During this period of lockdown and social distancing, my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) School, Gracie Downtown Pensacola, has been closed. However, the school owner and lead instructor has been providing online instruction, live, twice a day, Monday through Friday. It has been beneficial to me.
We’ve been reviewing in detail some 80 techniques that we need to demonstrate to advance to Blue Belt. The keyword in the preceding sentence is “demonstrate.” We must be able to go beyond an intellectual understanding of a given technique or principle. We need to be able to demonstrate it. Specifically, we must be able to do it, and do it well!
We don’t know anything unless we can do it. When I taught Taekwondo, Hapkido, and self-defense, I introduced a given technique, broke it down to its essential parts, and demonstrated it. Before inviting the students to pair off and practice it, I’d ask if they understood the technique. The response was invariably “yes”; however, when they attempted to put into practice what I taught them, they couldn’t do it without more instruction and demonstrations, and many practice repetitions.
Over the years, I’ve trained thousands of marketing managers. The teaching model is the same as for martial arts—one that the late great UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden employed. It begins with explaining the principle or concept, followed by demonstrating it in action, and, in turn, getting the student marketer to imitate by applying it to her/his brand, and then encouraging practice, practice, practice. The initial outcome is no different for marketing or martial arts students. The initial ability to perform is rather poor, which evidences that the student does not yet have sufficient knowledge.
Knowledge is more than intellectual. It is know-how that extends through execution. Knowledge is evidenced in the correct action and successful outcome.
Now, correctly demonstrating the BJJ techniques will get one the Blue Belt. However, that knowledge is rudimentary, at best! It’s one thing to be able to demonstrate a technique on a partner who is not fighting you and totally different when engaging with one who is fighting back. When rolling (free fighting) on the mat, no one is going to willingly let me put them into a collar choke without shrimping, bridging, framing, and countering! In other words, they will aggressively oppose my technique to make it fail.
Again, it’s no different in marketing. We do not operate in a vacuum. We have to deal with our management before we even get to the competition. We need to marry our knowledge of the science of marketing with the art and perform masterly if we are going to make an impact—as in winning market share—in the marketplace.
If you think you know it, then you need to demonstrate you can do it masterfully. I’ve reviewed many brand positioning strategy statements, creative briefs, and marketing plans over the years developed by clients, and few do them correctly, and fewer yet masterfully.
If you are wondering whether I’ll be testing for my Blue Belt when the restrictions are lifted, and I can return to class, the answer is “No.” To me, knowledge needs to be in the muscle when it comes to BJJ. It’s not there yet and won’t be until I practice, practice, practice, under the watchful eye of my instructor, receive his expert feedback, adjust, and some more. My goal is to be able to teach each one and execute it against a younger and bigger opponent when rolling on the mat.
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Stay safe and be well.
Peace and best wishes,