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Monday, January 16, 2017

BA & Leadership Martial Arts Revealed in 2017

Many of you know, some may not, that. I have been studying martial arts (Ryukyu Kempo - Okinawa Japanese martial arts) since 2012.  I started as a way to do something with my kids.  My kids and I did it for a couple of years and then they decided to pursue other interests, which I definitely supported.  When they chose to leave though I decided to keep going.  I saw a black belt in my future and I couldn't just stop for fear I would regret not going continuing on to see if I could achieve the black belt.  However, I have learned way more than I expected going throuugh this journey.  You see, martial arts is not just about receiving a belt, or having the ability to fight, but rather it is a state of mind.  The first step in martial arts is preparing your mind.  It's not about how well you fight, how hard you can punch, how hard you can kick, how much of a beating you put on someone.  Martial arts is about discipline, perseverance, integrity, self protection and more.  Much more than just fighting.

So you may ask what on earth does this have to do with business analysis and leadership?  I'm here to say everything.  I have created a framework that shows the parallels between martial arts, business analysis and leadership.  I created this framework because it allowed me to bring two of my passions together to show how martial arts has helped me to take my business analysis and leadership skills to the next step.  The framework is quite simple actually.  It's based on 4 main concepts: The foundation, the techniques, the skills and the transformation.  If you think of this from the standpoint of martial arts let me break this down this way:

  1. The Foundation - as stated earlier the foundation of martial arts is the mind.  The dojo is the sacred and respected training area to learn the art.  Before you enter the dojo you bow in to show respect.  When a black belt enters you bow to that black belt to show respect, and when you leave the dojo you bow out.  The rules that should be following to train in the dojo, there are ways you should conduct yourself in the dojo (guiding principles and tenets).  Those guiding principles, tenets, dojo rules is what prepares your mind to train.  It gets your in the right form of mind to learn the techniques and skills needed to become a great martial artist and see transformations based on the techniques and skills.
  2. The Techniques - the technique is the way of carrying out an activity.  Once you understand how to conduct yourself in the dojo and guiding principles, you can then start to learn the techniques to carry out the art.  Examples here would be our covers, kicks, stances, pressure points, reading your environment your environment so you ar alert and how to use weapons to name a few.  Perfecting these techniques are critical because in order to demonstrate the skill (which is next) you must learn and understand the techinques.
  3. The Skills - the skill is the ability to do something well.  As you are learning the techniques and working to perfect them, you can demonstrate your understanding by showing your skill through 2 person drills, katas or weapons training.  
  4. The Transformation - the transformation to show you have the techniques and skills needed is belt advanacement, special responsibilities in the dojo, or even special recognition.  Each belt reflects a certain level of techniques and skills.  Even at a black belt you are still learning and perfecting.  Actually once you reach black belt you start all over again because you have a different level of responsibilities and expectations.
The same is true for business analysis and leadership.  They are both disciplines that have a foundation, techniques, skills and transformations.  The difference is that we tend to short change understanding the foundation, learning the techniques and the skills to have powerful transformations.  It's easier to do it with business analysis and leadership opposed to martial arts.  If you don't take the needed time to learn and perfect these concepts in martial arts the consequences could be injuries or unfortunately death depending on the situation.  So why wouldn't we take the same level of care to learn and perfect a craft that we have a passion around?  The answer is we should.  In everything we do we should take the needed time to perfect the craft.  That is what this framework is about.  Let's take time to perfect our craft of business analysis and leadership and become the high performers we know we are.  Throughout the year the framework will be unveiled.  Stay tuned for more to come....

Signing off,
The BAMartial Artist