So you’ve got yourself a grappler – congratulations, you’ve just started a relationship that is equal parts rewarding, mystifying and washing training clothes. Having a grappler of your own can be a challenging experience introducing you to new cultures, foods, smells and doctor’s waiting rooms. Knowing how to properly care for your grappler – cause they sure as hell aren’t going to care for themselves – is a key part of having a happy and healthy relationship.

The following guide should help you through those first tricky weeks.

Grooming
The grooming needs of a grappler vary greatly. The short haired breeds need little more than a reminder to bath regularly but the longer haired breeds, and the breeds that depend upon their plumage to attract a mate, could require various oils, gels, clips and ties as well as your direct assistance to achieve the desired look.

Regardless of the type of grappler you own there two must have items: Nail clippers, which should be used weekly, and Anti bacterial soap, which should be used daily.

Socialising
Grapplers are social animals that don’t cope well if they become isolated from others of their own kind. Failure to properly socialise your grappler can lead to them becoming listless, confused, pain free and likely to start exhibiting inappropriate behaviour towards non grapplers usually prefaced by the phrase “hey, come here…. I want to try something”.

Depending on the age and breed you will need to socialise your grappler anywhere between twice a week to twice a day.

Medical care
Determining the appropriate level of medical care for your grappler can often be confusing. Typically a grappler will either be visibly maimed while insisting that nothing is wrong and that they will definitely be going to training tonight or exhibit no signs of distress whatsoever but constantly regale you with predictions of their impending death before saying that they will definitely be going to training tonight.

That said, a medical cabinet that is well stocked with the following items should take care of most situations.

  • Tape
  • Aspirin
  • Tape
  • Ice packs
  • Tiger balm
  • Compression sleeves
  • More tape

Communication
Communicating with your grappler can be tricky at first but a few simple tips will see you conversing in no time.

1. Begin all conversations by saying “ok guys”.

2. Pronounce all “r”s like “h”. All of them. Even when saying words that aren’t Brazilian Portuguese.

3. Instead of using full stops to end your sentences start saying “Porra” instead.

4. Finally you can indicate approval, disagreement, indifference or the need to pass wind by extending your thumb and pinky finger like you’re about to answer the gadget phone and shaking your hand around.

Occasionally your grappler may attempt to talk to you about grappling. Now it’s not actually necessary to understand what your grappler is saying – let’s face it, how could you? – but appearing to listen to their incoherent ramblings can be a bonding experience. To participate all you need to do is insert one of these handy phrases whenever your grappler has to pause to draw breath:

“That guy just muscles everything. No technique at all.”

“The knee reaping rule is stupid.”

“They really need to learn some takedowns.”

“Rickson is the best.”

In some sad cases your grappler may begin responding to all questions, statements, gestures and light operettas with the sound “oos”. If your grappler starts demonstrating this tendency it needs to cracked down upon immediately – I suggest a rolled copy of the script of Hamilton to the nose for each infraction – as the only options for long term abusers is to be put down or enrolled in a karate club.

Diet
When feeding your grappler it’s important to understand that their diet consists primarily of fads, poorly backed up popular science and what Rick from the gym told them.

You also need to realise that your grappler is never the right weight. Depending on various factors – how their last training session went, how close they are to competition, the phase of the moon – your grappler will either be desperately trying to strip fat or pack on muscle but, regardless of which, self sabotaging their efforts the entire time.

Acai also plays a prominent role for some reason. Don’t ask.

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