Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Post on the Fightworks Podcast

Part of my weekly BJJ regimen is listening to the Fightworks Podcast. Its an Internet radio show that is all about BJJ and related issues.

Recently the host, Caleb, put out a call to listeners for stories about how Jiu Jitsu helps us while away from the mats. He wanted people to call in and leave a message, but anyone who knows me knows that making phone calls during the day is nearly impossible for me so I sent him an e-mail instead. To my delight Caleb posted my e-mail to his website as an example of what he was looking for from listeners. Here is the link:

Here is the full text of the post:

I understand that if one thinks long and hard enough they can weave a metaphor relating anything to anything, but I believe the following is true from what I have observed. It may be cliché but that is only because it is true.

I work in the aerospace industry here in Southern California. The industry as a whole can be a very competitive and at times cutthroat environment.
BJJ has taught me to seek and secure position first. In business I see. all too often, colleagues make moves prematurely when they were not in the proper position to do so. I’m not speaking necessarily of position in the sense of job title or rank but more in a state of overall preparedness or mindset.

I’ve seen very competent people throughout the industry self destruct at key moments because they were not in the proper position. They might have been in the right place; they had passed to side control for instance, but they were sloppy and consequentially, they were the one to get swept or submitted.

I have learned this lesson all too well, on and off the mats. Seek and establish position first. In business, be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves or for when you can make them happen. It may take years of attempts to pass the proverbial guard in a situation at the office but when it happens, you had better be prepared to get and secure the position.

Of course the next lesson is to seek the submission. I don’t mean this in the 1987 “Wall Street” corporate raider sense. But in business, just like on the mats, there must be an objective to what one is doing or what is the point? If a business functions as a lazy grappler and only plays defense, sure it may avoid chokes or submissions but it will certainly lose in the end.
Once position is gained, that is the time to use all of that preparation to attain the desired end. On the mats it’s a choke or a joint lock, while in business its fighting for a new contract or a promotion or insert desired outcome here.

But I think overwhelmingly the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from BJJ that has proven to be the most practical in my career is knowing when to let a move go. As grapplers we are all guilty of pride and at times we have all held on to a submission attempt that we didn’t quite have for too long. While a small percentage of the time, against inexperienced opponents, we succeed; most of the time doing so is to our detriment. Again, I have been guilty in my own career of clinging to pet projects that were destined to be failures for far too long. BJJ has taught me to know when an attempt is not working and when it is time to switch to another attack.

BJJ has done so much for me in so many other ways but without writing an entire book, it would be impossible to expound on all of them. BJJ has made me lose weight, gain focus and find myself; all while in the company of great people, what more could one ask for?

Thanks for the exposure Caleb!

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