From the Mat to the Boardroom: 5 Jiu-Jitsu Principles That Will Enhance Your Career

I am by no means an expert in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but I’ve learned many invaluable lessons since undertaking the sport. Please don’t say uncle just yet, you can still take down your goals with the five jiu-jitsu lessons below!

Principle #1: Breathe, Breathe, Breathe, and Breathe Some More

One of the most important concepts I’ve learned from practicing jiu-jitsu is the importance of proper breathing. Breathing properly from the diaphragm rather than from the chest where the nervous receptors are located, allows you to relax and think more clearly. If you find yourself stressed out or overwhelmed when tackling a new project, developing an epic program, or even attending a weekly staff meeting, take a few deep breaths as this will open the mind for you to execute like the boss you are.

Principle #2: Have A Strategy (“This is Chess not Checkers”) 

As stated above by Denzel Washington in Training Day, strategy is crucial in reaching your professional goals. You have to be strategic in every major decision you make. In jiu-jitsu, if you move too quickly and pull one arm out, you expose yourself to a triangle lock (trust me, these are not comfortable to be in!) It’s the same if you move too hastily on accepting another project despite having two other projects you are working on. This decision now extends your bandwidth and sets you up to be choked out (metaphorically, ofcourse). Growing as a professional takes strategy and every move made has to be one step closer towards your desired destination (check out my article on how to define your own definition of success). 

Principle #3: Learn All You Can, Have The White Belt Mindset

In jiu-jitsu, if you learn one move, best believe you’re going to learn another move and another. Full mount, half guard, guillotines, ankle locks, takedowns, you name it, the list just keeps going and going. But this is perfect as you always have new techniques to learn. Similar to jiu-jitsu, to fully appreciate and “overstand” your field, you must continuously learn and improve. Every day is the first day of class and you’re right at the front of the room ready to take notes. This is the mindset of a successful jiu-jitsu player and any master in a chosen craft. Don’t stop learning!

Principle #4: Be Your Greatest Ally, Not Your Greatest Enemy

The greatest opponent or ally in jiu-jitsu is yourself. You can be your greatest opponent by not stretching, practicing, and/or even by hurting your partners which results in no one willing to drill with you. The great thing about life is that there are two paths, a path that leads to failure and one that leads to success. What path leads to success? Man, I’m so glad you asked! Success is achieved by stretching your mind to newer, fresher, and constructive ideas and solutions. Success is practicing your techniques in your field with the aim of mastery. Success is not about hurting yourself or others, but my mentoring, offering advice, and showing respect to others. 

Principle #5: “Flow Like Water, My Friend”

Lastly and certainly not least, jiu-jitsu has taught me the importance of flowing in life. Flowing is the calm reaction to an action whether desirable or undesirable. Now this can be tough at times but as I’ve experienced in jiu-jitsu, everything does not go your way. In jiu-jitsu, if one lock or a hip bump doesn’t work, I relax to maintain my breathing and my clarity of mind and I try a new technique. In a career, there are many things that do not follow your desired schedule, but through your innovative, solution-driven mindset a problem will soon become an afterthought. Just keep flowing. 


First and foremost, jiu-jitsu is a wonderful sport that teaches you more about yourself than you could ever have imagined. It is built on the principles of respect, camaraderie, hard work, discipline, and…fun! As you can see, the lessons from jiu-jitsu can apply to your professional career as well. I wish you continuous and abundant success in your path towards personal and professional growth! Thank you for reading.

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