ET-037: A conversation with Prof. Leonardo Xavier
ET-037: A conversation with Prof. Leonardo Xavier
with your host Wayne Brown on March 7, 2023
with your host Wayne Brown on March 7, 2023
Episode notes: A conversation with Prof. Leonardo Xavier
Hello, and welcome to March, 2023. Man, this year’s got some momentum about it, hasn’t it? Can you believe we’re already into week nine? I saw my daughter working on her Christmas list the other day. How scary is that?
So, if you don’t know, I’m Wayne Brown and welcome to the ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world, who we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET.
This week we are beaming all the way from the Texan city of Houston, although, our guest originally hails from the South American city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Which, not coincidentally, is also home of the famous family that our guest had the good fortune to be introduced to at a young age, and he’s never looked back.
I refer to our guest as Professor Leonardo Xavier, who’s often referred to as The Wizard.
Here is an extract from our conversation as we chat about fight preparation
“…Everything has to be perfect. So limit, the week of the competition, slow down the training. You start to energize, rest, and be ready to execute. So there’s a lot of things involved, like proper sleep, proper diet, eating, well, the entire camp, you’re doing this. But when it leads to the competition, slow down training.…”
Today’s Guest: PROFESSOR LEONARDO XAVIER
Professor Leonardo Xavier, who’s often referred to as The Wizard is a world renowned martial artist and a United States Martial Art Hall of Fame Inductee, Leonardo Xavier is a former multiple times Jiu-Jitsu world tournament medalist, a Pan-American champion, and Brazilian national champion, and fifth degree black belt professor in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, with over 25 years of teaching experience.
Nowadays, he teaches the physical and mental aspects of Jiu-Jitsu to people from all walks of life, from corporations to leaders and celebrities.
His teaching has also reached the highest levels, having served as Rickson Gracie’s assistant at seminars worldwide, and recently being recognized as a 2022 International Martial Arts Instructor of the Year.
Yes, you heard me right, Rickson Gracie of the famed Gracie Jiu-Jitsu family. In our conversation today, we explore the connections between this highly skilled art form with the world of business leadership, and uncover many areas where you, Team ET, can benefit from the applications of some of the insights and disciplines that Professor Xavier shares.
Final words from Leonardo:
“So I highly recommend anybody who like to understand themselves better, gain body consciousness, sharpen their reflexes, understand pretty much the art of war without fighting. Because the ultimate goal is to win without fighting. So by practicing this, the person become know… They get to get to know themselves better and get to perform better. For example, I teach classes at these centers that are detox and rehab center for people struggling with addiction. The results are amazing because and nobody fights. I apply Jiu-Jitsu. I bring solo movement, I break down the techniques into solo movements.
I incorporate breathing, which I’m making them do a dynamic meditation. They learn how to breathe and therefore understanding and equalize their emotions. And I teach them about the mindset of the modern-day warrior, because in most cases, these people have low self-esteem. They cannot put the work and create a routine, a positive routine for them and they always on the extreme. So there’s no balance. So once you start making the person understand, “How do you feel after the practice?” “Well, I feel much better. I’m more in touch with my emotions. I feel more relaxed. I feel more balanced. I feel more calm, sharper. I feel like I gained possibility to thrive in life, to survive and thrive.”
Then you going more towards your full potential. So that part of Jiu-Jitsu is as important or even more important than only the physical fight. We live in times now, the physical fights. If you try to solve all your problems by fighting physically, you either get killed or you end up in jail. But understanding the art of war and understanding strategy, you can win the battles without fighting. You can beat the battle against depression, beat the battle against anxiety, beat the battle against losing a business, the battle against losing a loved one, a relationship, and so on. So it’s super important to understand Jiu-Jitsu as an art of life that leads you to live a fulfilled life…”
0:00:05.7 Wayne Brown: Hello, and welcome to March, 2023. Man, this year’s got some momentum about it, hasn’t it? Can you believe we’re already into week nine? I saw my daughter working on her Christmas list the other day. [chuckle] How scary is that? So, if you don’t know, I’m Wayne Brown and welcome to the ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world, who we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET. This week we are beaming all the way from the Texan city of Houston, although, our guest originally hails from the South American city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Which, not coincidentally, is also home of the famous family that our guest had the good fortune to be introduced to at a young age, and he’s never looked back. I refer to our guest as Professor Leonardo Xavier, who’s often referred to as The Wizard.
0:01:00.6 WB: A world renowned martial artist and a United States Martial Art Hall of Fame Inductee, Leonardo Xavier is a former multiple times Jiu-Jitsu world tournament medalist, a Pan-American champion, and Brazilian national champion, and fifth degree black belt professor in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, with over 25 years of teaching experience. Nowadays, he teaches the physical and mental aspects of Jiu-Jitsu to people from all walks of life, from corporations to leaders and celebrities. His teaching has also reached the highest levels, having served as Rickson Gracie’s assistant at seminars worldwide, and recently being recognized as a 2022 International Martial Arts Instructor of the Year. Yes, you heard me right, Rickson Gracie of the famed Gracie Jiu-Jitsu family. In our conversation today, we explore the connections between this highly skilled art form with the world of business leadership, and uncover many areas where you, Team ET, can benefit from the applications of some of the insights and disciplines that Professor Xavier shares.
0:02:16.0 WB: It’s one of my favorite chats so far this year, and I’m certain there’s going to be something for everyone that’s listening. With that said, it’s time. So let’s get ourselves ready as we launch into this episode, titled, Groomed and Mentored for Success as a Competitor and Leader.
0:02:39.2 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor, Wayne Brown, as we unpack an exciting future together.
0:02:56.1 WB: So welcome, Team ET, for another week. This week, quite an interesting approach, we’re expanding our leadership sights to focus on a new field, a new field at least for us in this show. And you’ll hear during our conversation the areas that we’re going to be speaking about are just as relevant to professional leadership as they are to your own personal development. So today I’m delighted to have as our guest, Professor Leonardo Xavier. Leonardo, welcome to the ET Project.
0:03:32.3 Leonardo Xavier: Thank you very much, Wayne. Thank you for having me. I’m excited for our conversation. Let’s do this.
0:03:38.0 WB: It’s incredible that we’ve been able to connect and bring you onto the show. And if I’m correct, you are currently sitting in Houston, Texas. Is that correct?
0:03:47.2 LX: Yes, sir. I’m sitting in Sugar Land, Texas, right outside Houston, and I love living here.
0:03:52.5 WB: Team ET, as you most likely heard me say during the introduction, Professor Xavier is an expert instructor, and in 2022 was recognized as the International Martial Arts Instructor of the Year. So, fantastic acknowledgement. Congratulations, Leo.
0:04:10.0 LX: Thank you very much, Wayne. It’s a pleasure to talk to you.
0:04:14.2 WB: If I understood all of our conversations correctly, you’re not only an instructor, however, you’re also a champion in the martial arts field of Jiu-Jitsu. So, today we’re gonna spend some of our conversation around this field of expertise that you’ve developed. And I wanna start by just acknowledging that you probably had somewhat of a unique privilege in being able to learn from one of the greatest ever competitors in this martial arts field, Mr. Rickson Gracie. And for any of our listener base that’s familiar with Jiu-Jitsu, you’re probably gonna know just how big of an honor that is in itself, as the Gracie family in Brazil are considered, I guess, Leo, the Gracie family are really the home or the birthplace of Jiu-Jitsu almost. Would that be correct?
0:05:16.9 LX: Correct. You’re very right. You did your homework. [laughter] And normally the Gracie family is the founder, right? It’s the family who established Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, but it’s also the biggest and most traditional family in entire martial arts world.
0:05:33.8 WB: Wow.
0:05:34.0 LX: It’s unbelievable what they’ve done. They really transformed and revolutionized the martial arts world.
0:05:40.9 WB: To start with, a major congratulations for being able to find yourself involved in that family, in this martial art itself. And maybe that’s a great lead in to our conversation. How is it that you found yourself with this opportunity to study Jiu-Jitsu with the Gracie family? What was the lead up for that for you?
0:06:08.4 LX: It has different parts, right? The first part just the positive, the connections, the positive tribe that you’ve since young child that your parents set you with. For example, good school, good friendships, good friends. A friend of mine since 7-year-old from school, I was doing taekwondo which was very popular at the time. He’d trained Jiu-Jitsu already. So he was ahead of me as far as being up-to-date to what was best. And one day I was spending a weekend at his house, and we went to the pool where he subdivision… And the Dojo, the martial arts Dojo was connected to the pool, pretty much under the swimming pool at the subdivision. He took me there. Let’s see what’s best tactical Dojo Jiu-Jitsu. After 30 seconds he was mounting on me, he had full control of me and that’s the harsh Jiu-Jitsu. So that’s the first part.
0:07:08.3 LX: The second part it how things can start very little and you believe in it, and you see the true value of things, and you stick with it, you don’t give up, you’re resilient, you persist and it becomes your full life. And also, I started as a teenager, learning from my instructors. At the time, I had lost my father and my financial situation and my mother’s financial situation changed a lot. And I’m training Jiu-Jitsu at the school. At one point, I cannot pay the monthly fees anymore. And I see myself helping at the school with the cleaning, answering phone, cleaning bathroom, cleaning the mats, go to the grocery store, go to the bank, make the deposit, doing everything is like a helper.
0:08:02.5 WB: Right.
0:08:03.1 LX: And of course, you cannot be close to the Gracie family without learning Jiu-Jitsu from them. So that’s when it was a turning point when I became their assistant instructor is when I started to… Let’s put it this way drinking… I was drinking from the source when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu. And then just imagine 15, 16 years old, and then I’m together with my teachers all day long. Helping with the classes, learning how to do it, learning what to do and learning what not to do. And then you spend time with this amazing guys and if you don’t see the value, you’re missing the boat big time. And I’m super glad that I put the work and I never gave up. And that led me to be a world-class instructor. Thanks to them.
0:08:58.5 WB: It’s a fantastic story and life deals us curveballs all the time. And it’s so good that you were in the right place at the right time, and that led to what it led to, and as a result, we have Professor Leonardo right here in front of us, world class competitor as well as instructor. So you found yourself working towards becoming an instructor, but at the same time you then moved into competition. And not only competing but extremely successfully, right? So how did that come about? How did you get into the competition side?
0:09:42.2 LX: Because at that point, you become a front line soldier and you are not the one who call the cards. The generals call the cards. So if it’s time to clean the bathrooms, it’s time to clean the bathroom. If we’re gonna competition, we have a team and you must be part of the team, is yes, sir. And I’m glad I was in a very nice way pushing to facing my challenges, and overcoming obstacles, and reaching my full potential. So I was always groomed just like the Gracie family members. They were not groomed to become fighters, they were groomed to become teachers, martial arts teachers. But the art is so efficient, that is ready for you to defend yourself on the streets.
0:10:31.7 LX: And when you talk about tournaments, tournament is actually a fraction what happens on the street. So there are rules, there are time limits, there is a score system. So I see myself, “Okay, let’s go to a tournament.” Then I lose. “Let’s go to another one.” And I do better. Correct this, correct that, learn this, learn that, this take more time. Don’t give up. When I see I am a world medalist, multiple time world medalist, multiple time an American medalist, multiple time national medalist and some other titles. Even though I never prepare to be a world class competitor, I was being groomed to be a teacher but that technique is so good. And my technique became good because of the teachings that I received. That even though my focus wasn’t becoming a teacher I did well on the competition. So I’m super grateful and happy for what I’ve achieved.
0:11:31.3 WB: And within Jiu-Jitsu, do you have a waged class that you operate within?
0:11:36.5 LX: Correct. Correct.
0:11:38.2 WB: Okay. So I was going to ask you whether you ever had the opportunity to fight against your master, against Rickson Gracie?
0:11:45.6 LX: No, I have trained, right? But I would never fight any of my instructors, but I have trained and no doubt he’s the best. [laughter] It’s like playing basketball with Michael Jordan at your backyard. No doubt he is the number one.
0:12:03.4 WB: In the sports arena that I came out of, we used to believe that if you play with a team below your level, you run the risk of competing at their level, and vice versa, if you compete against the team at a higher level, you have the opportunity to move to their level and that was the premise behind my question. So working with so closely one of the world leaders in this art, obviously had an impact on you.
0:12:34.3 LX: Oh totally. You either don’t want to excel, you either give up and you don’t wanna be one of them, or you want a lot to be like them. [laughter] So you want to go again and start over and re-do it and learn in little by little progress and you build resilience, you build persistence, you build determination, focus, courage. All this is like elements that make you become better, better, better, you reach your full potential.
0:13:06.2 WB: And that’s a beautiful segue. Thank you, Leo. [chuckle]
0:13:07.6 LX: Sure.
0:13:09.6 WB: For the next part, what I’d like to talk about it, which is to dig a little bit deeper into the actual practice of Jiu-Jitsu and look at how it relates to our listener base, which are executive talent, because there are a lot of learning that you can take out of your art, that the leaders of business today can apply for the betterment of their own profession. So I’d love to go in a little bit deeper, if that’s okay, talking about different aspects of Jiu-Jitsu, and how that might apply.
0:13:42.4 LX: When I realised now I was being groomed to, when I go back, when I played back in my mind what was happening, I was pretty much taking… I was in Harvard, doing Masters degree in Harvard, Does that make sense?
0:13:57.6 WB: Yes.
0:13:58.5 LX: And in the past, and I believe still today, the biggest CEOs in Japan practice martial art because they treat business as warfare. All the elements that lead you to succeed in a fight not only lead you to succeed in life, but also in business in every area of your life. So all the elements, the persistence, resilience, determination, the patience, the hope, the visualization, manifestation, acceptance, sharp senses, you have to feel in business, you have to have to feeling. If you don’t have have the feeling, if you just go by the book and you have no intuition, you have no sharp senses, you’re gonna hit a wall because you’re missing the edge. All those elements, they translate from the ring, from the Dojo to everyday life, to business, to relationships, to every area of your life.
0:15:00.9 WB: Yeah, that’s so true and so real in daily practice, I know you believe in and concentrate a lot on whole body wellness, and I’m wondering if you could speak a little bit about what does that mean from your perspective? So what does whole body wellness really relate to for you?
0:15:23.1 LX: And just like in life and in business, if you put the wrong fuel on your body, you are a twelve cylinder Ferrari engine, we operate in three cylinder, and you cannot become the best businessman, if you don’t wanna sleep well, if you don’t wanna be hydrated, if you don’t wanna be at your best, because you won’t be it. It doesn’t match, the math doesn’t go, it doesn’t… The result doesn’t, the equation doesn’t… It’s not right. So you have to eat well, hydrate well, you have to have your vitamins, your minerals, everything checked, your nutrition, so all this is part of having everything sync in body, mind, spirit. To be sharp, to capitalize on opportunities. And again, this is in life, this is the relationships and this is in business. If you live a life, if you strive to live a life of mediocracy, you’ll not achieve excellence, the same way if you leave a life of excellence, you’ll not achieve mediocracy. So you have to strive for excellence, and that has to do with everything, including breathing, how to breathe properly, so you remain calm under stress, your senses are sharper, you’re able to capitalize on opportunity you’re able to feel. It is about feeling you know. All those elements make you be at your best. So you are a lion, crouching lion in the jungle ready for the kill, whenever it is time and the prey passes you, you go for the bite.
0:17:06.7 WB: Nice analogy. So you touched on multiple areas there in terms of body and mind wellness right, and you mentioned the breathing technique, I wonder if you could expand a little bit on what is it that you’re referring to when you’re talking about specifically breathing?
0:17:25.1 LX: Yes, people asking me what my dear Master Rickson, “What was the most important technique that he taught you, Leo?” And if I have to think, the most important is the breathing techniques, because breathing is the number one fuel to stay alive. It is not food and it is not water. You can go a weeks without food, you can go days without water, you can’t go half a day with out oxygen.
0:17:51.5 WB: Maybe half a minute.
0:17:52.7 LX: Exactly right. And this, and even emotional control for you to operate at your best and equalize your emotions and be sharp at your very best, you have to have the understanding of diaphragmatic breathing, which is also called belly breathing. Instead of breathing through your chest, which is called shallow breathing, which can lead to anxiety, to depression, to panicking, to negative thought, suicide, addiction is something that I work within rehab in people struggling with addiction. So when you modify this, but if you continue to breathe through the chest, using shallow breathing, you cannot achieve inner peace, high levels of self confidence, self esteem, focus, understand your emotions and being able to equalize them. Once to start breathing through the diaphragm, which is also called belly breathing, you are able to feel and equalize your emotions.
0:19:05.0 LX: You know when you are anxious and then you breathe exhaling longer for you to lower your heart rate and lower your blood pressure if you also… If you feel like you’re very slow and you don’t feel good, I’m going to a meeting. I can use a different type of breathing, a more like short and faster, breathing rhythm to have more blood flow and to raise my blood pressure to raise my heart rate. And this makes me sharper when I need more awaken and also more relaxed when I need as well. And it’s something that in our society now, most people don’t apply. They don’t have knowledge of the proper breathing. Most people live in this fast paced society, and they breathe…
0:19:57.9 LX: Instead of breathing…
0:20:03.6 LX: Using the maximal capacity of the lungs.
0:20:06.0 WB: So this is so applicable, not only in your martial arts, of course, but whether you’re a sports person, whether you’re a business leader, the breathing helps to present this calmness. It oxygenates the brain, which is super important. Which brings me to the next area that I really wanted to talk about. And you mentioned it already, which was this ability for you or for an individual to apply a degree of inner calmness and to remain present and focused. And the two of course must go hand in hand. The breathing techniques help you to get to that point. One thing that you mentioned to me when we spoke previously was, in that state you can really start to be your authentic self, show up as your authentic self and use your virtues, and lead in our case, but in your profession, perform in a way that’s authentic to you. And I loved hearing you talking about that. I wonder if you can expand further on that.
0:21:24.1 LX: Because you operate everything’s tune up. You are operating 12 cylinders, everything, you have full control of your engine, of your Ferrari. You’re very sensitive to the changes. Your intuition is sharp. You are able to capitalize opportunities. You are able to understand when it’s time to be patient and slow down. You are able to visualize, to have hope, to be sharp. So your senses are sharp you are more present. You are aware, and you also understand about your emotions. If you feel like you are fearful or you are anxious, you’re gonna apply a certain type of breathing technique to calm yourself down and put your head your best. If you are also too numb, too passive, you can also use a different type of breathing to make you more alert, more sharp, more awakened, let’s put it this way, and I can even do a little bit if you like. So the first one, let’s say if I’m super… If I have to calm myself down when I want to lower my heart rates, and even to go to sleep, because I have an early meeting, tomorrow is a big business for me to close, a big deal. Then I use a different type of breathing, which is long inhaling and long exhaling. So I’m gonna do a few times for you to see it.
0:22:55.3 LX: If you call my mother name now, I will tell you I love you too [laughter] because I’m super relaxed, so I’m not… I don’t feel stressed right now. Of course, you can… If an event happens now, it can bring stress. But right now, at the moment, if nothing change, I’m super calm. If I check my heart rate right now it’s 55, so I’m sure it lowers because it was not that low. The other day, I can even send you a picture. I was doing this at the rehab center that I teach this type of program, that includes breathing, primal movements and also mindset. I checked the heart rate after practice. This breathing was 42. My heart rate. 42 beats per minutes, which is considered low for somebody who’s retired from being athlete.
0:23:55.4 WB: Definitely considered low for me. So…
0:23:56.9 LX: And at the same time, if let’s say I need to talk to Wayne, I need to close a… And I don’t feel like it, I’m laying down and I’m on a day that I don’t feel like doing nothing. My body’s heavy and I feel like I don’t have the energy. I can use what I call a coffee breathing. So it’s the opposite of the other breathing, it can use like this one…
0:24:24.1 LX: So I already feel I’m breaking a sweat in my hands and my bald head, it’s already breaking a sweat and my heart rate goes up to 83 went up to 83. Immediate. That’s in 30 seconds. So I’m able to be more in touch with how I feel and equalize this according to my needs. And that’s an extra too, that’s an edge that you gain in business, in life, in movement. Like we talked about, breathing oxygen is the number one fuel to stay alive. And if you miss the ability to know more about breathing, which I’m super grateful that my dear Master Rickson Gracie taught me. You missing the boat because if you look at any athletes or person who has an edge in what they do, they don’t miss breathing. Every area, if you think about, for example, Rickson in Jiu-Jitsu everybody like, what makes the guy so much better?
0:25:31.0 LX: He has two arms, two legs. He learned the same Jiu-Jitsu as the other guys. But the ability to understand more about breathing and also move like, use like a type of dynamic meditation, which you… Can be called flow, makes you go with the flow, which means you understand, you’re able to adapt to the changes and you’re able to go with the flow. You have acceptance and you’re able to change direction when you feel it’s needed. And that’s something else that’s very important in business. You cannot… You have to have the intuition. You have to have the sensitivity, and you must be able to adapt to changes in order to survive and thrive.
0:26:18.4 WB: Yeah, I like that. In coaching, we call that adaptability, being able to dance in the moment. I can visualize what you are talking about there.
0:26:29.0 LX: Exactly.
0:26:29.7 WB: So as something happens… Another thing that struck me in our earlier discussion was you mentioned when we were talking about preparation and we were talking about preparing for a competition. You mentioned that you make peace with yourself by accepting that you’re gonna give your absolute best, but you’re going to be happy regardless with the outcome. Win, lose or draw. And that really stuck with me. I love that whole mindset, because I can imagine the change of state that it puts you in. And I just wonder if you could expand a little bit on that for me.
0:27:11.5 LX: You have to be striving for excellence to put the work to gain every single tool, strategy, planning, executing, and be the best that you can be. And then at that point, you are detached from the result. You are applying everything you can, you’re doing everything, in every area at your best, you’re connected to what you’re doing, but you’re detach from the outcome. Meaning like, you know you put in your best, you put the work and you are applying it. The other person can be better that day. The other… The things that I cannot control might make the world, my desirable to become not possible at the moment. And I have to understand that I have to be in charge of what I can control and I have to be accepting what I cannot control.
0:28:05.1 WB: I can imagine in your area, but also in leadership that’s such a powerful insight that it’s not the outcome that we need to focus on, it needs to be the preparation, if you like, that you’ve put in the abilities and the techniques and the practices that you know you’ve done and you’re gonna perform at your best. And once you know that that’s the mindset, then it’s not the focus on the outcome. You then concentrate on the moment.
0:28:37.4 LX: Exactly. You’re a 100% right. It has to become second nature. And it’s not gonna become second nature if you don’t prepare and you just wish to execute in one day. It must become part of you to become, it’s just like fighting. That’s why we are combining this. That’s why we’re talking about this. You cannot just want and wish to survive the confrontation if you don’t have preparation and if you don’t know how to deal with that crisis, if you don’t know how to deal with that stress. So working towards being more resilient, being more able to survive, being able to overcome, being able to counter and change the challenges into opportunities. If you don’t prepare and this doesn’t become your second nature, there’s no miracle. You can be lucky once, twice, but that’s it. At one point, the boat goes down.
0:29:41.6 WB: Let’s leverage that a little bit further because I would love to share with the listeners, as you’re coming into a competition, let’s say one week before the competition, what’s your day look like? Do you have a standard routine that you follow in the lead up to a competition?
0:30:01.3 LX: Depending on the competition you’re gonna face what, how you call this? The weight-ins, right? You gotta have the right weight. You have to be full, you have to be properly hydrated. You have to have everything. Everything must be… So tires must have right pressure. You have to have oil correct. You have to have the engine running at a certain temperature, tires at certain temperature. All the… Every area has to be in sync. Everything has to be perfect. So limit, the week of the competition, slow down the training. You start to energize, rest, and be ready to execute. So there’s a lot of things involved, like proper sleep, proper diet, eating, well, the entire camp, you’re doing this. But when it leads to the competition, slow down training.
0:30:55.8 LX: You, depending on how your weight is, you cannot gain weight. So there’s a lot of… So there are extra challenges besides the training camp because sometimes you training hard to maintain and cut weight. And the week of the tournaments, of the fights, you have to slow down the training to recover your muscles. Physically recover. And that must lead you to, might lead you to gain weight. So it’s a lot of things involved and it’s just like business. ‘Cause everything, you have to be aware of every single area. You cannot overdo it and you cannot under-do it. You have to be precise. You don’t learn this doing this twice. You learn this doing this over and over and over and over and over. And adjusting, tweaking, and making it better and polishing and not giving up. And it’s something that’s part of you.
0:31:54.4 WB: There’s some great insights there and for all of us about having adequate preparation, having the right focus and mindset. But also about if you want to hit that optimal level of performance on the day, sometimes you have to actually shut the body down a little bit. And give it the opportunity to recharge and regroup itself to be able to hit that optimum at the right time. It’s not only about having the 12 cylinders in the Ferrari, as you mentioned, and having your foot flat to the floor the whole time.
0:32:29.8 LX: Exactly, you must be a fish, you must have a balance, you must be precise. If you are at the red lights with the Ferrari, and you own six gear and you let go of the throttle wrong, your engine dies and the Toyota Corolla passes you. So you have to be at the right RPM you have to have… You cannot let the wheels spin in the same spot, in the same place. You have to gain proper traction, all this you just imagine how many things you have to take care of, but it’s possible. You have to be committed to exercise and you have to be committed to do the work to get you there. It’s very possible, but it’s not luck, it has to be… That’s why in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, for example, we have the belt system. So you have a white belt, you have a blue belt, you have a purple. That way you differentiate the type of level of what pressure challenge that guy can face and handle. When you learn from the Gracie family, when you learn from my teachers, when you learn from Rickson and you become a black belt, you able. You’re saying that you are able to handle pressure and you won’t break it. And you might not win, but you don’t lose, you don’t lose. It’s very different, you don’t lose, you survive. If there’s any gap on the other side? So you’re surviving, you are sharp, you are alert, you are alive. Any opportunity arise, you capitalize and close the deal, you won’t miss it.
0:34:02.9 WB: You’ve mentioned a few times about the team acknowledging here that, yes, you are an individual, but there is a collective strength that comes from operating within a group or a team. I’m just wondering how important has that been for you in your career?
0:34:22.7 LX: Oh, it’s everything. Because think about martial arts. You can learn by yourself. I cannot check and test my technique, my performance, if I don’t have another alive and capable individual putting me into test. So if I got a dummy, the best 3D dummy, it is not enough. I might be fooling myself. So I need somebody else to put me in tests, to hold me accountable for my… To show my flaws, my mistakes to go to beat me. But it’s not beat in a sense of losing.
0:35:00.5 LX: To teach me lessons and show me my gaps, the holes, so I grow, so I become more empowered, more capable. And then when you mention about the competitions that I was a part of, I have the best martial arts team around me because the Gracie family built that in Brazil. Now Jiu-Jitsu everywhere in the world. But Grand Master Carlos Gracie and Grand Master Hélio Gracie, the two brothers that learned from the Japanese in Brazil and revolutionized, they pretty much build a clan. And they build a clan and the confidence in the art and in their ability to perform, to apply what they learn in practice was in the sky. I know this firsthand, you cannot possible to put on one of my teacher’s mind that they don’t have a chance against anybody.
0:36:00.3 LX: You might tell them you’re gonna have a hard day at the office today, but if you tell them, oh man, you have no chance, you better run because they don’t want you next to them. Get out of here, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You can imagine any Gorilla fighting, and you put one of my teachers, the smallest one, Master Hélio Gracie. And you can make him feel its’s a hard day at the office, but you never make him feel he don’t have a chance. Rickson have fought guys almost twice his size, much bigger than him since he’s 18 years old. Like in the ring with no rules, no gloves, no time limits, no weight division. And their mind became… Through practice, through proper teaching from their father, their mind became so strong that the confidence you can never make the guy flinch thinking that he has no chance. Impossible. And I know this firsthand and I became the same way.
0:37:08.1 LX: You can’t tell me, Leo oh, but Mike Tyson want to beat you up. You have no chance. I’m gonna say, Wayne, I get what you’re coming from. It’s a very hard day at the office, but my mind don’t tell me I have no chance. Because if he miss a punch and I’m right on his back, I choke him out. Takes a combination of a gap from him and me being sharp and I close the deal and I know this very well. Now, is it gonna be a hard day at the office? I know what it always was a hard day at the office when I trained with who I trained. And that what makes me feel like that I have a chance because it became second natures. That’s what we have for today. So being under stress, being the nail was an every day thing. At one point you become the hammer. [laughter]
0:37:58.9 WB: So many questions came to mind while you were giving those examples, but a beautiful analogy and the picture you paint is wonderful. Is there anything in relation to Jiu-Jitsu that we haven’t spoken about that you think is really important to share?
0:38:18.9 LX: Jiu-Jitsu is seen as an art of fighting, nowadays. Because of UFC, because of all the popularity, because it serves special forces, it serves fighters, it serves… But Jiu-Jitsu is beyond that. Jiu-Jitsu for me, is the art of life. You help someone reach their full potential, get to know themselves fully. So a house wife, a businessman, which I have many at my school can become much better in their field by practicing Jiu-Jitsu in the correct way, complete way where they can transit to every area to their lives. So I have been invited for corporate events, so a Texas Roadhouse, Fluor Corporation.
0:38:24.4 LX: So I’m not going there to teach the guy to knock his boss out when he has a problem. I want him to understand the mindset of the modern day warrior which is to strive a life of excellence. So by being at his best and being committed to exercise, he’s gonna do the best thing he can do it. And again, whatever cannot be done by him is out of his control. But he know himself or herself well, very well, they know their limits, they know their strengths and they are gonna apply the very best. So is an art of personal efficiency.
0:39:02.1 LX: So I highly recommend anybody who like to understand themselves better, gain body consciousness, sharpen their reflexes, understand pretty much the art of war without fighting. Because the ultimate goal is to win without fighting. So by practicing this, the person become know… They get to get to know themselves better and get to perform better. For example, I teach classes at these centers that are detox and rehab center for people struggling with addiction. The results are amazing because and nobody fights. I apply Jiu-Jitsu. I bring solo movement, I break down the techniques into solo movements.
0:39:28.5 LX: I incorporate breathing, which I’m making them do a dynamic meditation. They learn how to breathe and therefore understanding and equalize their emotions. And I teach them about the mindset of the modern-day warrior, because in most cases, these people have low self-esteem. They cannot put the work and create a routine, a positive routine for them and they always on the extreme. So there’s no balance. So once you start making the person understand, “How do you feel after the practice?” “Well, I feel much better. I’m more in touch with my emotions. I feel more relaxed. I feel more balanced. I feel more calm, sharper. I feel like I gained possibility to thrive in life, to survive and thrive.” Then you going more towards your full potential. So that part of Jiu-Jitsu is as important or even more important than only the physical fight. We live in times now, the physical fights. If you try to solve all your problems by fighting physically, you either get killed or you end up in jail. But understanding the art of war and understanding strategy, you can win the battles without fighting. You can beat the battle against depression, beat the battle against anxiety, beat the battle against losing a business, the battle against losing a loved one, a relationship, and so on. So it’s super important to understand Jiu-Jitsu as an art of life that leads you to live a fulfilled life.
0:41:53.6 WB: It’s inspirational listening to you Leo. I would love to keep talking for a lot longer. What else are you engaged in at the moment, you’ve mentioned the programs that you’re running for people with addictions, you’re doing anything outside of that and your instructor practices?
0:42:12.3 LX: Yes, now I’m doing instructor certifications. I’m also starting a clothing gear that’s called Awaken Warrior, which is for active clothing. And also I have this program that I help people struggling with addiction to beat one of or the biggest battle of their lives to survive addiction. And also I have my martial arts school. I teach Jiu-Jitsu seminars. Not only Jiu-Jitsu seminars, but also corporate seminars where bring the art of fighting, and I make people understand about the art of life. So I bring the elements and consequence and principles to any area of their lives by talking about the principle of Jiu-Jitsu.
0:43:00.5 WB: Sounds like you’re a very, very active and busy individual. But I can see by your body language, the listeners won’t get the advantage that I have of being able to see you on camera, that I can see by your body language that you’re very passionate about the life that you lead and the work that you’re doing. So congratulations for that. And just to say again, the name of your clothing line that you’ve started is Awaken Warriors, is that correct?
0:43:30.3 LX: Awaken Warrior.
0:43:32.0 WB: Awaken Warrior. Excellent, we will link to all of that in our notes anyway. Where can people connect with you if they have an interest to learn more about what you’re doing and about Jiu-Jitsu or about any of the activities?
0:43:46.6 LX: My website is lxbjj.com and my Instagram is Leo Xavier JJ. So I hope to get in touch with many of your followers.
0:44:00.5 WB: I’ve got a note pad full of takeaway activities that I’m going to start doing myself and I’m hopeful that the listeners also really have picked up a lot of great insights from the conversation there. It’s been inspirational. It’s been motivational. It’s been fantastic. Professor Leonardo Xavier, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for coming on the ET Project show. And I really look forward to keeping in contact.
0:44:27.7 LX: Likewise, Wayne the feeling is mutual. It was a big pleasure and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I wish you even more success and thank you again for having me on your beautiful show.
0:44:40.2 Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us on the ET Project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, e-books, webinars and blogs at coachingforcompanies.com.