What Jiu Jitsu Teaches an Entrepreneur and Small Business Coach

I walked into Infinite Jiu Jitsu Academy/Loveland Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (formerly Infinite Mixed Martial Arts/Loveland Martial Arts) for the first time in 2007. I figured my decade of weight lifting, 300lb. bench press, supreme false confidence, brut force, and aggression combined with four years of another fighting style would allow me to hold my own against a kid half my size and half my age.  Boy, was I wrong.

I was choked out by a teenager in 18 seconds. From that moment on (once I caught my breath), I fell in love with the sport of jiu jitsu.  I am currently a purple belt under Royce Gracie, I compete, and I help coach the children at Infinite jiu jitsu Academy.  This sport has had a large impact in my life, my leadership and my business.  Here are 7 lessons I have learned from the jiu jitsu mats. I use these lessons every day as an entrepreneur as well as a small business coach.

  • Jiu jitsu is the great equalizer. Technique, skill, and proper leverage and positioning beat brut force muscle and false confidence every time.  A phenomenal jiu jitsu practitioner uses their opponents force against them.  What are you using in your business?
  • Never judge a book by its cover. Jiu jitsu is a sport filled with silent assassins.  They know how dangerous they are and carry a supreme confidence that flows through every bone in their body. What do you carry in business?
  • Size does not matter; resourcefulness does.  Watch this video of Royce Gracie fighting Akebono to see this in action. Do you count on your size or your resourcefulness in business?
  • Winning (or losing) starts in your head and is decided by you before the fight even starts.  99% of the sport is a mental game.  What do you decide before you step into the fight of business? Please remember, business is a fight! Never forget that.  Fighting is a good thing.
  • Jiu jitsu is one of the few sports where you can go all out, 100%, maximum intensity and effort while sparring and not kill or seriously injure your opponent.  Business is the same way.  Do you go all out, 100%, full intensity every day in business?  If not, why?  If you do, will it hurt anything or anyone?
  • Position before submission is a term used frequently in jiu jitsu.  This means you must take proper position on your opponent before you submit them (make them cry uncle and tap out).  This also means you may be in a bad position yet be in no harm of being submitted until your opponent makes another move. Bad positions are extremely uncomfortable, but it does not mean you give up. Sometimes doing nothing is best, sometimes moving at the right time in the right way is best.  When you find yourself in a bad position in business, what do you do? Do you move at the right time in the right way? Do you panic and move too early? Do you move at all? Why?
  • Training, time and toughness (mental, physical and spiritual) are key success factors in winning in the sport of jiu jitsu.  What are you doing in business to train your skills consistently over time, and how tough are you really?

If you would like to see some of these lessons in action, here is my jiu jitsu competition reel. Here are a series of blogs I wrote a while back to dive into each topic a little bit more.  Lessons from the Jiu Jitsu Mats, Choked Out by a 15 Year Old. Being Humble in Life and Business, Position Before Submission, and It’s OK to Tap.

I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and experiences surrounding this topic. As always, you can click the coffee cup to the right to join the MattShoup.com community, get caffeinated with me on a weekly basis, read my daily blog and receive free business building tools to run your organization with excellence.