Jujitsu Leadership

16 12 2010

Every Thursday I have the opportunity to meet with a solid group of guys to go through The Good and Beautiful Life by James Bryan Smith. This past week we studied a chapter entitled “Learning to Bless Those Who Curse Us”. As we went through examples of how Jesus reacted to injustices Smith stated:

“This way of responding to injustice reminds me of jujitsu…jujitsu teaches a person how to overcome an armed opponent with no other weapons than intelligence.”

My cousin recently moved to Thailand to learn Muay Thai and teach jujitsu. He has been involved in Mixed Martial Arts for a few years and every time I see him I am captivated by his training regimen, dietary restrictions, and discipline. The stories of victory and defeat and certain situations that occur outside of the gym are fascinating to me. I absolutely love hearing how my cousin reacts to different circumstances. Here’s a pic of him breaking someone’s arm or something:

While thinking through what we discussed in our life group about jujitsu and about my cousin, I began to wonder how this applies to leaders. What would a jujitsu leader look like? How do we overcome our opponents or problems “with no other weapons than intelligence”? I’m reminded of three qualities a jujitsu leader would exemplify…

1. Security– Someone practicing jujitsu has confidence in their abilities. Insecurities give way to envy, jealousy, and pride. A lack of security causes decision making that is not beneficial to the leader or the organization. Consequently, our greatest mistakes can come from insecurity. Lead with boldness, conviction, and honesty and know you are in the position you are for a reason.

2. Awareness– I feel any individual involved with martial arts is very aware of their surroundings. For some reason I automatically think of the Karate Kid (Ralph Macchio, not little Will Smith). Leaders are aware of their surroundings socially/economically/culturally, they know when morale is up or down on their team, and they are able to discern when change or movement is necessary.

3. An understanding of limitations- Even the best MMA or UFC fighters have a weakness that their opponent will try to attack. When you have an understanding of your limitations you have options. You can protect yourself and your organization from those weaknesses and limitations and can make sure they aren’t detrimental to your leadership abilities. To do this you must ask for help, seek training, and surround yourself with individuals that make up for your deficiencies. Even the best jujitsu-ers have coaches; we could use a few too.

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