Judo the Martial Art of the Deal

For those unfamiliar, Judo is a sport which was founded in the year 1882 by the Honorable Dr. Jigoro Kano.  Judo means gentle way.   It is a system of throws, take downs, joint locks and strangulation techniques.  I often refer to Judo as a Complete Martial Art.  Judo was naturally born from Ju Jitsu, which was systematized in the Japanese year of tenmon or 1532.  Ju Jitsu was the Art of the Samurai Warriors who needed to develop a system of hand-to hand combat.  They were the military nobility of ancient Japan; essentially the policemen.  Dr. Kano studied two schools of Ju Jitsu which helped him establish and develop Judo; Tenjin Shin Yo Ryu and Kito Ryu.  The brilliance of Judo is the ability to use an opponents force against him.  Instead of fighting as two immovable objects, you transform your opponents energy and use it to your benefit.   It was several years after I began studying Ju Jitsu and Judo that I realized the same principles that apply to Randori (Judo free practice), apply to negotiating.  In Randori, two opponents vie for grip, the one who establishes a better grip often is victorious.  Grip helps establish the ability to move your opponent.  There is a feeling out period.  There is a give and take.  The same thing can be said of a negotiation.  If you are able to establish a well thought out position you can negotiate from strength as opposed to weakness.  When “playing Judo” it is very important not to give away your strategy, to be loose, to have a “poker face” for lack of a better term.  The feeling out process continues until you understand his reactions.  You do that by looking at him, feeling how he reacts to your feints and attacks.  It is as important, in fact, more important, to listen, than to speak.  This is often how the Judo match is won; by listening and feeling.  If you only practice offense you can’t play good defense.  A common martial arts reference states, if you know yourself, you will win 50% of the time.  If you know your opponent, you will win 50% of the time.  If you know yourself and your opponent, you will win 100% of the time. When all of the unknowns seem clear, that is when you make your move or offer.  Now I don’t mean to infer that every negotiation must adversarial, to the contrary, by understanding the other person and yourself, it allows you to negotiate successfully without making the person feel as if they have lost.  Deals should be mutually beneficial which is where the similarities end.  In any sport, including Judo there are winners and losers.  In this case the important comparison lies in how the means delivers you to the end.

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