MBA and BJJ make for business

Questions Lead Knowledge

Asking the right questions is a theme in my life right now.  The questions never stop until the right one comes, followed by the answers, then followed by any other problem, which is how to apply the solution. I cannot tell you how to solve every problem in business or in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I have read some other blogs that reference MBA’s and BJJ just make sure I am not regurgitating old ideas, and I haven’t seen anything at this time that comes to the same conclusions.  The concepts that are discussed go beyond comparing business, to chess, to strategy, to BJJ.  These topics have already been discussed and conclusions are available for analysis regarding blogs and books for more in-depth looks on specific subjects.  While conducting extensive research to become subject matter experts can be a highly valuable tool, the truly best way to fully learn or understand something is by engaging in experiential learning; in other words, you have to do it yourself.

Concept of Business

The concept of Business Jiu Jitsu is abstract in application, but after seeing the overlap between the world of BJJ and Business, I was compelled to write about the overlap and share my insights.  Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art, combat sport system that focuses on grappling with a  special emphasis on ground fighting.  The core concepts for BJJ are centered around the fact that size does not matter.  The winner in BJJ truly is determined by the commitment to developing the perfect balance of drive and skill, with a dedication to mastering both technique and resiliency.  Unlike many other mainstream sports like football and basketball, BJJ gives the smaller or weaker person a real fighting chance at coming out on top by teaching students of this disciplined martial art how to defend against a larger, stronger assailant by applying leverage and through joint-lock and chokeholds from a safe position to successfully overcome or defeat the opponent.  As a result, self-defense is a primary aspect of the education in BJJ.


BJJ is considered a gentle art because it does not utilize striking to overcome an opponent.  Fundamentally, BJJ focuses on being able to survive an attack executed by a larger or stronger opponent by applying the right combination of strategy, training, and coaching.  An MBA requires a similar approach as it offers an advanced understanding of accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, and operations in a manner most relevant to management analysis and strategy.

Martial Arts

My experience as it relates to martial arts spans across nearly a decade of dedicated training with experts of varying degrees of style and technique on both the east and west coasts.  Personally, I have committed to training a diverse, demanding regimen in Martial arts for over 8 Years in various styles such as Muay Thai kick boxing, Judo, Dutch kickboxing, Boxing, Catch Wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  The exposure to different combat disciplines gave me a knowledge of how much I dont know, instead of a mastery or higher understanding of any specific style.  

Effective Fighting Concepts

Out of all of the Martial Arts I have experienced, there are a few overarching concepts that are likely to be effective applications in all forms of combat.  The Effective fighting concepts are not the techniques that are used but the methods of how and when to apply them.  The most prominent effective fighting concepts that became apparent to me have been: Controlling distance, working angles, misdirection, strategy, contingency planning, pressure, training, coaching, and resiliency.

Business Experience

In regards to my experience as it relates to Business, I have unintentionally established myself as a serial entrepreneur owning 3 separate business entities over the course of an eight year period while simultaneously assuming a progressively global profit-driving management role extending well over the past decade of my career.  My core responsibilities have ranged from overseeing manufacturing and production for 5 years before moving forward into a sales and marketing role for the following 5 years.  During my professional career, I further diversified my value proposition by following up my creative arts undergraduate educational background by successfully earning my Executive MBA at one of the most highly regarded Executive MBA universities in the world.  As a result, I increased my understanding and knowledge of business and strategy, which has enabled me to develop a quickly growing career working as a high-level, influential consultant with a focus on working with other start-ups to successfully drive them to the next sustainable stage of the growth life cycle.

Effective Business Concepts

Throughout my short time in business, several key concepts have stood out and become apparent to me as more influential than others.  The core effective business concepts that became apparent to me as generating the most meaningful impact are: Niche markets, strategy, contingency planning, timing and magnitude, agility, resiliency, training, and coaching.  The Strategy concept is where I found the strongest overlap between martial arts and business, specifically BJJ and an MBA.


The most obvious concepts that are taught in both disciplines are first and foremost Strategy, resiliency, training, and coaching.  The next are less obvious, although when applied they are fundamentally the same.  For instance, working angles and controlling distance is related to Niche marketing, while misdirection and pressure are connected to timing and magnitude in application.

Strategy Concept

The strongest cross-functional, critical concept taught in both disciplines are first and foremost the Strategy concept.  The Strategy concept is a plan or action designed to deliver a specific aim or objective.  Resiliency is the capacity to recover quickly from challenges and overcome obstacles.  Training is the action of teaching a person a particular skill or technique through repetition.  Coaching is a form of development in which a person supports a learner, student, or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing advice and guidance.  Developmental coaching centers around the process of an expert or mentor teaching others how skills and technique should be applied through strategy to enhance the user’s ability to compete and ultimately achieve the win.

The next concepts are a lot less obvious, although when applied they are fundamentally the same.  Working angles: Working an Angle is trying to overcome an opponent by attacking an angle that prevents the adversary from attacking or counter striking with full power.  As a result, this provides more opportunities to win.  Ultimately, working an angle means exploiting a weakness or utilizing a more dynamic strategy to improve one’s position.  Controlling distance, on the other hand, involves utilizing assets to engage with the opponent when there is an opportunity to disengage when the opponent has an advantage.  Niche marketing has, in turn, become related to these concepts from the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused.  Exploiting neglected market segments (or weaknesses), the market niche is defined as the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality, and the demographics that is intended to impact.  In turn, a market niche is also a small market segment.

Another core concept of importance is Misdirection: the action or process of directing someone to the wrong place or in the wrong direction.  The concept of Pressure consists of the continuous physical force exerted on or against an object by something in contact with it, while the concepts of timing and magnitude center around providing the use of force exerted and the direction of the actions that the business will take.  Using marketing in conjunction with an understanding of supply and demand provides businesses with the ability to receive a high return on investment and generate more significant profits.  This includes thinking about expelling less energy and taking less damage while gaining a dominant position with the prime purpose of overcoming an assailant.

Critically Important Skills

In conclusion, the lingering questions that still remain unanswered are: does everyone need an MBA?  The answer is “no”.   Does everyone need to train BJJ?  Again, the answer to this question is also emphatically “no”.  Looking at all of the positive attributes that can be gained as a result of studying martial arts shines a spotlight on the fact that martial arts is in actuality a gentle art that adds meaningful value both on and off the mats when integrated as a key component to the student’s life.  Strategy is more important to every conflict ranging from business and sport to invaluable self defense.  Developing the ability to learn and understand how to leverage all of the concepts to implement the strategy is the key to achieving long-term, sustainable success.  Overall, the most critically important players are the inspiring mentors and coaches who selflessly dedicate their crucial skills and efforts to operationalizing the success not only of the individual but also driving the success of the team, as well.   Over time, mentors and coaches have come to generate a stronger influence on the success of the talent than often the efforts of the talent themselves.  Regardless of the desired path, possessing this powerful knowledge should make you want to do your part to mentor and assist your fellow person in their quest at achieving the ultimate, most desirable goals everyone strives to accomplish: success.


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