Prepared by Eric J. Spirtas
FIRST DAYS “ SEEKING AN EDUCATION”
As a studying Martial Artist, striving for Black-Belt status, I clearly recognize that which has been bestowed upon me. I have been exposed to and seized an opportunity to join an elite group. This special community feels like a private club that offers me both; a psychological escape from my work day while I still manage to development my inner state of mind.
Having initially joined the Kirkwood Tracy’s Karate Studio in 1982, during high school, I decided to begin my karate studies, merely for self defense. I took an eighteen year sabbatical and returned once I had fully engaged in my adult business career during mid 2001.
I took to the school again as if I had never been gone. I am not certain when I recognized that my re-involvement with; Martial Arts and Chinese Kenpo by way of Tracy’s Karate of Kirkwood, had entered my system like an irremovable venom but I am certain now that I am wholly affected by it all. I have selected a school and earned my way on to a World Class competition team. The words “World Class” must not to be taken lightly.
The leadership offered by those around me for the many years I have studied has been unending, and through that I have gained an overwhelming amount of knowledge, courage and poise during my quest to become a first degree black belt, national champion, successful father, caring husband, and an accomplished businessman. As I reach this level I recognize I am undertaking a life long ambition.
Have the days and hours in the Do-Jo positively affected more than my health and mind? Absolutely! I have learned to craft every business dealing on the same principles that I have learned in the Karate Game.
PREPARATION / PERSPIRATION WORK IN THE CLASS ROOM AND RING
Grade school, high school, college, and the family business; are we assured success if we go to school and come from a family of accomplished business persons?
Karate lessons, group classes and belt presentations, does this make us a great martial artist; are we guaranteed ability to battle and compete at the highest level if we are associated with a school that has nationally ranked competitors?
We are taught to study in school, but that does not guarantee success in the business world.
We are taught techniques, forms, and point sparring in class, but that is not what assures top ranking at our age or level.
In both venues, we must know our topic, our domain, and every component associated with that ensuing battle. In business presentations or combative fighting, we must have a plan and a contingent strategy in case our opponent is as well equipped, able to adjusted or possibly simply better than us.
In my family business, I was taught a trade, in my karate experience I was taught an art. In both my business and in the arena of tournament competitive forms, weapons demonstration and fighting, I have found progress by seeking out those experts that can see the real prize. By finding a mentor and modeling their actions, I too can maximize my ability. The trust award is not a trophy or a contract, but more like a life long skill and ability that is only available after unspeakably hard work and training. Knowledge and experience! This can be used forever at any moment in or out of the Board Room and Ring!
For a successful presentation or victory at the heat of battle, regimented study must occur. Practice, review, critique, and exact execution are what enable the contender in Business or the Ring. To spend time studying and mastering a specialty requires a focus on the essence of what one is trying to accomplish. We know when we are ready to try our skill, and we are certain when the training has paid off.
TIME TO BATTLE – DON’T EVER NEVER-EVER DUCK THE COMPETITION!
From the moment you arrive in the stadium or boardroom you consider your competition. You think about what they have that you don’t have. You think about what they know that you don’t know, or whether they will surprise you or even sabotage your effort with a secret weapon. Are they better conditioned, better trained, more experienced?
It comes down to the moment on the line or at the podium. Face to face with your competition or customer. It is time to perform that which you have prepared for mentally and physically. Your speech, report, your routine is ready€¦and then you must attack as it has been practiced and planned, that is when you deliver.
It is decision time, time for quick and effective choices, keeping it together, with a calm resolve, thus focusing effort on success, not personal sabotage or internal destruction.
During the Battle there is the inner voice that speaks from within, but coupled with the private messages you struggle to understand and respond to in any encounter, the other sound that of your coach, mentor, and guide in life, must be heard. The voice is there and you must train yourself to hear it! One voice from within and one voice from the sideline; two voices with the same mission, trained to work in unison. You say go and that is when the first word or first punch establishes the mood and the basis of what is to come or what is to be made of the competition.
You will not win every exchange, you cannot expect to know every response, but the successful business person, competitor, knows how to adjust, and when it is time to change the approach.
The fight experience with words or fists, separates us from most, and engages us with a few.
The Signs of a Winner
THE HIGHEST LEVEL
Over the last few years I have engaged in business all around the nation with some individuals that dwarf my experience and capacity. In karate competition I have also traveled the nation and competed with individuals that too eclipse my understanding and power. Despite the level of competition or challenge, I have managed to find success.
In fact, it was the strength gained through a combination of training for and participating in karate tournaments in the world of Local and National competition that built my inner force, enabling a life decision to leave my family’s 50 year old business, and start my own company. Only from the training started in the Do-Jo, could I have gained the patience and depth to step out on my own. This was not an unstudied thought, but more so a necessary step for personal peace and a brightened future. I feel most centered through my steady karate training.
In both worlds; of business and karate, I have found myself working with individuals that were; older, younger, smarter, less wise, more experienced, less knowledgeable, selfish, selfless. I met those that had nothing to offer and others that had everything to offer. At times I have learned and followed, and in other times I have taught and led, both experiences aid in crafting my attitude and understanding of people, business and my ability.
I feel that I have built an industrial armor from my experience in the Do-Jo.
That is my take home value and what I use everyday.
THE TRUEST COMPARISON
As a black belt I am reminded of the Lewis System titled the Key Sparring Principles. As I study these very basic concepts, I recognize immediately that these too are Key Business Principles.
In a simple comparison:
Distance is the first thing to watch for when trying to teach someone to fight. Proximity too is important in Business. One must recognize individual space and what is appropriate when talking and negotiating. Whether you touch an arm or move closer or away form your audience for emphasis, each movement sets the tone of what it is you are saying.
The offensive fighter mostly uses timing. What they are looking for is the defensive fighter to become unset. Timing, insofar as; arrival, verbal delivery, facial expression and tone are all basic to the success of a speech or presentation. Incorrect delivery, to slow or fast, and the best information can lose value.
BEING ON THE LINE WITH A PLAN
When you learn your distance you must try not to be on the line without a plan of attack. The defensive fighter should try to keep the offensive fighter from being on the line. A wise business person never stands on the stage or at the podium without having a clear and tried plan. Even the most prepared presenter or sales person stands at risk without a basic plan of action in front of the customer.
VARY YOUR DEFENSE
When a fighter can vary their defense by direction such as going in, fading out or going off angle will create hesitation and usually make your opponent attack from to far. Know your company, its history, and all of its ups and downs, so nobody can put you in a position of discomfort. A simple comment against the firm you represent, or the product you endorse can throw you in a tail spin if you are not prepared to calmly and respectfully counter and respond.
ACTION CREATES REACTION
You are always creating reactions from your opponent. Try to use this against them. A good presentation provokes thought and related interpretations. This will inevitably lead to a further conversation, good questions and project interaction that can lead to a favorable close.
EVALUATE MATCHES AHEAD OF TIME
Realize what you want, a high scoring match or a low scoring match. What will be considered success, a single sale or a massive sale? Set your sites on a delivery that result in the outcome of your desire, and be sure you can deliver what you sell.
CONTROL THE FIGHT
You must always want to control who is on offense and who is on defense. You must also know where the line is and control who is on it. You always want to fight like you fight rather than fight how your opponent wants you to fight. This is why you would want to be a balanced fighter. Respectfully and tactfully control the meeting. By preparing a clear and intelligent agenda, one can lead the meeting without offending the client or audience. Know the limits of the interaction and have skills to bring the topics back to the essence of the meeting. If a presenter allows the meeting and the discussion to go astray, a missed conclusion or a negative result could occur.
KNOW YOUR ARSENAL
By knowing your arsenal well, you will have fewer unset moments. Know what you have instantly from both sides, defensively and offensively. Know your product and service. Have an understanding of the success and failures of the items you sell. Be prepared to debate with the most skeptical buyer or the most unknowledgeable heckler.
KNOW YOUR BREAD AND BUTTER TECHNIQUE
You must have at least one goto technique. It is nice to have one off both sides. This is only offensive for when you are down or tied and time is running out and you feel you must score now. When the client is ready to buy, you sell. Know the time and act quickly to get the order. Don’t oversell, or talk your client out of a sale.
THROW ALL WEAPONS CORRECTLY
Have your weapons down so you don’t have to think about how to throw it or when. When you throw it you know it will be perfect. Speech giving, selling, or negotiating all rely on having a way to come back with a comment, change directions of the conversation, and drive down on the bargain at the right time. That requires the use of several communication weapons that must be used correctly.
Watch other fighters and visualize fighting them. This can show you how to fight them and give you a clear view of the openings. It will also slow down the fight for you. By studying the audience, it is simple to pick out the individuals that are truly engaged, and the ones that want to go home. By watching the way that the group acts and interacts, a prudent deliverer can seek eye contact, head nodding or a clearer acknowledgment as he delivers his presentation.
It is about learning, practicing and succeeding. That is what this group, team and system promotes. I am blessed to be a part of it.