EP010: Lessons From A World Class Coach, World Champion And Owner Of A Respected And Successful Dojo w/ James Foster

Not only is James Foster a well respected coach in the BJJ community with one of the biggest BJJ schools in Washington, he is also the Super Heavy Weight World Champion and a inspirational leader who serves the local community in many ways. Coincidentally he is also the coach that has beat me up during training sessions to teach me life lessons.

We sat down to talk about the challenges of succeeding both as a coach, a champion and a business owner while being able to keep integrity and living your values; and how that is crucial if you want to avoid losing yourself and being able to maintain your pace in the long game.


  • Why you should train with your competition and how it is the key to gaining the edge
  • How James started his academy out of circumstance (to not have to continue to drive 4 hours to practice) rather than a goal which led to his long-term career and passion and the lessons he gained from it
  • The momentum of the MMA craze and how it helped James grow his dojo and business, as well as how he dealt with the tides turning and having to shift and make changes to keep his business running
  • How becoming a black belt is the beginning of this journey and how it can help you with your life and business
  • How the secret to success with coaching and working with teams is communication, and the question that makes it clear what the other person is hearing (this will help you tremendously with any relationship, personal and business)
  • How what you believe to be your strength is actually your weakness, and how you can change it and open up a world of possibilities in your life
  • How not aggressively seeking feedback, taking constructive criticism and thinking you know it all is a guaranteed way to stall your progress in any career or relationship
  • How the fear of the unknown is what’s holding you back from breaking through to the next level; and how 5 minutes can save your months (or even years) of being stuck in a rut
  • The exercise that will help you find your blind spots in your game, and how you can speed up your progress by identifying them
  • How tapping out and failure are the steps to success, and how changing your perspective on these can change the speed of your growth
  • Why video game bosses teach you the secret of success
  • The “secret sauce” that helped James go from 2nd in the world, to losing in the first round, to finally winning the World Championship in 2015
  • The power of rituals and routines and how they can help you in anything you do in life
  • How the mental side of any game can make or break you and how to supercharge your results by spending more time on the mental side
  • How to discover if you’re tying your identity to your accomplishments or whether you’re tying it to your character – one leads to a more fulfilled life, while the other leads to unhappiness


Foster BJJ
James Foster’s YouTube Channel
BookCrucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High (Kerry Patterson)
BookNurture Shock: New Thinking About Children (Po Bronson)
BookOriginals: How Non Conformists Change The World (Adam Grant)
BookGive And Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success (Adam Grant)

Thanks so much for joining me this week. If you have some feedback that you’d like to share? Leave me a review on iTunes.


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