This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, iPleaders.
I met my karate guru in Delhi metro in 2013. It was wee hours of the morning. We were travelling to Rishikesh and were on our way to catch a bus. We had not slept and had worked all night before we could take that holiday. Me and my co-founders were intermittently singing. Yes, startups do that to you. Life is hard, but there is no shortage of joy, excitement or happiness even when you can take a short break.
So I was singing a Bengali song. Yes, in Delhi metro! I faintly remember that perhaps I was a slightly drunk too. Luckily the train was mostly empty, except for a few early morning commuters.
Unlike the rest of Delhi, inside the metro people are very nice. They don’t spit. They don’t argue. Nobody minded me singing though I am not exactly the kind of singer you would want to hear voluntarily.
However, a short, balding, stocky man walked up to me and started chatting. I initially thought he is pissed because I am singing. Soon I realised he is a Bengali too and is very happy to hear a Bengali song in Delhi metro. He said he teaches karate. I was interested in learning. We exchanged numbers.
One day I had organized a Bengali lunch at my place. I invited him too, after all, he was one the few Bengalis I knew in Delhi.
One thing led to another, and soon I was learning Kyokushin Karate and MMA. I had really less time in my life as I spent all my hours trying to bootstrap iPleaders. I just couldn’t find time to fit in karate classes. So I had to change my lifestyle, and I started waking up early in the morning to attend these classes.
I didn’t have time to practice at home, so I hung a punching bag in the office itself. When I would be frustrated after some failed misadventures at work, I will channel that frustration into a practice session with the punching bag.
I had to make a lot of changes in my life for karate. I did.
I even convinced half my office to get into karate. It helps when you are not the lone wolf, but have a supportive environment.
I had some natural flair for combat and fighting. I made quick progress. Most other students would be afraid to do a full contact sparring with me. About a year and a half down the line, I was even selected to represent Delhi in a national Kyokushin competition.
Most importantly, my lifelong wish of learning martial arts at an advanced level was fulfilled. It made me strong. My body structure changed over a period of one year. So did my fitness, stamina, confidence, and I learnt some deadly moves too. I know several ways of knocking you out in under 30 seconds if I need to. For example, a downwards spiralling hook to the thirteenth rib. That’s a favourite. Or a thigh kick on the knee with my shin that will ensure you don’t stand up for the next 15 minutes.
Recently, I found myself at the receiving end of a road rage incident in Goa. I was riding a scooter when my vehicle apparently splashed some rainwater from the road onto some people sitting on the side of the road. They chased down my bike for a kilometre and confronted me about it. I explained to them that is next to impossible to go on the road without splashing water during monsoon and I certainly didn’t do it intentionally. If it has happened I am sorry. But these people had no intention of letting it go. It seemed they wanted a fight.
I parked my bike right in the middle of the road, blocking incoming traffic. Then got off my bike and looked at the very aggressive guy eye to eye. I was not afraid at all. I may have been even smiling. I asked him, you want to fight with me over such a small thing? The guy shouted a bit but didn’t dare hit me as I maintained strong eye contact. Looking into my eyes, he probably realised I wouldn’t be an easy target.
It would have been probably very different if I was angry, or agitated, or scared.
As the number of people waiting and screaming at us increased (I had blocked the road), the guy then walked off, still cursing. I smiled and continued on my way. I remembered the first time I found myself in a similar situation when I was 14 years old. I was slapped multiple times, humiliated for no fault of my own, and went home crying.
Those days are long gone.
I could stand up to this bully fearlessly because I was not afraid of a physical fight. I knew exactly what to do if I got into a fight, thanks to a lot of preparation, and it made all the difference.
I always wanted to learn martial arts as a kid. My parents thought that it’s a terrible idea. I will get injured or turn out to be a mafia man or something. What kind of people learn to fight? That was their thought process.
I tried learning karate in college. Most teachers were mediocre. I found various styles of karate more ornamental and little useful. Many martial arts styles are more like dancing – aesthetic, but not very useful in a real fight. And then, one day I met the Delhi head of Kyokushin Karate, a form that almost all professional fighters have to learn, in Delhi metro. Who knew that would lead to a 2-year long training? That was the most unlikely way to find the karate teacher I was looking for all my life!
Opportunities come randomly. When you are least prepared for it. When you don’t expect.
Do you say yes when opportunity knocks? When opportunity lightly brushes past you, do you jump up and grab it by its tail?
Too many times we wait for the perfect day. Perfect research. Perfect timing. The perfect coach. We wait for somebody to show up and tell us what to do. We wait for someone else to give us permission to do what we want to do.
There is no such thing as a perfect opportunity. And you need to give yourself permission. If you want to do something, go for it. Jump at it. Don’t let the half chance you see slide by. Convert it into a once in a lifetime experience.
You will always find opportunities in the most unlikely places when you are not at all ready. Still, don’t let it go.
That’s what differentiates the could-have-beens from already-done-thats.
Do you want to learn either contract drafting, or merger and acquisitions, investment law or about corporate finance transactions? We have two courses coming up by end of this month. If you are sitting on the fence, waiting for the perfect time, perfect opportunity, don’t. Yesterday was the best day to already start learning. Today is the next best day.
That’s why we give you instant access to the course material as soon as you pay the course fee. So that you can start learning and get a headstart, although live coaching and exercises will start from 1st of November.
Learn about the things you fancy learning about. You will never find out who you could have been otherwise.
Here are the details of our upcoming courses:
Courses commencing from 1st November, 2018:
Diploma in M&A, Institutional Finance and Investment Laws (PE and VC transactions)
Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
Executive Certificate Course in Arbitration: Strategy, Procedure and Drafting
Executive Certificate Course in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
Courses commencing from 15th November, 2018
Executive Certificate Course in Companies Act
Executive Certificate Course in Real Estate Laws
Diploma in Companies Act, Corporate Governance and SEBI Regulations
Diploma in Industrial and Labour Laws