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The 10 Basic Kaizen Principles


I was sitting in my business networking meeting earlier this week and during our educational moment, we talked about “The Ten Basic Kaizen Principles.” If you’re not familiar with the term “Kaizen”, it is Japanese meaning “continuous improvement”. Of course, I immediately thought of jiu jitsu and how these principles could be applied there, too.

The 10 Basic Kaizen Principles

1. Throw out all your old fixed ideas on how to do things.
2. No blame—treat others as you want to be treated.
3. Think positive—don’t say can’t.
4. Don’t wait for perfection. 50% improvement now is fine.
5. Correct mistakes as soon as they are found.
6. Don’t substitute money for thinking—creativity before capital.
7. Keep asking why until you get to the root cause.
8. Better the wisdom of 5 people that then the expertise of 1.
9. Base decisions on data not opinions.
10. Improvement is not made from a conference room.

Of course, BJJ is an art, and as an art, we use it to express ourselves. This is why so many “new” guards and submissions are surfacing. BJJ is constantly evolving, but this goes without saying: Learn your basics first.

Treat our training partners how we would want to be treated.

Don’t say can’t. Self explanatory.

Any improvement is better than no improvement. Work hard to get 1% better everyday. Tiny gains yield big results.

Correct your mistakes. When drilling, try to make each rep better than before. Fix the tiny details, too, don’t rush trying to beat everyone to get done.

Don’t buy your belt.  Earn it.

If you have a question, ask. Ask your instructor questions, this will help you better understand the techniques and principles at hand.

Listen to your professor, but also listen to your teammates as well. You can learn something from anyone.

Not all techniques will work for everyone the same way. Acknowledge what you learn and use what is useful to you. Improvement is made from action. Go out and grind.

Do you see any other ways you can apply the 10 basic Kaizen principles to your Jiu Jitsu life?

1 comment… add one
  • Art Good

    Great stuff Jessica! I enjoyed reading this.

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