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.

MMA vs Boxing – A Valid Comparison or Apples and Oranges

September 2, 2010

The Wise Grappler QoTD:

August 27, 2010

“The man who has done nothing but wait for his ship to come in has already missed the boat.”


Memorial Day

May 31, 2010

First, I want to say “Happy Memorial Day” since today is the day
in the USA when we honor those who have given their lives in our
nation’s service.

And since I’m a veteran myself, I’d be a tool if I didn’t take time
out to recognize it and to say “Thank You” to everyone who has
served their country.

Next, here’s the “10 More Common Grappling Mistakes” Video that I
promised to send out a couple of days ago:

This video is just a “sneak preview” and a small piece of what
you’ll get as part of your bonus for taking advantage of the
“Memorial Day Plus 10” Sale.


Dedicated to improving your mat experience!

Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler)
P.S.S. This special 50% off sale ends tomorrow night at midnight
(Tuesday, June 1, 2010).

If you’d like to get your hands on the revolutionary grappling and
mental mindset training systems so many grapplers around the world
(of all ages) are raving about because of its ease to implement and
use (while saving 50%), then go here now:

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.

Happy Turkey Day!

November 27, 2009

I know it’s late in the day, but I wanted to take a moment before it was too late to wish you and everyone in the OG Nation a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

I love this holiday because it’s focused on being grateful for what we have, along with helping others with what they don’t have.

And while being thankful is a good thing, if you feel you don’t have a lot (or enough) to be thankful about, then go and get yourself something or some reason to be thankful.

That way, as time passes, you’ll have more and more reasons to be thankful for since you’ve made it your business to get things that make you thankful and appreciative.

This year, I do have many things in my life that make me feel very

Would I prefer there be more? Absolutely. But I’m content with what I have this year and excited about the possibilities of all the things I’ll have to be grateful for in the years to come.

Finally, I’m grateful to you for reading my messages. I hope they help you in some small way, especially if you’re outside the USA and the Thanksgiving Holiday isn’t celebrated in your country. I hope that you have a wonderful day as well.

Dedicated to improving your mat experience!

Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler)

P.S. Black Friday is TOMORROW (Friday, November 27, 2009) and you should wait until then to take advantage of the sale to invest in the grappling, mental mindset, AND strength and conditioning products.  Be on the lookout for an email with “OG Nation Black Friday Sale” in the subject line.

P.P.S. If you haven’t downloaded the interview I did with 2004 Olympian Rhadi Ferguson, you’re helping every opponent that will submit you in 2010 thanks to your procrastination!  GO DOWNLOAD IT NOW ( so you can take your grappling to the next level!

Ask the Wise Grappler

November 21, 2009

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! 🙂

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)