Top 10 Habits for Grappling Greatness

Hopefully, you understand that your long-term success with grappling is much more dependent on your habits than on any group of techniques that you’ll ever learn.


After teaching a LOT of people over the last 40 years, I’ve noticed traits, and personal habits of both those who go on to become very good… and those who don’t. I’ve also isolated the habits in myself that have helped me more than anything else I’ve done.

So, I’ve compiled it into a short (10 point) list for you. I believe that if you look at this  list, you’ll see traits and habits that you can intentionally adapt… and once you do, they can’t help but transform your training & skills.

Again, these have NOTHING to do with technique, but EVERYTHING to do with how good you become.

I really suggest you print this and put it on your mirror. As you look at each one, ask yourself if YOU have that habit or trait. If not, adapt it. I guarantee you’ll go further, faster than you will without it.

So, without further ado, here’s my

 Top 10 Habits for Grappling Greatness

  1. Take notes every time you train, & write down whatever you learn AND ideas you come up with. Otherwise, you’ll forget 50% of what you’ve learned or ideas you’ve had.
  2. Always show up for training …even when you physically can’t train. You’ll learn a ton by watching that you can’t when you’re actually training, and you help keep your hard-won “habit” of showing up to train.
  3. When you have a question about what to do in a situation, find a good answer for it BEFORE you train again. It’s a formula for continued improvement.
  4. Always be the most focused person in the training session. Most people aren’t “intense” with their focus… you need to go well beyond that.
  5. Study (not just “practice”) fighting in between training session. Practice time is primarily for reps of your techniques… you need to “study” grappling to go beyond your current techniques and expand your skills and strategies.
  6. Practice outside of class far more than you practice in class. You’d NEVER take a guitar lesson, then return for your next lesson without having practiced what you learned in the last one, would you?
  7. Recognize that training partners will come and go, but insist that you stay constant. Face it… most people quit. Don’t let them influence you.
  8. Develop (or learn) a philosophy relating grappling to life and vice-versa. Once you’ve intertwined the two, you’re much more likely to continue with your training.
  9. Publicly call yourself a grappler, rather than just saying that you train grappling. It’s a psychological trick called “commitment & consistency” that will motivate you to live up to your claim.
  10. Insist that you become the most skilled (grappling arts-wise) person you know. It’s attainable, and there’s no good reason to settle for being 2nd best.

If you don’t see have these habits, get them. You’ll quickly see the results.

Keep training,