5 Life Lessons From Brazilian Jiu Jiutsu

I find it fascinating how lessons and principles transfer between completely unrelated fields. The connections are not always apparent, we must search for them.

I recently started training BJJ (Brazilian jiu-jitsu) which is a grappling based martial art with a super steep learning curve.

So, I thought I’d share a few lessons/principles I’ve learned from getting my ass kicked from people a third my size for two months.

1) High Percentage Submissions  🎯
In BJJ  techniques are often  referred to as “high percentage” or “low percentage”. A high percentage technique works often. A low percentage technique usually does not work. It MIGHT work, but almost never does.

It’s important not to overestimate low percentage techniques. The best players in the world rely on a handful of high percentage techniques.

What are your high percentage techniques?

2) Position Before Submission 🌈(Emoji game is strong)
In BJJ you get points from achieving a superior position or from submitting your opponent (meaning they give up by tapping you). It’s common to get to excited and try to force a submission without having the proper position for it. I’m actually not sure how common it is but I’ve been choked out a ton from doing it.

I find this to be true in sales as well. Whenever I’ve done my research, learned the customer’s needs and presented the solution – closing the deal is easy. Position before submission.

3) Leverage Your Unique Strengths 💪
BJJ is a very complex sport. Techniques are different for everyone depending on your body type, flexibility and strength. Some techniques does not make sense if you’re lanky. You need to learn how to leverage your unique set of capabilities.

It’s been a good reminder for me. Figure out what you are great at and do that. What comes natural to you? What’s something that you find easy but other people find hard? Go do that.
4) Tap Fast and Tap Often 👏
“Tapping” means to tap your training partner (or the mat) to signal that you give up. The Ego does not like to tap. You can’t have a big ego and train BJJ. It’s too painful. It’s quite painful even with a relatively small ego.

To be successful in BJJ (and in life I suppose) you need to be consistent over a long period of time. If you don’t tap often you will get injured. If you’re injured you don’t train. If you don’t train you’re not consistent.

I guess the transferable principle is to not let your ego get in the way. If your project is not working, don’t be too proud to quit.

5) Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable 🚀
Since starting BJJ I often find myself under a sweaty 200+ pound guy with his knee on my belly trying to choke me. This is not a super comfortable scenario for me. Most positions in bjj are uncomfortable. That is sort of the point.

To train BJJ you need to develop resistance to the positions that are uncomfortable. The key lesson is to learn how to separate uncomfortable from dangerous. This applies to everything. Uncomfortable is great.

Uncomfortable situations are great.

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