My boy Andy on Twitter just started a new BJJ podcast, and of course I was curious to check it out and finally find out what the voice of a man who can’t correctly tie his belt sounds like. 🙂

The first episode I listened to (actually his 2nd episode) made it clear this was going to be a different sorta jiu jitsu podcast. Andy does an amazing job of relating BJJ to his real life, and that’s really refreshing to hear. He’s not talking about world championships or fancy techniques (yet).

Take this first episode, where he describes incorporating BJJ into a recent job interview. It’s a great story, and it made me think a little deeper on this topic.

It’s Not The Talking That Matters. It’s The Listening.

Something I realized as Andy was talking about BJJ and communication as I was listening–as the danger or risk increases, the onus is on the person who has the greater amount of control/power to improve the communication.

They do this by listening more intently.

Think of a round rolling like a conversation. At the beginning of the round, both players are talking and listening with their bodies. They are talking about what they want to do. They are listening to what the other player is trying to do. Do they sometimes try to mislead the other player about their intentions? Absolutely. And it’s on each player to figure out what is true and what is a trap.

But what typically happens is that one player ends up putting another in danger somehow with a choke or joint lock. At this point in the “conversation”, the player in control has to focus on two things at the same time. They must consider the details that need to be adjusted to end the conversation (get the tap) while also paying close attention to the ways the other player may communicate the tap. This could be with a hand, verbally, or banging their foot on the mat.

The point is that the player in control has to listen more keenly at the end of the conversation than they were listening at the beginning.

So What? How Does This Apply To Real Life?

Good question. The one that immediately comes to mind for me is a work situation. When a decision maker sets a direction (starts the round), there is hopefully going to be a series of conversations about what is to be achieved, what “finished” looks like, and the path to “finished”.

But the finish is so critical. If I think of it in terms of information technology, the finish is when something goes live. It’s the time when things are volatile and dangerous. It’s at this point when we need to listen intently to the people who could possibly be negatively affected by the actions we’ve introduced.

[image credit]