’t hesitate and go NOW by sprinting over to to find the “missing piece” to your grappling puzzle.

Dedicated to improving your mat experience!

“10 Signs You Need a Grappling Vacation!”

October 9, 2009


Here’s a question for you: if one of your teammates showed up
for class, dropped their bag on the floor, plopped down in the
chair next to you, and said “I do NOT want to be here today”, do

a) Call him a wimp for sitting on the sidelines whining prior to
b) Run and tell the instructor and take the chance of being branded
the school snitch?
c) Tell them that maybe they’re burned out from training and needs
a “grappling vacation?”
d) All of the above

As much as I would like for the answer to be “d – all of the
above”, I’m gonna have to stick with my outline and say “c –
grappling vacation.”

And if you’ve been grappling for any period of time, you’ve felt
exactly like the grappler in the scenario above.

Unfortunately, most grapplers don’t recognize the symptoms of
“mat burnout” and just keep trying to push through it until they
either get hurt while training or stop training completely.

So, just in case you’re not sure if you’re suffering from mat
burnout, here’s The Wise Grappler’s “10 Signs You Need a Grappling
Vacation!” Checklist:

You need a “grappling vacation” if:

1. You’re tired even before the class or workout starts.
2. You have to talk yourself into training (or competing) from the
time you wake up that morning until you actually get to the
3. You intentionally show up late for class and, once there, are
constantly looking at the clock the entire time waiting for it to
4. You start thinking about how cool it would be to just go
straight home to relax and watch anything on TV instead of
5. You look for any excuse (e.g. taking your dog to get a teeth
cleaning or you forgot to wash your kneepads.) to get out of
6. You’re happy when a holiday, special event, or tournament
happens so that the school will be closed and you don’t need an
excuse to skip training.
7. You can’t catch opponents with your go-to techniques because
your movements and timing are off.
8. Your body’s sore all the time, even though you’re not getting
ready for an event.
9. Classmates that you usually perform well against or dominate are
kicking your butt all over the mat.
10. When you think to yourself, “It’s finally over, now I can get
the heck outta here and go home!” once class is over.

During my grappling journey, I’ve experienced many of these signs
myself, but refused to take time off to recuperate. For some
foolish reason, I used to think it was better to train with a
miserable mindset than to rest and give both my mind and body a
chance to rest.

Once I discovered that taking a couple of mini-vacations during the
year helped my grappling, I stopped fighting it and learned that
taking a mental rest break is just as important (if not more
important) than a physical rest break.

So, stop making excuses for not training (e.g. you didn’t train
because your gi is dirty) to justify to others for skipping
class. Take your “grappling vacation”, and watch how being
physically and mentally rested will put you back on track to
achieving your grappling goals!

5 Grappling Tips on How to Drill Techniques for Mat Success!

September 13, 2009

Ask The Wise Grappler:

“I bought the last product you had out [21 Mat Laws of Grappling]
and you talk about drilling being very important (I think it’s
Point #3). Can you explain drilling to me? I know it sounds like
a dumb question but another proverb says, ‘A wise man can learn
more from a dumb question than a fool can learn from a wise
answer.’ Do you drill a move, a position, a series?”

The Wise Grappler writes:

 Well, there’s a long and short answer to that question and I’ll
give them both to you.

The short answer is yes, you drill a move, position, and technique
until the moves become mechanical and can be executed without
thinking about it, like you tie your shoelaces or even breathe.
You’ve been doing both of those activities for so long that you’re
no longer aware of the fact that you do them without thought,
especially the breathing part!

The long answer on how you drill the moves, techniques, and
positions until they become mechanical and reflexive have been
captured and broken down in the following 5 key points:

1. Drilling the Technique Right – This mean having the mechanical
motion, grips, body position, correct breathing pattern, and proper
visual alignment so that you can see the “mat battlefield” to know
when your opponent is vulnerable and susceptible to the technique.

2. Drilling to Execute the Technique Quickly – Now that you know
how to do the technique right, you have to master doing the
technique quickly before the window of opportunity closes on you.
Just because you can do the technique on a willing partner, that
won’t guarantee that you’ll execute it with the same sense of
urgency during a live match.

3. Drilling the Technique under Stress – Just because you can do
the technique right and fast, that doesn’t mean that you’ll do it
under a “live” (stress) situation and you have to account for that
as well. You need to apply your techniques at different stages of
successfully locking in the technique (etc. 30% applied, 50%
applied, 70% applied, etc.) and have your partner fight out of it
at different levels of resistance (30%, 50%, 70%, etc.).

4. Drilling under Common and Uncommon Scenarios – Every technique
should work under ideal conditions, but will your technique hold up
when you’re tired, your opponent’s sweaty, your opponent is (or
isn’t) wearing a gi, you’re injured, you develop a cramp in your
arm or leg, etc.? That’s why you need to drill those techniques in
common or uncommon scenarios that are likely to occur, especially
if you’re competing. You should RARELY encounter a situation for
the first time during a competition. If you do, your training plan
has holes in it that need to be closed.

5. Drilling with the Technique Failing – This mean that we’re
expecting to execute the technique in such a way that it’s not
effective enough to submit or gain a dominant position on our
partners and we’ve thought out the common “mat tendencies” on what the opponent will do to resist. Once you’re able to determine the
tendencies and integrate that into the drilling, that will allow
you to account for your opponent’s ability to counter and fight off
your triangle attack… but walk right into your armbar attack.

Also, you need to keep in mind that this is just the top layer of
what I call my “OG Drilling Tree” and that each one of these five
key points has multiple subsections underneath it. But for now, I
think this will give you enough insight to modify your training
plan to start implementing these points immediately.

I’m going to shoot a video on this topic soon that should clarify
any points that I’ve missed in this response, but I hope this