In the following interview Jason discusses coaching, leadership, and life in general.
Can you tell us who you are and what you’re about?
My name is Jason Mertlich. I am a human being, father, husband, revolutionary, artist, scientist, innovator (hopefully) and misfit. I’ve spent years learning and perfecting martial arts like Jiu Jitsu and boxing and that has allowed me to become a coach for many up-and-coming MMA fighters. I make my living teaching Martial Arts (mainly No Gi Jiu Jitsu and Boxing) and coaching The Pit Elevated’s fight team. My passion though, is helping people realize the POWER they have already inside themselves to transform the world in which they live. Giving to this great cause is my true mission and purpose. I am also an avid dog lover.
You have literally brought up and trained guys like Court McGee, Ramsey Nijem, and Steven Siler from being amateur fighters who are now all in the UFC (not to mention many other success fighters like Trever Mellen, Brock Jardine, and Rad Martinez), what’s your secret?
Hard Work. There are no shortcuts, and really no secrets. It’s about putting in the time. Besides that I truly believe that I know very little (compared to what there is to know). I study every single day for hours on ways to improve myself as a person, and a martial artist, and I believe this translates to my fighters success. Along with working really hard I also diligently strive to be kind. Kindness that is authentic is infectious and people respond to it. In addition, I can’t forget to mention that you must have an open mind and always be learning. Ego has no place your own progress and stifle the progress of those you lead.
Also, let’s give credit where credit is due; these guys are very talented. In the end, I play a small role in the grand scheme.
Can you talk a little about your Jiu Jitsu?
Four7 Jiu Jitsu is my brain child in the sense of using it as a tool for empowerment for people. The techniques are not new, they have been taught to me, and refined. My system or some of the transitions may have a unique spin. I also believe in Shared Conditions Theory, for instance; If there are thousands and thousands of people grappling and doing martial arts every day, then they are probably running into a lot of the same problems as everyone else. So change, and Innovation probably are popping up in several different spots (Entanglement Theory) It’s very hard to claim to have sole ownership of anything that involves so many people. There are some pretty cool reasons behind the name Four7: The periodic number for Silver (some Biblical mentions of Silver), The story of the Fort Seven Ronin, 47 being the most seen random number in the Universe. I could go on and on.
What are your favorite books and why? Who do you learn from?
On life- Krishnamurti, Tolle, Steinbeck, Rumi
Sport- The Mark of R, Win Forever, The New Toughness Training for Sports
Diet- Lyle McDonald Stuff, Dolce is good, Sam Lloyd has great stuff.
Fun – Books on DMT, Black Holes, Chaos Theory, Zen, Entanglement etc.
What are some of your personal goals/visions for 2012?
Creating an online resource for people out there that want to find that POWER inside themselves, and giving them every resource possible to accomplish that. It will really change the world.
Can you talk about where you draw inspiration from? What beliefs, values, and people have shaped you?
My Grandfather- he taught me about Honor and working really hard. My parents for putting me in Sports and the lessons I learned from all of those coaches. Martial Arts teachers, School teachers, friends, My Dog Belgium. The single belief that I feel drives me, and the entire Universe, Is the belief that kindness changes lives. The Power of Kindness.
How are you able to stay creative? What techniques to you employ to induce creativity?
***This song will forever remind me of Jason
I Listen to a lot of Music, I try to surround myself with positive people, and I meditate daily.
What makes a great leader in your opinion? And what is your leadership strategy for coaching a bunch of mma fighters?
I think most of all, be organized. If you’re not organized you’re in no position to lead. People need schedules, certainty, and direction. That is step one. Next you can’t think that you know everything. There is no place for ego in leadership, at least effective leadership. Next, I believe in being kind. Sounds counter intuitive since I deal with some of the toughest guys on the planet (martial artiest and MMA fighters), but everyone responds to kindness. It’s simply the gold rule. Finally, just work hard. If you work hard, they will work hard. I guess this is just leading through example.
Coaching MMA fighters can be hard. Mostly because you become friends with the guys, but you also have to push them to their potential. That can be a paradox. But there’s a time to be friends and joke around and a time to get serious.
What are the top 5 things you’d recommend for someone to do to improve the quality of their life?
- Give to Charity (your time especially)
- Give to your family (your time especially)
- Give to yourself (your time especially)
- Be kind
- Work really hard at what you love