Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Top 5 Reasons To Train Jiu-Jitsu

I've trained in various forms, systems, "styles", and cultures of martial arts since I was eight years of age. Why? Because I was bullied a lot. End of long sad story there, LOL! :) No seriously, it makes my wife upset when she hears me talking about it. The GOOD NEWS, however, is that by being beat up a bunch when I was all small and young, combined with me learning martial arts taught me how to stand up to bullies... and, even better, how to embarass them without lifting a finger to violence - defeating them with their own insecurities.

In effect, martial arts taught me the value of being able to discern the volatility of situations such that I can choose the wisest course.

But, I digress!

This Martial Arts Musings post is about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and my Top 5 Reasons of why you should train in it! If you interesting in other musing posts, Click HERE!

So, without further ado...!!!!!

My Top 5 Reasons To Train Jiu-Jitsu

1) Honesty. Honest to yourself, to your training partners, to the people who depend on your "skills" to defend their safety, if not lives... honesty. What do I mean by this? Well, in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), it is a rare thing to be able to hide behind one's rank and/or experience. However, in many other systems of martial arts, such is most definitely the case. Many high level ranks from a variety of systems aren't compelled, pressured, obligated, or even worthy of considering a full-force-sparring-match with a lower ranked practitioner. You are protected by forms, drills, and formality. In BJJ, if you're a purple belt, brown belt, or black belt... it isn't because you spent a summer in some advanced, accelerated program. It isn't just because you're the most senior student in some secret style and learned the final forms. It is because you've spent literally thousands of hours on the mat, rolling, training, grinding, and getting grinded... toughing it out when it hurt too much, holding out when your eyes were popping out, and getting up in the morning to train more when you could barely move. It wasn't because you put in the dollars; it's because you put in the hard, honest work to become better. In fact, not only did you work hard, you proved it on the mat... over and over and over again... with hundreds of taps from the dozens and dozens of techniques you've perfected over the many years. Be honest. Reason number one.

2) It is one hell of a workout. Many of you know me as the kettlebell guy. Fair statement! And, many of you know that kettlebell workouts can be one of the most grueling experiences - pushing heart rate response and other exertional factors to the safest of extremes. I can tell you for a fact, the drills, movements, and core strength required for BJJ is incredible. Moreover, the sparring can ramp up your exertional response just as well as anything else -- in fact, if you've never tried it, just ask your local BJJ academy for a look-see and roll with a brand new blue belt for 5 minutes. I guarantee you, those will be the longest 5 minutes of your life and you would have felt like you've wrestled a bear for 5 hours, much less 5 minutes afterwards.

3) Sparring-Application Congruency. In BJJ, the sparring is the combat application. What is more, you can effectively train with a partner at basically 90+% of intended strength nearly all the time without hurting yourself or your training partner. This is something that you really can't do in most other martial arts - certainly not boxing, muay thai, or other striking forms. Do that for too many sessions and you won't have many partners left... in fact, you probably wouldn't have much left to yourself if you sparred at even 75% of those striking systems. This is where BJJ (and other grappling systems) really take off; the applicability is practiced in full form nearly every training session. You can't really do that with many other of the arts without causing hurt or harm.

4) It's effective! There's nothing like watching a jiu-jitsu practitioner run a clinic on a less skilled opponent... it almost looks like a demo, even if the match is done in full force. BJJ takes advantage of natural body handles, mechanics, and anatomy in a way where your strongest elements attack the weakest facets of your opponent. Additionally, we've seen BJJ work in various scenarios. Surely, it doesn't apply in a mass effect, however, there were some fairly interesting "team" style ultimate fighting tournaments. What one quickly noticed was that the team which really knew how to get up from the ground game were able to help their teammates out to gang up on others who were taken down. This leads to reason #5.

5) BJJ Develops Mental Toughness For The Worst Scenarios. BJJ gets you used to becoming comfortable, skilled, and tactical (both physically and mentally) in the worst and most uncomfortable positions. Having people on top of you, controlling your body... even your ability to breathe. Such training is a toughness one can rely upon in moments of truth. We hear it all the time; people fall back on their level of training -- rarely in combat do people "rise to the occasion." BJJ teaches you how to keep composed during the worst situations and to solve your way out of it.

So there it is! My Top 5 Reasons To Train Jiu-Jitsu. Did I miss any tops for you? Please share!

Interview #2 with Cynical PT

I guess I didn't learn the first time... Enjoy!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Define Marketing!

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:
"Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved July 2013)"

The All-Knowing-Wikipedia lists marketing as:
"Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service."

What Is Marketing?
First, I want to make mention that distinguishing marketing from pure advertising is of utmost importance in successfully harnessing the full scope and power of marketing. You can read some of my thoughts on this matter in specific relations to Rehab Business in this post: "Marketing vs. Advertising in Rehab Business".

So what IS marketing? There are so many definitions, angles, perspectives, goals, fortes, and points of focus - but - when you really spin it all down, there are two ways to look at marketing.
1) The study of marketing.
2) The practice of marketing.

And, while the definition of marketing is liable to change over the years, let me draw from my favorite definition of economics to provide a working template in defining "marketing": "Economics is the study of how wealth is created and distributed."

So great! SO SIMPLE! Perfect. As I tried to model my personal definition for "marketing" after this template, the problem became more complex. There existed the study of marketing as well as the ACT (or practice) of marketing. I thought about it a little further and finally came to a mix of words I liked. Here are my definitions:

Marketing (the study of): Marketing is the study of interests, intentions, and behaviors in the marketplace.

<< for the purpose of.... >>

Marketing (the practice of): Marketing is the art and science of creating consumer demand.

Through my studies and reflections, I conceived of marketing as having four actions: discerning demand, driving demand, determining future demand, and directing future demand. However, a four part definition just wasn't simple enough for me. Reflecting on the definitions I finally came to: I realized that to create demand, you must already have discerned where it has been and currently is. It is only with that data that you can drive it forward. And, having driven it forward, one can now direct it's path and easily determine it's long term trends with incremental market analyses.

All well and good, right?

But how is it DONE? The study of the marketplace is more scientific than artistic, but the practice? Well, that's the golden ticket, isn't it?

I think it is important to recognize that the four actions in the act of marketing starts as a demand side activity. It gradually becomes a supply side event. However, the ENTIRETY of marketing is ALWAYS consumer focused.

Data? Statistics? Information? Analysis? Bah! That isn't interesting to someone's emotional core. It isn't interesting to WHO THEY ARE. All that mumbo jumbo may be interesting to the party selling their stuff... but, it is the job of the supplier to effectively market their dry information into something fruitful.

I suggest one makes dry information tasty the same way chefs do. To successfully market dry information, one must massage it, marinate it, season it, sear it, and present it as a beautiful dish which is appealing to the eye, savory to the soul, and healing to the heart. (To which my wife said, when I was proof-reading this to her, "I want steak!!")

See! THAT is marketing!

In fact, I know for a fact that I'm going to be hearing about nothing but me cooking up some steak for my wifey for the perceivable future until said steak is grilled by me and consumed by her -- I have created demand, and, I know the direction it is going. Can I get a #KABOOM?!

The practice of marketing promotes a brand experience through TWO WAY interactions between consumer and company. Good marketing gets people excited about a product, service, and/or brand. It is best done in manners, tactics, strategies, and campaigns that connect with core of human experience -- it is best done in a way that connects with PEOPLE rather than information. The consumer should feel like they are part of the movement, part of club, and, "in" on the secret.

This is in stark contrast to advertising - which merely informs, makes information available, presents data, options, and events -- for lack of a better description... advertisement without marketing savvy becomes a one way informational blah from company to consumer... it lacks personability, and therefore, lacks the critical element of appealing to the prospective consumer's human experience.

In my studies of marketing content in pursuit of an MBA, I spend far more time analyzing market behaviors and their numbers than I do creating a campaign to inform the consumer. Marketing has far more to do with the position of players in the market -- it is helpful viewing each piece like a that in a game of chess. Where are the pieces now? Where do they belong? Where should they go? Where am I vulnerable? Where am I strong? Where is my competition in such regards? What might happen five moves from now? Where then should I go? And, how should I about it?


Marketing is the study of interests, intentions, and behaviors in the marketplace for the purpose of creating consumer demand.

Of course! It is an art. And, yes, it is a science. There are a lot of numbers to crunch in true marketing practice.  You must know where to look, what to look for, how to crunch the information into something useful, and then convey it as a logical action plan. However, the expression to the consumer MUST be personal, human, deep, emotional, and genuine. Therein lies the art of marketing.

Some Closing Thoughts
It is easy to say that marketing is X, Y, and/or Z as a conversational posture that consumers should be choosing US! Not someone else...

I challenge you: who is likely part of that conversation? Probably NOT the consumer. Good marketing communicates with the consumer in their language, with their values, in best consideration of their interests. Good marketing sees the big picture as many, very important little ones.

Good marketing defines itself through the value it creates, rather than the value that already exists.

Until I become older and wiser, this is how I define marketing. How about you?
Take care & Talk soon!
-Dr. Ben Fung

PS. Interested in some related readings?
Check out my Consumer Awareness series on Access to Physical Therapists. These posts are a bit over a year old so my stance on some of the topics may have changed since... nevertheless, they are oldies & goodies :) Enjoy!

Here  is Part 1 & Part 2.