One of the first things you notice in Jiu Jitsu is that once that timer goes off and you start rolling with your opponent, everything else in the world becomes irrelevant. You immediately become 100% fully engaged. You become so involved in the moment that you often lose your capacity to think, switching over entirely to a reactive state of mind. Now this has its benefits because you are actually fully engaged which as we will discuss, is very rare in our day to day lives, but to take it even further we must learn to think under pressure and to react in a skillful manner.

Over time, and through consistent training, Jiu Jitsu teaches you how to properly react to the challenges facing you as well as how to slow down your reactions and start incorporating mindful thought into your technique. Being able to slow your mind down and plot your next move in the middle of a chaotic environment that has most people merely reacting to is a crucial skill set for high level performance in business and in our daily lives. Let’s take a look at how BJJ develops this principle by taking a glance at a typical encounter during an open roll situation during class.

The timer goes off, you touch hands with your opponent and the match begins. Immediately you opponent shoots a takedown. Your training has taught you to sprawl backwards, drop you weight and search for the under-hook to protect your opponent from advancing. As you do this your opponent is a step ahead of you and abandons the shot and reaches for your head, which is left low and unguarded anticipating defending the takedown. You quickly catch on but you’re still behind and it’s too late to escape the full-blown guillotine choke that you find yourself in. Time is of essence here, you need to think fast, the slightest hesitation and you will be submitted, technically losing the battle. If not trained properly you will most likely get stuck here and finished by your opponent. Now let’s assume that you do have the proper training and have developed the skills to counter this situation.

To counter the move and escape you must be fully committed. Your head must be sharp and quick to decipher the situation. That may look something like this. As he goes to sit to finish the guillotine choke you simultaneously drop to your knees, pin your head to the mat, and grab his choking hand with both or yours, relieving the pressure of the attack. You drop you hip to the weak side and are able to break the grip. If you weren’t fully engaged at the start of the match, I promise you that you are now. You’ve barely escaped from being tapped, you’re gasping for air and your opponent is already moving to your back looking for the next positional advantage or even worse, another submission. This is Jiu Jitsu, you have no option but to be completely and fully engaged. If you lose concentration for even a second your opponent will capitalize on the opportunity. Every time you step onto the mat you gain more focus and more clarity. You become 100% ENGAGED in what you’re doing.

Now that we have seen how Jiu Jitsu cultivates mindfulness and engagement, let’s take a look at how this powerful tool can benefit us in our business and in our lives. Possessing this trait will not only build your confidence, but it will give you an extreme edge in any challenge or situation you face. Whether you are reacting to the day to day chaos we all face in our lives, or just need to be more mindful in how you plot out your next steps. Here are couple possible scenarios.

You and your partner are discussing the budget at home, or maybe a new home purchase, or even more important, whether or not to have another baby. These are extremely important subjects and you better be paying attention and getting involved. Or you and your business partner are strategizing how to structure your new company, or the design content of a new brand you’re launching. These are both times where focus and engagement will be your keys to success. You should give both your partners, either intimate or professional, the same level of engagement you give your opponent trying to violently submit you on the mats. This principle is the foundation of all future interactions and whether or not you will be prosperous within those interactions.

Often times we offer a poor effort when engaging with what is directly in front of us. Whether it be our spouse, our children, or just a friend attempting to share something important with us, or our bosses and business partners attempting to inform us of important details on our future growth analysis. As people we become distracted and easily uninvolved. Whether scrolling through social media or letting our mind aimlessly wander. I highly encourage you to be mindful of what you are doing when you’re doing it. Most of what flows through are brains or is popping up on social media is mindless chatter that has zero relevance to our future growth.

Jiu Jitsu is my tool to help cultivate this type of engagement. It actively forces me to be in the moment and focused on what is in front of me. It teaches me to not only think under pressure, but to develop movements that our effective when I react, rather than just throwing together useless technique. Be focused, be involved, be engaged. Live mindfully in each moment and give those moments the attention they deserve before they are gone forever!


  • Remove you phone from sight when engaging with others

  • Schedule time blocks and use them efficiently

  • Make your current situation a priority

  • Practice breathing slowly for 60 second, in through you nose and out through your mouth prior to starting

  • Clear your mind of any negative chatter or useless thoughts

  • Have a solid plan and come prepared

  • Treat the person or situation as if they were you and you had something important you wanted to express

  • Slow down, focus, be kind

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