For an individual’s stress management and mindfulness needs, it’s well known that meditation is a useful technique. Enter Brazilian Jiujitsu and its forced moving meditation. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ is a self-defense system made famous through UFC and its no-holds barred history. Its practitioners were extremely successful through competitions, receiving little to no damage and effectively proved BJJ to be the best single martial art for singular no rules fighting. This is interesting as most of the time, Brazilian Jiujitsu is practiced without throwing a single punch or kick. It is almost entirely joint locks and chokes that promote the maximising of leverage to control an opponent.
What makes BJJ so effective is its training method. Submission grappling within a martial arts framework that teaches positional dominance and theory is constantly tested under a concept of ‘Aliveness’. So how does this help someone meditate and how is it good for business?
Firstly, meditation doesn’t have to be a relaxing past time that you fall asleep in, rather it is a state of mind that allows someone to have clarity and focus. Most runners understand this and the mental alignment they feel from a decent running route. This same state of mindfulness and alignment can be found while training in BJJ. The focus is on using what you have to the best of your ability. Using leverage to use the strength you have to control a resisting opponent.
A training session starts with a simple warm-up involving basic movements such as jogging or sport specific movements such as how to get up safely from the ground. The instructor will then teach a skill such as how to move from one position to another. Everyone partners up to practice this. Next both parties attempt to utilise the new skill with one partner attempting to resist the other partner, thus making it more ‘alive’. BJJ training is very low impact but can be physically challenging and scaled depending on the audience.
How does this translate to being good for a company and the people within a company. We’ve covered how BJJ can help an individual but let’s move up to a more macro view. What about team and company level?
BJJ is a team building experience like no other. There are no contrived fall-into-my-arms-mumbo-jumbo forced teamwork games.This is an experience where seemingly strangers learn to cooperate to solve a complex problem. I’ll let you into a secret…..well okay it’s no secret. BJJ practitioners do this all the time. Whether it is in a normal session or a corporate BJJ class where it is just the immediate company team. When you step on the mats, you place your personal safety into the hands of your training partners and vice versa. As a session progresses you also interact with other people in the session and thus also interact potentially outside your smaller working group and with the bigger team. You gain, they all gain – everyone wins. If your partner fails to perform a move, you both fail. To gain personal achievement you have to help your training partner(s) as well. Almost like the Three Musketeers motto “one for all and all for one!”.
The entire class is provided skills they need to work through and act as one big team. All participants constructively challenge each other, support one another and celebrate together when they reach personal and team achievements. This is great for a company or team building because the outcome is tangible, measured and progressive. For certain teams, the problem solving can be scaled up or down as required. In terms of Tuckman’s stages of storming-forming-norming-performing, this can help you understand what stage your teams are at and to determine how certain teams of people interact with one another. Brazilian Jiujitsu is by nature a systematic program of performance based on metrics and rewarded through performance (as opposed to time in service).