“What secrets can Martial Arts show us about real-world success?”

by Daniel Batten on August 1, 2010

In 1993 Martial Arts was turned on it’s head when the different forms which had grown in their own protected silos were integrated into a new form called “MMA”.

Whether you like the idea of staged fighting or not, this event and what happened next has deep relevance to the way you learn leadership, business skills, public speaking, anything!

For the first time: kung fu, aikido, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, kickboxing and boxing martial artists all fought against each other.

Huge debates were held as to which form was superior, and why (in theory) it should win.

When the first competitions were held, jiu-jitsu reigned supreme.

Highly stylised art-forms such as karate proved to be of little value once the “gap closed” between 2 fighters and you couldn’t apply the style you learnt to a wrestling situation.

  • A little later, people who had learnt ¬†one art-form, then augmented it with jiu-jitsu beat even the jiu-jitsu specialists.
  • A little later, those that were trained in one specialist form, then learnt a number of other styles beat those that knew 2 styles.
  • Finally, those that learnt a combined Martial Arts form from the outset reigned supreme … by far!

What does this mean for how we learn anything:

Over time, deprived of a real life “street fight” – silos grow according to group-think, not according to what works.

If you are developing a product too long without talking to your potential buyers, you are developing a stylized martial arts form that will not work in the streets.

If you are arguing about whether transactional leadership, transformational leadership or authentic leadership is the best style rather than taking the best of each, ditching what doesn’t work and simply leading … then you will get crunched in the streets of leadership.

If you are worring whether you should do a customer-centric selling course, diagnostic selling, NLP-training or a presentation skills course – you are going to come second to the street-fighter who uses the best of each approach – plus a few other approaches you haven’t heard of.

Even nature tells us that a mongrel is more robust, more healthy and more hearty than a thorough-bred. It is often our ego that wants to look good, which prevents us from the bigger prize which is winning the contest in the streets by going outside one silo and integrating different approaches in our lives.

That’s why for example in “The 6 Secrets Of Incredible Influence” I integrate acting methods, storytelling, NLP, voice-work, presence-building and good old fashioned presentation skills. The result is something very powerful. Its not a thorough-bred technique – but it’s the one that got results that left other people asking “how?” I use the same principle in business coaching and in business: use whatever helps you get the desired result; technique matters only insofar as it helps you achieve a result.

If you want real-world results, dare to step out of your protected silo and street-test your techniques with the audience that matters to you.

PS: here is a free whitepaper on how you can start to do this for yourself.


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