#21 Brain-jitsu 🥋

I’m Ivan Landabaso, VC at JME.vc. Startup Riders is a weekly newsletter where I go down startup rabbit holes / trends & share actionable insights. I also love surfing and combat sports 🤙


  • 🥋 Brain-jitsu: principles from a combat sports legend.

  • ⚡ Weekly Hack: Hormesis for humans.

  • 💵 Recent Deals in Spain: Sherpa, Barkibu, Aquí tu reforma etc.

  • 💭 Thinking or Reading: stupidity | genius.

🥋 Brain-jitsu

I keep thinking about the (surprising?) amount of transferable principles between entrepreneurship and combat sports (BJJ in particular).

Here’s a good set of quick principles / ideas by Firas Zahabi - arguably one of the greatest Mixed Martial Arts coaches ever (who also studies philosophy):

  • On the importance of hard, strong people: We are seeing a decline in valuing (as a society) physical strength, resilience and being hard / tough (particularly in the developed world). There is a reason why Plato (the philospher) used to say - “No philosophy until you are 30. Exercise and wrestling first”.

  • On mental toughness: Self-imposed physical exercise can help you develop mental strength. Being mentally tough = someone who is able to see positive in the worst situations.

Winners see a bad situation as temporary.
  • Living a principled life: If you live a principled centered life, your foundation is solid. You can lose it all, except your principles. Base your life around virtues instead: honesty, courage, empathy and so on. Corruption is the root of many evils in society.

  • The da Vinci model = living your life according to a mixture of logic and art.

  • On the importance of combat sports training. Everybody should do combat sports (up to a minimum level) - we’d all be better human beings. You want to have the choice to be courageous, and not be forced to patience (another virtue) in some life-threatening situations. Your life will be less fulfilled if you don’t develop combat sports skills.

  • On finding flow: Willpower is a commodity, it is finite. If you can find flow in an activity, you won’t be relying on will power. 

  • On raising children: The worst thing you can do to your kid is giving them stuff they haven’t earned. 

  • On the power of leaning-in: Being proactive is one of the most powerful, understated things a human can do. You can program your mind to do anything. 

  • Books he recommends:

Happiness cannot be pursued, it most ensue - Viktor Frankl 

⚡ Weekly Hack: Hormesis

Within the hormetic zone, there is generally a favorable biological response to low exposures to toxins and other stressors.

A little over 100 years ago, a german guy found out the growth of yeast could be powerfully stimulated by small doses of poison - aka yeast started growing like crazy.

It turns out this is a very powerful concept that translates to humans in some way across a variety of disciplines.

Find out how to get inside your hormetic zone with your stressor of choice - sports, thinking, reading, developing in X - develop a consistent habit of doing so and you will reap the rewards.

💵 Recent Deals in Spain

You love startups and want to enjoy a Spanish lifestyle? Come join the Spanish startup ecosystem. Here’s a list of recently funded startups:

💭 Thinking or Reading

🥊 Shaq (2.16m, 150 kg) picked up for the first time ever

The guy picking up Shaq is Francis Ngannou, a guy who started out working in sand mines at age 10. His story is so mind-blowing they are making a movie out of it. You can also watch him fight for the heavyweight UFC title March 27 - preview here.

💡 Stupid & genius are pretty close

🧠 How well do you understand X?

If you find this interesting, please consider sharing with your friends. I’d also love to get your thoughts and feedback on Twitter. Until the next one! 😃