Approximately six months ago I started training (consistently) in what is known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, based on a recommendation of a friend of mine Chris Reichert.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or “Bjj” as often nicknamed online is a martial art, combat sport and self defense system that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. It’s been made widely popular by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is a very important discipline that Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters must master to be any good.
I’ve been a long time UFC and MMA fan, but I had never really considered training in Bjj. I met Chris at Ad-Tech San Francisco, Ian Fernando had introduced us and Chris had got me hooked on the idea of trying it out. It took me most of the summer to actually pick a school and go to my first lesson but by the end of August 2011, I started.
And so it began. I was pretty much hooked from the minute that I started. I was training about 3 times a week (sometimes more, sometimes less) and I quickly started relating a lot that I was learning in Bjj class to my marketing.
The first major breakthrough I had was learning how to truly stay calm in any situation. Right from the very first class, which I was rolling (they call sparring rolling in Bjj) with a guy that was 100 pound heavier than me and I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to over-power this guy and that my mind was the only thing that was going to allow me to win. In marketing terms, I couldn’t just go and buy a bunch of traffic wildly, I had to actually dissect several different traffic sources and figure out which ones I could tweak here and there to get the sales that I needed.
This became a recurring theme in my earlier days of starting Bjj. I was rolling with people much heavier than me and I had to use my mind to figure out how to win. My ego got in the way a little bit in the early days and even though I was 100 pounds less I tried to use my strength to overpower the bigger opponent. It worked sometimes, but usually I would just tire myself out. It’s like buying up a ton of un-targeted traffic and hoping that it converted without having the proper tracking tools or analytics in place.
So, here I am going to Jiu-Jitsu class 3 times a week and these guys that are 100 pounds bigger than me are climbing on me and trying to choke me out, break my limbs off, you name it. Ok, they weren’t literally trying to break my limbs off, but pretty close to it with some of these crazy submissions that are out there!
I had to come up with a new game plan on how I could conquer this new traffic source… err, martial art venture. I had to do something better than these guys that were bigger than me and stronger than me and trying to take my head off.
The one thing I realized quicker than most people that start off Bjj is that often times it comes down to which guy remains the calmest, uses the least energy necessary to accomplish what they want to accomplish. I quickly started to adapt a minimalist approach where I would only exert energy when I absolutely had to or saw a opening. That’s not to say that I was always playing defense, I try to stay on the offensive constantly just like I do in Internet Marketing.
This approach of using the least energy allowed me to last longer than my opponents that were 100 pounds bigger than me as well as much stronger. Essentially I was tiring them out and letting then use all their energy, then going in to finish them off if I hadn’t already. This calmer smarter approach started to work better and better and I quickly was beating guys right off the bat that were so much bigger than me without having to tire them out.
It’s like a human chess match, which to me marketing is the same way. You are constantly trying to outsmart or out maneuver your competition, or strategically setup some crafty advertising campaigns while having a plan B and plan C in place if your ads get declined or if the traffic runs dry.
Either way, I think a lot of marketers would benefit from joining a Bjj class. When you start off the day having another person trying to choke the life out of you, it only goes up hill from there. I’ve learned to stay calm under even the toughest situations.
My marketing mind is at an all time high. I’m calm, confident and even the worst of problems are not going to frustrate me or cause me to deviate from technique. Reckless power or speed solely to beat an opponent or make money online is probably not going to work. If your technique is the best you will probably be the victor. Technique over everything.
Here’s a video that Chris sent me that I thought is a good representation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.