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Learning Leadership Through BJJ Training

Written by Team Passos student Mukul Mathur

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that emphasizes the use of technique and leverage to overcome an opponent. It is a highly effective form of self-defense and has become increasingly popular in recent years as a competitive sport. However, the benefits of BJJ extend beyond physical fitness and self-defense. My son and daughter started BJJ a few months ago and due to their nudging, I started as well. Many practitioners of BJJ have found that the discipline and focus required to excel in the sport can also help with leadership. I agree and now can relate to how learning leadership through BJJ training is achievable.

Focus on Constant Improvement

One of the most important aspects of BJJ is the emphasis on constant improvement and self-reflection. To progress in BJJ, practitioners must be willing to learn from their mistakes and adjust their techniques. When I am in class, there are so many details to remember and execute. At times it feels overwhelming! What I have to remember is that with constant repetition and help from my coaches and peers, I will get better…slowly but surely. This requires a level of humility and a willingness to admit when one does not know something. These are important qualities for a leader, as they allow for the ability to take in feedback and adjust to improve performance.

Trust And Teamwork

Another important aspect of BJJ is the importance of teamwork and cooperation. To be successful in BJJ, practitioners must work together to develop techniques and strategies. This requires a level of trust and communication that is essential for successful teamwork. When we are practicing chokes, submissions, etc., you must trust that your drill partner or sparring opponent will not hurt you. Everyone in class has a joint goal to improve collectively and as a community. This is also important in leadership. Leaders must be able to work effectively with others to achieve a common goal. A leader should instill a culture where everyone is driving together to achieve individual and collective goals.

Mental Toughness

BJJ also helps with stress management and mental toughness. The sport requires a great deal of focus and discipline, and the ability to remain calm under pressure is crucial. As I am new, I usually end up in defensive positions where I am just trying to survive! This is also true for leadership. As leaders, we must often make difficult decisions and remain calm in the face of adversity. BJJ also provides an outlet for stress and tension, helping practitioners maintain a clear and level-headed approach to problem-solving. When I am training, I don’t have any other thoughts. This level of clarity is needed in leadership to solve complex challenges.

Adapt Quickly

One of the most important aspects of BJJ is the ability to think on your feet. A BJJ match can change quickly, and practitioners must be able to adapt and respond to changing circumstances. This requires a level of creativity and flexibility that is essential for leadership. There is no time to dwell on the mistakes made. You must focus and keep marching forward. Time for inspection is later. Leaders must be able to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems. Once you get past the problem, evaluate what happened and how you can handle the situation more effectively in the future.

Goal Driven

Finally, BJJ teaches the importance of setting and achieving goals. To progress in BJJ, practitioners must set goals for themselves and work towards achieving them. As a beginner, my goal is to focus on the fundamentals, improve my endurance, and not get tapped! Making sure I achieve these goals, requires a level of dedication and perseverance that is essential for leadership. A leader must be able to set clear and achievable goals for the team and develop a game plan to achieve them.

In conclusion, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can help with leadership in many ways. The discipline and focus required to excel in the sport can help with self-improvement, teamwork, stress management, mental toughness, and the ability to think on your feet. BJJ also teaches the importance of setting and achieving goals. These qualities are essential for effective leadership and can help practitioners to become better leaders in their personal and professional lives.


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