Thursday, February 18, 2016

Learning Business from Jiu Jitsu

People Don't Like to Be Uncomfortable

Unfortunately business like Jiu Jitsu can occasionally be uncomfortable, and both disciplines could stand to learn a thing or two from each other.  Its not as if Jack from accounting will choke you out at the water cooler, nor will you be able to talk your way out of a darce choke while rolling on the mats. However, growing accustomed to that feeling of being uncomfortable means that you are learning.

I cannot profess to understand Jiu Jitsu at a high level, at the time of writing this article I am only a three stripe white belt, however I do see the parallels in business life.  Living and working in Dover New Hampshire I have many, much larger and more skilled competitors and in dealing with them I need to understand my leverage.


Ultimately when someone talks about leverage, they are talking about using minimum effort for maximum effect. In a martial arts sense, generally we are talking about ways of controlling someone whereby a smaller person can do so to a bigger guy with minimum effort.

Leverage is about using levers. Medically, there are many levers in the body. But in a BJJ context, we are mainly talking about the levers on the skeleton. The primary lever is the spine, from the top of your head to the tailbone, and the 2 major levers the shoulders and the hips. The purpose of the shoulders and the hips are to control the spine.

This concept carries through to the minor levers too. So for example, the tarsals control the tibia & fibula, which controls the femur, which in turn controls the hips, which ultimately controls the spine.
Similarly, the carpels control the ulna & radius, which controls the humerous, which controls the shoulder, which again ultimately controls the spine.

More specifically for BJJ, we use leverage to bring an opponent to the ground and to control him/her there. That is the emphasis of our game.

In a business context this applies as well, as a smaller more nimble firm you may be able to outpace a larger opponent, or create pressure in an area of the market which they did not anticipate and cannot respond to quickly.


That last snippet leads to a final thought about battle, its about small movements, especially when your opponent is a large lumbering beast.  You aren’t going to out muscle them.  Its all about gaining territory in warfare.  

Take you time and move efficiently if you can both in business and on the mats!

Now – if I could just learn that lesson myself.

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