(what I learnt from hand to hand combat)

It is no secret that the world has gone nuts. Again. Increasing uncertainty seems to be the name of the game, even the ‘get a job at a massive company’ strategy is failing many people.

The trick for any of us, and our business to survive, and indeed thrive in such an environment is to fight rather than flight.

Here are three things I learnt from fighting, I did some hand to hand combat training a while back.

Three necessary things to survive chaos

What can be more chaotic than being physically attacked? Your whole world thrown into chaos in an instant. Here are three things we learnt and they are great metaphors for surviving and thriving in almost any chaos.

1. Observe

When you get attacked. Protect your face, and calm down as much as possible, observe the situation, who is attacking, do they have a weapon, what sort of weapon, are there any other attackers? Where are your friends?It very simple to translate this behaviour to life and work.

Calm down. Look around. What is actually happening?

‘The event is not the worst thing that can happen, the worst is the event and you losing your head’

Ryan Holiday.

2. Fight Forward

‘If you are going through hell, just keep going’

When you finally choose your move, you better keep moving forward. Always forward. NEVER backward. Moving forward with aggression surprises your opponent, it pushes them off balance.As in life and work, the moment you freeze for too long at least, you will break down. Keep going, do the task that is on your desk today as brilliantly as you can.

3. Finish the move.

Once you decide to attack, to move, you better be prepared to go all the way. No one will give you a break, or a do-over, if you make a mistake halfway through.

Adapt quickly, but finish the move, never ever quit halfway through. You can always reassess after, and redesign for next time.

As in life and work, nothing as bad as a garage full of half finished projects. Finish the work, learn from the mistakes, try again.


  1. Observe – Stay Calm
  2. Fight Forward – Keep moving, adapting
  3. Finish the Move – Learn



  • This excerpt is part of a larger talk, the Pirates one, check it out here
  • I did my training at True Krav Maga, check them out, go for a free intro class. Pro tip: Just don’t eat too much beforehand