Janelle: You're listening to "Staying In The Game: A Plum Dragon Herbs Podcast" where we have conversations about mindset and techniques for staying at the top of your game. I'm your host, Janelle Leatherwood. Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with Erik Allan and Kyle Mahadeo, lifelong martial artists and co-owners of Budo Brothers, a martial arts lifestyle company. Hey guys, welcome to the show. I'm so glad that you could join me today.
Erik: We're glad to be here.
Kyle: We're so glad to be on your show.
Janelle: Yeah, it's been a long time coming that we've been planning this. And we're really excited to have you guys tonight. And if you guys could just take a minute and introduce yourselves to the guests. That would be fantastic.
Erik: My name is Erik Allan.
Kyle: And I'm Kyle. And if you want to know by the pictures and everything you see on Instagram, Kyle is the dark one, Erik is the light one.
Erik: The Ying and Yang, which composes and makes up Budo Brothers.
Janelle: That's right. That's awesome. How did you guys meet?
Kyle: So yeah, actually, Erik and I didn't really know each other that well in university. But we kind of both had a passion for martial arts and entrepreneurship. And, you know, just kind of went on a trip one time to Montreal, somebody cancelled out and we ended up going and ended up having an amazing time and figured out we definitely have to start a business together.
Erik: Yeah, absolutely. Both were involved in prior startups and had a mutual respect for each other knowing that, you know what? You're brave enough to start a business, you're probably brave enough to go down another uncharted territory when you go down the land of starting a new business where there's nothing but unknowns. You want to go down that path with people that have gone through that before because it's uncharted territory.
Janelle: Yeah, absolutely. So what was the first aspect of your business that you guys threw together?
Erik: It's funny, we started training together, we're both lifetime martial artists. And we started training at the same dojo, and for about a year or two, we were training together and one day on the mats, Kyle came up to me. He was like, "You know what? We should really start a brand."
Kyle: And yeah, and I kind of wanted to be extravagant. Are you guys familiar with the brand Lululemon? It's a Canadian brand.
Janelle: Yes, I am.
Kyle: My idea was to be a Lululemon of martial arts and have everybody in these like amazing posh Gi’s (martial arts uniforms.) But, you know, Erik put some rules on kind of the arrangement.
Erik: The startup capital...the position that we were both in actually, I was coming off of a pretty big failure of another startup that I had started that completely blew up, shrapnel everywhere, and I went flat broke. So I was licking my wounds. And here Kyle is proposing I get involved, go for round two punishment. I'm like, "I got really good at losing money and I want to stop losing money. So let's put a cap on this venture. So we're going to do this, we're going to do this with $1,000 in startup capital." So $500 from me and $500 from Kyle. And if we can't make a go of it, at least we learned something. And our number one objective, we both wanted to learn e-commerce. So we came at this from a place of wanting to learn, and we weren't motivated to...we literally just wanted to gain this skillset of having the ability to monetize products online, because in today's day and age, that's a valuable skill set to have. So we had 1,000 bucks, we had to get pretty creative. And we couldn't be a Lululemon because that might get us a sample.
Yeah. And you know, we don't really have any major skillsets or anything when it came to e-commerce. We had to learn everything on the fly, the marketing, the sales, the website, everything that a small business owner who wants to stay relevant in the internet age needs to have in their arsenal, and it's such valuable skillsets. But we actually had to get so creative that we started off with a weapon in our martial artist called a Hanbo. It's just a three-foot dowel. So it was pretty hard to create something that was providing value for people and people want it around to buy off the internet with just a literally a three-foot dowel. It looks like a three-foot stick. I mean, you can find it at Rona.
Kyle: Not ours. Ours are a bit more cool. We have the better woods. We put a lot of work into them. But yes.
Erik: It's funny, so starting we found a woodworker actually locally that was very talented and we brought in all these exotic woods and we thought that might be a great place to start. So let's create a line of ultra-premium Hanbos, so the top quality, taking care of...literally Kyle and I spent so many nights sanding sticks and I'm pretty sure I've developed early arthritis. And we treated the launch of the sticks like it was an Apple launch. We put so much meticulous work into everything, the marketing. Like it was really incredible what we did, the effort we put into putting a stick on to the market.
Janelle: Wow, did you guys make each one yourselves? They're handmade?
Erik: They're hand-finished.
Janelle: Or hand-finished, yeah. That's crazy.
Erik: So we had our woodworker that was the original sourcer of all the materials, he would give us the raw and then we would put our logo on it, polish them up, sand them, oil them, finish them, package them, and then send them to the customer.
Janelle: That is amazing. How many did you do for your first run?
Erik: So for our first run, given that we only had $1,000 startup capital, we spent $200 on our logo. So we had 800 bucks left minus another 100 bucks in setting up the website and a couple other incidentals. And so we really only had...I mean, when we placed our first order was about 500, 600 bucks worth of sticks. And this is the point where we said, "You know what, this is the make or break, right? Can we put a checkmark next to the box saying that we sold a product online to somebody that we didn't know?"
Kyle: And at this point of the business we were just putting something online and hoping that the bell would ding and we actually converted somebody. In fact, Erik made a stupid prank on me. He was like, "Oh, dude, I think we'll get a sale today. I just feel it." I'm like, "Oh, man, I don't think so." And then he went and he talked to his buddy and bought one online and I'm sitting there jacked we're selling and like popping champagne, like dancing and he's like, "Dude, that was me."
Janelle: Oh, man. That's funny.
Erik: "We did it. We did it." I'm like, "Yeah, we did it." But eventually, we did started getting sales. And eventually, people started buying these online and that allowed us to move to the next level.
Janelle: And what is that? Tell us more about that.
Kyle: Well, so once we...this is really crazy because if somebody put a business plan on my desk that said, "I'm going to sell three-foot sticks on the internet and create a brand that ends up having customers all over the globe," I would tell them to get out of my office. And it's just the beautiful part when you come at it from a place of wanting to learn and wanting to grow and wanting to serve, it's amazing the rocks that you uncover because you're not looking at it from...we did not come at this thing, "We're going to be a global brand. We're going to be this. And it's about us. It's about us." No, we wanted to come up with a way...yes, we wanted to learn and we looked at it from that valence. But we also wanted to really look at how we can serve. And when we started selling sticks on the internet, we actually uncovered a massively underserved niche. So we took that 1,000 bucks, turned it into 2,000, 2,000 into 4,000, 4,000 into 8,000, 8,000 into 16,000 and just reinvested every dollar back into the business.
Kyle: And it allowed us to spin off a lifestyle brand around it. So we moved from these physical weapons, which is so niche to one specific style. And we decided to be very style agnostic. That's one thing about Budo Brothers, it's a style agnostic brand. Because in martial arts, it's a little bit like religion like, "My style is better than your style." And people, you can even see in the comments of every post, people argue all the time. And we're not about that. We're about connecting and inspiring all martial arts.
Erik: And celebrating because every art has something to teach us, but only to the students that are willing to learn. And you cannot learn that what you think you already know. And that's what's so cool about the journey that we've been on, we've been able...this whole crazy wild ride has taken us to meet some incredible martial artists that really opened up our eyes and helped us tap into mindset, and really tapping into the true principles and virtues of martial arts that has the power to change lives. And that actually set us on our next journey, which was to really empower the next generation. And since day one, we always wanted to have a strong social cause. We wanted to have a strong why.
Sure we wanted to learn. And once we learned, we said, "Wow, we actually have some power here. There's something here. Let's use this as a vehicle to do good, to spread good in the world through the lens of martial arts." And that actually...we started a nonprofit. So since day one, we've been supporting and helping subsidize martial arts for kids in our local city. But once we saw the power of that and we saw how these young minds completely changed, we wanted to scale that up. So we actually carved out a physical separate entity called the Budo Youth Fund. And today, we've helped 44 kids gain access to martial arts that otherwise wouldn't get a chance. We essentially provide grant funding for underprivileged youth that otherwise wouldn't get a shot.
Kyle: And it's pretty cool the way the grant or the fund works is we use our social channels and we send an application North America wide and people apply online. And we go through we look at all the applications that we find the most deserving people. And then we use the grant funding in order to fund the full year of martial arts for every kid.
Janelle: Oh, that's so great. I love the Budo Youth Fund that you guys have created. When did you guys get into martial arts? Was it in your youth?
Kyle: For me, I started when I was six.
Erik: I was five years old. And I gotta tell you, I mean, having that martial arts background, we both feel like that really set us up to propel and reach and tap into our greatest potential. Now, I mean, I'm not an academic. I just know how to work hard. And the fact that I was even able to go to university and get an engineering degree is crazy. And I wouldn't have been able to do that if I didn't understand the virtues of perseverance, working hard, overcoming challenges, digging down, digging deep, figuring out what you're made of, and laying it all out on the battlefield. And that's really taken my learnings from martial arts and plugging that into my everyday life has really allowed me to excel.
Janelle: Mm-hmm. Yeah. You know, my son right now, he's eight, he's wanting to get into martial arts. So I'm glad to hear, you know, that doesn't sound like it's too late to start.
Kyle: Not at all.
Janelle: Yeah. I mean, even adults are...you know, you can start really any time with martial arts.
Kyle: Definitely. And I think some of the best learnings are actually most applicable to...some of the biggest things I gleaned off with is self-respect and confidence. I mean, how many times are you in a meeting or you want to say something to a person and you just kind of shy away because, you know, you're lacking a little bit of like self-belief, self-confidence, self-respect? Like one of the best things I learned through martial arts is the ability to be confident in yourself and when you are, almost it emanates, right, and more opportunities. And, you know, it's so powerful, not only for kids, but for adults in boardrooms and workplaces, in negative situations. It's really, really beneficial.
Janelle: Mm-hmm. Yeah. What are some stories that you could share those who have been recipients of the Budo Youth fund? Have you gotten some good feedback from the recipients?
Kyle: Yeah, definitely. So I think one of the...I guess, we also did a program at the Jackson Wink Academy. So Jackson Wink, the academy there, they train some of the top MMA fighters in the world, Jon Bones, Holly Holmes, Michelle Waterson. We met Michelle Waterson and she introduced us to this program. And we kind of talked to the owners of the program, Mike and Heather. And what they do is they help special needs kids down in Albuquerque. And it was a cool program because we got to go down there and film and to see kind of what was going on there. So you can check it out on our social media platforms.
But what we did is we helped fund the instructors there and allow for them to teach these kids because it's actually the people involved in the program need it so much they don't even have capital to pay anything for the program. So it was super rewarding to see what it does for those kids. And just like how much fun they have, I think that was one of the biggest things, the smiles and the laughter and the pure joy that you see when they're participating in that stuff, it's worth it. And that's one of the biggest driving forces that we have going forward to continue to fund and to continue to grow.
Erik: I think another one that stands out for me, we were blessed to be in a position to sponsor an entire family. This family trained together as a family. So dad, mom, three kids, you know, they all trained together. And unfortunately, the father passed away and they all had to stop training, just financial situation. He was the breadwinner and so they had to all quit. And we got word of this after we started spreading the word about our youth fund and us really wanting to make an impact in the lives that could really use it the most. And what we try to do is find those families that, you know what, they're just down on their luck, something's come up.
And it's not because they just want to spend the money on a new iPhone and get free martial arts training for their kids, there's a real reason, you know, and there's a real desire on the kids that there's a calling, there's something that is driving them towards martial arts, and finances shouldn't get in the way of those when there's such life changing benefits that martial arts can provide these kids and these families. And so for us to be able to help sponsor that entire family and get them back on the mats was hands down the most rewarding work that we've done. And that's why we really want to continue this journey.
Janelle: Oh, that is so great. Now, what about you guys? Like, have you had any setbacks in life where you feel like you really had to persevere? And can you share one of those stories with us?
Kyle: I'm gonna be pretty honest. Like, I feel I've been pretty blessed in this life. I mean, I hear a lot of the struggles and the turmoil and everything that's out there and like I come from a great family, great background. And, you know, I can't really say that I've had too many challenges that a normal person wouldn't face. When it comes to business, we've had a ton of challenges, but I believe that's one of just the elements of business that you can't get around. But one thing that we really try to do is to switch kind of that mentality behind that to more gratitude-based stuff.
Erik: Yeah, for me, I mean, the funny thing is that oftentimes, the challenges that we face, a lot of the times, they're internal. The battle that is going on with ourselves whether it's, you know, us beating ourselves up because of something. And I had an incident like that where I had always identified as an entrepreneur, and I was going to be this big mogul who was going to go take over the world and provide value, do all this fun stuff and be that wildcat entrepreneur. And I had always had a big boy job with my engineering degree, getting out there and learning, but I always had side hustles. And a lot of these side hustles, some of them would work and some of them wouldn't. And a lot of the time I convinced myself that, you know what, I think a lot is what's causing these to not work is that it's a side hustle.
And a side hustle is only always going to remain a side hustle until you get both feet into the boat. And so I decided that I ran out of excuses. I had a very cushy engineering job where I was on autopilot making great money. I was no longer challenged and I had this incredible venture that I loved. I wanted to go all-in on because it was an area that I was passionate about and I wanted to go all-in. And so I submitted my resignation on September 1st, 2014. And we're based out of Calgary, Alberta, which is a very oil-based economy. And so this was right before the big oil crash. And I had saved up a year's worth of capital to allow myself a cushion to live a comfortable lifestyle while I got this whole entrepreneur thing under my belt. And the problem was that most of that savings was in oil stocks because that's what I knew.
And of course, I'm going to be investing in the companies that I'm working with because I know their operations. And so I was very confident that I was making these right decisions and I had nothing to lose. So I went and submitted my resignation and went all-in and said, "I'm going to make a go of it." Now, the problem was when oil crashed so did my savings. So that year's worth of capital turned into six months and six months came real quick. And I went flat broke. So at the ripe age of 30, I literally to...I lost everything. I had to cash out my RRSPs (retirement savings.) I was eating Costco hot dogs. And, I mean, bless my family, they're so supportive. And I knew that if it ever got real bad, I can always move in with them. And it's so funny, every Sunday dinner, they'd cook extra food because they knew I was going through hard times.
But I loved the fact that they also knew that these hard times are going to teach me a lot. And I can tell you, this experience where I beat myself up, and that's exactly what happened, it was a fight that I was fighting with myself because I was supposed to be this entrepreneur that was going to go take over the world and nothing can stop me. And what happened? How did this not work? And I shouldn't have done this. And then remorse hit and regret. Why did I leave my job? All my colleagues are enjoying this big salary. And here I am, I can't even buy food.
And I literally spent every day fighting myself, regret, living in the past, thinking, replaying situations over and over and over again to the point where I wasn't living life. I was in my head. And that did not allow me to get out of that situation. And it wasn't until I hit complete rock bottom, where one day I wasn't sleeping, I was exhausted. I had to actually do something one day and so I got out of bed. And I remember I was in the shower and I was just completely exhausted that I leaned up against the wall and just had my arm on my head and just like, "Ah," this feeling of loathing. Like, "I have to go face the day, ugh." For the first time in my life, I was really depressed.
And I remember this feeling of completely giving up. I collapsed. I completely collapsed. And I have no idea how long I was out. All I remember is waking up to water hitting my face. And then...one moment, all I felt was air filling my lungs. And I could feel my heartbeat and I had no idea. It was the craziest experience. It was so almost indescribable. But for the first time in probably three months, all I was doing was being present. All I was doing was breathing. All I was doing was feeling water hit my face. I wasn't worrying about the future. I wasn't regretting the past. I was just being and I was reminded that I'm alive. And I just started hitting myself with an affirmation.
I am powerful. And that, you know what, it was crazy. I got out of the shower that day, and I tell you, I noticed that the sun was shining. And the sun was shining the day before, but I didn't see it. And there I was enjoying a cup of tea on my couch in my condo and “I'm the one with the problem.” And it just snapped me out of it. I realized all of the things that...and just that morning, all I did was list out all the things that I was grateful for. My family, my friends, this beautiful country that we live in, the ability to walk outside and breathe fresh air without poisoning your body, living in a country with the rule of law, like wow.
There is some serious suffering on the planet, and I'm not suffering. That's all internal. And that totally shifted my mindset, that completely changed my reality, and then it started going upward. So from there, it was a slow...my highs got higher and my lows got higher. It was a stock chart that was going up and to the right. And since then, it allowed me to get back and get in touch with who I really am, which isn't tied up with some identity of some label of what other people think I should with me being who I am and not caring what other people think and that allowed me to tap into that potential, that authenticity. And that changed my life. And since then, I've just been operating as me, as that being of who I am. And to me, that changed my life.
Janelle: Mm-hmm. Now how soon after you had that, I'll call it an epiphany, Erik, did you meet Kyle?
Erik: It was literally since starting Budo Brothers, that instance where I feel like I hit rock bottom, it couldn't have been more than three months after that. If I was in the mindset that I was in, I would have told Kyle that was a dumb idea. "Hey, you know what? Man, I got to go get a job. What do you want to do? No, we can't do that." Because that's the mindset that I would have been in. I wouldn't have been thinking opportunity. I would have been thinking scarcity. And if somebody came to me and said, "Hey, here's an opportunity," I would have looked at it from a scarce mindset. I would have killed it. And Budo Brothers would have never started if we weren't in the mindset of wanting to grow, wanting to serve and wanting to start something new and go on a new journey.
Janelle: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So you had placed yourself in that position where you were open to receiving, you know, this idea that Kyle presented to you, but it still took a huge leap of faith. How did he convince you?
Erik: Kyle is pretty convincing if you don't know.
Kyle: Honestly, I think we always knew that we wanted to get into something together. And, I mean, we've had a lot of scars with businesses prior to this. Like, we've both done a couple ventures and entrepreneurial things before. And like, you know when personalities just mix and we're like, "Man, we really got to try something." And, you know, a lot of people end up following a path, maybe for a specific outcome like maybe money or status or something. And we said like...because we couldn't see what we're going to create at the beginning, right? Nobody can. And so we said, "Let's follow the passion. Let's follow what we like to do, what we enjoy to do so we can have fun and learn at the same time." So that was kind of the talk and, I mean, it wasn't really a sell. We went to a restaurant, we sat down, and we came up with some stupid names before, like Ninja Guys, and like stupid things, and then all of a sudden we hit, "Oh, let's call ourselves Budo Brothers." Literally, like, a hush fell. And we were like, "That's the one."
Janelle: That's awesome.
Erik: Yeah. So in our art, we've spent the last...I've been at the same dojo for the last 10 years. Kyle, you've been training for five. The style that we were practicing at the time and are still practicing to this day is Ninjutsu. And "budo" is actually a Japanese word, "bu" means warrior, "do" means way. So it's really the way of the warrior and that path that warriors go down, which is often plagued with challenges.
Erik: Circumstances that will test you. And the true warrior pushes through that because the gift is on the other side. And that way of learning through challenge is what budo is all about.
Janelle: Mm-hmm. The warrior mindset.
Janelle: Yeah. So do you mentor others on this warrior mindset?
Kyle: We've started to be called into the lime light a little bit more. We recently actually had a talk in Calgary in front of a bunch of entrepreneurs. They called us up because we were kind of a new, upcoming business in Calgary. And, you know, we had to talk about celebrating failure in our failure in order to get towards where we got to be today and the steps and the tasks and the mindset behind it. So it was a pretty cool talk. It was a fun event. And so we both realized that we do like speaking about those types of things. And, you know, the ideas and mindsets in martial arts are something that everybody can learn from whether you're a mom or a dad or a business owner downtown or somebody who's just trying to get through the day of work or whatever. These values that are contained within these ancient, ancient arts are philosophies and principles that everybody can learn and understand.
Erik: Absolutely, I mean, these principles and virtues have stood the test of time. We're talking thousands and thousands of years. There's a reason why they haven't gone away. It wasn't a fad. It wasn't just, "Think positively." It was, "Hey, these have literally been battle tested." And it turns out, this works. The importance of having a mindset that allows you to execute and operate at a high level...because at the end of day, that's probably the most important thing that we have is our mindset because that's how we view the world.
And if your view of the world is skewed or negative, then guess what? That is your reality. And so what we forget is that we have the power of choice. As human beings, we can choose to turn left or turn right. That choice is ours. That same power of choice can be put into mindset where you can choose...it takes practice just like martial arts, you’ve got to train it, you can choose a winning mindset. And that's really what we see an opportunity to help other people live a more full life. Enjoy the simple things in life because until we started tapping into this, we were too busy to enjoy these simple things in life and that it has literally changed our lives.
Janelle: Yeah. That's funny. I was talking to my sister about that very same thing today. My sister is like, you know, "It's just like we're always thinking, thinking, thinking rather than being present. And we could even be out in nature and not really even noticing or just being present and simply enjoying life, you know."
Erik: It's so true. And how do you shut off that mind because it's so overwhelming?
Kyle: One of the most powerful statements that I heard that everybody's got a trigger and a cue that kind of shocked them into presence. And like it was by a gentleman, Eckhart Tolle, and he has this book called "The Power of Now." One of the statements that was the most powerful for me in it was like, "You can't let your mind take control of everything, right? You have to watch it." He's like, "Sit there and say to yourself, "I wonder what I'm going to think about next." And when you start thinking about what you're thinking about next, all of a sudden, the noise in your head slows down for a second because you're watching your mind. And for me, that was a trigger to kind of be like you can actually almost...like your mind is a part of the whole thing. It's not the only thing, right? Like your mind, your body, your spirit, the trifecta of things. But just sitting there and trying to step outside of the chaos of the mind for a little bit.
Erik: Because it can take over. And when those thought streams come...they don't stop. One thought leads to another, to another, to another, and wherever you are, whatever you're doing, you're not there because all of that energy is tied up in your head. And what I found super powerful, like I was saying, is being the observer of your thoughts and really bringing consciousness to your everyday life and watching. Instead of being the emotion, you're observing. You are the place where that emotion takes place.
Kyle: Yeah. Another crazy thing about emotions too because like they were...I find emotions work differently than thoughts. And sometimes when you're like really angry, like you're not even thinking at that point like you're just angry, your body does certain things. You get really tense and like what sometimes I try to focus on to not be too like emotional like if you're in a really emotional state, like I learned this from an NLP course, neurolinguistic planning course I took a long time ago, is that like try to reverse all of the physical things that your body's currently doing. So if you're like mad and hunched over and really clenched up, try to stand up tall or elongate, open your palms. If you feel tension in the right side, try to imagine it moving to the left side. I like it's amazing how when you change your physical state, kind of change how you feel.
Erik: Yeah. And since starting Budo Brothers, this is what's so cool about the journey is that it's led to connections and stepping stones that lead to other opportunities that bring us in touch with some of the most incredible, powerful minds on the planet. And we learn from them and extract their knowledge. And a big part about our company is sharing that knowledge. This is not for us because guess what? This isn't about us. This is about the community. And if we can do our best at sharing all of these gifts that we are blessed to come across and share that with the community, share that with the world, that is true service. And when you come from a place of service, you can't go wrong.
Kyle: It's really funny. There's a point we actually almost crippled Budo Brothers actually with one of our product launches. So we had a product. It was called the Cardi. And we normally don't talk about it too much to people because, you know, they don't know, unlike in our communities of why all of a sudden the Cardi just kind of stopped being sold in our store. But it was a fantastic product, it was brilliantly cut, the material was excellent. So we got really excited about it. And when we both got really excited about it, we said, "Let's go all-in on this thing." And we invested all of our capital into the product. And we got it manufactured and brought in and we ran into a huge issue.
So we started marketing it and selling it and it went out to our people and some of our biggest fans and we got an email back. And Erik actually got the email and he's like, "Dude, you have to get over here right now." And so I go over there and he shows me the email. And the fabric was blue on one side, white on the other. It was reversible. And what would happen is if you'd wash it, which didn't happen in the sample, it would bleed pink. So we just invested all of our capital into this product and 80% had to go to the homeless shelter down the street from us because, you know, we couldn't use it.
Erik: Yeah. It literally was a case of quality creep. So once the company, which was overseas got the order, they used 20% of the material that was originally spec’d and obviously cut some corners on the other material. And it's not until you have it side by side that you can see the difference. And so Kyle and I spent probably four weekends in a row out at my parents' place. They have two washing machines and we were literally washing the entire batch, finding the ones that wouldn't bleed and sending them to customers that got the duds and killed...we killed absolutely everything. We shut it down and we "sold out really early." Technically we sold out, but just of the ones that worked.
Kyle: Yeah, exactly.
Erik: But what's so cool is that, I mean, this is a great instance of where like you're in the trenches and you're engaged in trench warfare and you couldn't possibly see how this could lead to anything good because you are staring bankruptcy in the face. And while this was going on, we actually forgot that we left our advertisements on and we were panicking, we dropped everything. And we're quickly trying to figure out what the problem was and how we were going to solve it that we forgot to turn off our advertisements and a gentleman was actually waiting in line at a restaurant and he was scrolling through his phone. And he saw this advertisement for this really cool product and he's like, "Wow, that's cool..." Clicked on the link, went to our website. He's like, "These guys are doing something special. Like they're making martial arts alive and fresh."
And he emailed us saying, "I want to work with you." And now this wasn't just some average Joe. This guy, his name is Sifu Singh, and the man has literally traveled the world, trained over 150 different elite Special Forces, Military, SWAT, Secret Service, CIA. It's crazy. And not only in the art of combat but also in mindset, how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. How to tap into your true potential and reach a state of high performance where you can execute as a high-performance human being. And he reached out to us. We knew nothing about him up to this point. And we did a deep dive on him like, "Holy, this guy is the real deal. He wants to work with us." We had no idea what it was going to be until we started spitballing. And the next thing you know, we catch a flight down to California to go shoot a digital seminar with this legend.
Kyle: It's kind of such a funny learning lesson like some of your best lessons and successes come from some of the hardest times. And so we try to have a motto now that when you're in those hard times and in those tough places to not get so overwhelmed by it. Because if you can look at it and take it for what it is and live in that present moment and be present in that situation and realize if you ride that wave on the other side is something so valuable and precious, it helps dealing with those situations and dealing with those moments and it makes them a lot better when you're in them, totally.
Erik: And so this actually helps save our company. So we pivoted into digital products, selling online courses with some of the top martial artists on the planet. Sifu Singh being the first martial artist that we pioneered this new model with. So not only did he change our business model and helped us diversify and completely course correct, start cash flowing again, allowing us to continue to work with our nonprofit, continue developing new products and then also diving into this digital world where we can help provide value and share these gifts that these masters have dedicated their lives to attaining such a level of mastery that we're the lucky ones they get to go extract this knowledge, put it into digital content that can be consumed by anyone or anywhere on the globe.
And that is so exciting for us because we are obsessed with learning and we're obsessed with sharing the learnings that we get to come across through our journey and this avenue of putting together digital products to help share that knowledge is such an awesome model that we're so thrilled about. And so if it wasn't for this crisis, if it wasn't for us screwing up this product, we would have never tapped into this new business model. And we would have never met Sifu Singh. And so how could we not be thankful for the thing that at the time looked like a complete crisis?
The other side of it, it's an incredible gift. So we try to now reach a state of gratitude where no matter what just be thankful. Be thankful that you're alive. You get to experience this and when you become thankful, that locks in the gift, that speeds up the process and it almost guarantees you that result, the result of growth. And so that's kind of how we've totally changed our mindset.
Janelle: Yeah: I love that how you guys rose from the ashes and, you know, you completely revitalize your business. And that is such a great message for our listeners today. And I love your magazine. I mean, that's a great avenue for you guys to share some of your thoughts and to feature other martial artists who are doing amazing things.
Erik: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that's one of our most enjoyed projects is literally featuring talented martial artists that have an inspiring story to share. And I'm a firm believer, we are a firm believer, in that there is something that you can learn from absolutely everyone even if it is what not to do, you know, or what not to be like. You could learn from every being on the planet. And we're lucky enough to be able to find the really cool, powerful ones and get their story, put it into our magazine and share it for free.
So it's completely free monthly magazine that goes out straight to folks' inbox. We feature a new martial artist every month. And we use that as an avenue to kind of share what we're doing, what cool products we're working on, what initiatives we have on the go. And it's just a great way to keep in touch with our community and continue to serve and provide value.
Janelle: Yeah. I love that. I was reading through one of your magazines how you and it sounds like Sifu Singh went up to Calgary to speak at a conference on energy disruptors. And how you talked about, you know, the real energy disruptors are stress, fear, and anxiety. And I guess it was Sifu Singh and maybe you guys as well that talked about mindfulness practices. Can you share some of the practices or other health habits that would be beneficial to work on every day?
Erik: Yeah. Absolutely. And this is where we're so fortunate to have met a man like Sifu Singh who specializes in this, you know, specializes in mindfulness. And, I mean, we had dabbled before really getting into Budo Brothers and whatnot. But then we just kept seeing it over and over and over again. And we like, "There's gotta be something to this." And learning from a from a guy like Sifu Singh who teaches...he's got this great, great daily routine where every morning you...he calls it "arrive before you leave." So...
Janelle: I love that.
Erik: ...take time out of your day and dedicate it to yourself, dedicate it to arriving, being present before you walk out that door and rush to the next meeting and fiddle through your day and be completely overwhelmed by all of the crazy things that life throws at you. Get yourself centered. And it's a great, great routine. So essentially what he recommends, and this is what we've been doing and it works phenomenally is, you know, right when you wake up, first thing you do, crush over a litre of water, just chug water. You spent the entire night breathing as you're exhaling, you're letting a whole bunch of water. We actually tested this. Weigh yourself before you go to bed and then weigh yourself right when you wake up.
Janelle: Yeah. That's when I want to weigh myself, right when I wake up.
Kyle: That’s great, yeah
Erik: And so that's literally where a lot of that...well, all of that is essentially moisture. You've been exhaling. You know when you breathe on a window, it fogs it up. That's moisture. That's actual hydration leaving your body. So most of us, what we do as soon as we wake up, we crush coffee and that doesn't necessarily hydrate you.
Kyle: We do the opposite at first.
Erik: So we wake up, we smash coffee after hitting the snooze button and then we...first thing most of us do is go on social media...
Kyle: Roll our stories on Instagram in bed and then you get out.
Erik: Yeah. And so now you've started your day comparing yourself to other people and wondering why your life sucks, great footing to start off.
Kyle: Starting off late, grabbing a donut or something like super sugar-filled. But, yeah, your fuel is important too, right? So watching what you eat. Also, one of the key things is getting a little bit of a sweat in before you go out. If you can manage to put the time in, like it takes 15 minutes, 10 to 15 minutes to break a sweat. You can do squats, burpees, pushups, but just getting your mind and your body ready to attack the day. Winning the day before you leave because if you're already, you know, a losing state or a losing mindset before you walk out the door, the day just takes advantage of you.
Kyle: So first step...
Janelle: I really think like changing it up too in your routine can really help. Like I'm pretty excited today, I did my first barre class and I just think, you know, it was so fun to try something completely new and it tests your physical ability and your muscles in different ways than it's used to.
Kyle: Totally. Yeah. Absolutely. So kind of rounding up this routine, wake up, crush some water, break a sweat, so whether that's just doing some squats, get the body fired up. And it's not easy because you're tired and you don't want to do it but there's the lesson. Get comfortable in that uncomfortable situation. Win that battle because that is internal. And if you can overcome that, you're already off to a great start. So you woke up, you hydrate, you sweat, the endorphins start pumping, you know, your brain starts all these great neural epinephrine and dopamine, you're feeling good.
Then after that, take time to meditate. And whatever that means to you whether that's just focusing on your breath or if you have certain techniques that you like to use, take at least 10 to 15 minutes, sit down, center yourself, breathe, focus on the breath, take that time to just really zero in. Then after that, list off absolutely everything that you're thankful for. Once you're done, switch to gratitude. Think of everything that you're thankful for.
Then after that go crush a great breakfast and showering, now here's the one that people really hate, when you're in the shower, switch it to cold. But the science is there, it wakes up the body, it stimulates all the different systems in your body, the lymphatic system, your immune system all of these different things. You just start firing up, and I tell you, you will notice a crazy energy spike throughout your day that is sustained.
Erik: I didn't know, even myself, I'm not a big fan of cold showers so I kind of do it, you know, a few seconds on, a few seconds off, a few seconds on, a few seconds off and then I try to leave it on as long as possible. But, again, it's just all these micro-wins that you're building up before you even leave. Like you're conquering that and you're staying in there and you're just achieving something before you go out. And then I think the last little piece is just kind of try to learn something new, you know, just taking a little second, just like the barre class. You know how when you went to the barre class there's something new and challenging and inspiring? Like outside of work and your hustle and just giving the brain something to digest and learn because that's what it does. It needs fuel. So when you keep it creative and keep it flowing with something new, it's great.
Kyle: We are continual students. One funny thing about Erik and I, besides when we're working on products and different things, like we rarely listen to music or even the TV that we watch, we usually are trying to consume as much information as possible via podcast, documentary. We're just always trying to jam a lot of information. We find some of the best ways to do that are in those times where you're in transition to listen to great podcasts or great audio books or great YouTube channels and just fill our mind full of good positive lessons because you're filling your mind with positivity all of a sudden your life starts to represent itself that way.
Sometimes Erik will call me like, "Dude, you have to listen to this podcast." And like, "All right." And then I'll listen to it then...But all the sudden when you're speaking and when you're talking and when you're doing things, you're on the same page because you just consumed the same information and you can now talk about it at the same time. So like I really do find that cool about being like, "Oh, check this out. This is cool." But then you both are sharing that information and analyzing it...
Erik: It's like a book club.
Kyle: Yeah. It is a book club.
Janelle: Well, I hope people will do the same with this podcast, right? I would love to have you guys tell me how listeners can follow you guys on your social media and on your website.
Erik: Absolutely. So our website is www.budo.brothers.com. Budobrothers.com. All our social handles are usually @budobrothers on Instagram, Facebook. You can find us on just Budo Brothers, by searching Budo Brothers. YouTube, same thing, really easy.
Kyle: And definitely, if you want to get a really in-depth look of what's going on in our lives of what we do, subscribe to the magazine. You could do that on our website. It's really a good snapshot of what we're always up to. And...
Janelle: Yeah. Fabulous. Okay. Great. I will for sure post links to all that too on our blog post along with this podcast. You were gonna say something?
Erik: I was just gonna say we're launching a new initiative called BBTV, Budo Brothers TV, where we just push record. We're just recording the struggles, the ups, the downs, and putting it all out there. And we go on a trip, we're recording everything, and it's all going to be on YouTube. So stay tuned for that.
Janelle: Oh, fantastic. That's great. Well, thanks, you guys, so much for coming on the show. I'm glad that we were finally able to connect.
Kyle: This is great.
Erik: Awesome. Thank you so much for having us. And by the way, we love your product. It's so amazing. We got to try the Jow and it was just fantastic.
Kyle: The Bruise Juice. The Bruise Juice is really...
Erik: Yeah. Absolutely. We get smashed up a lot. I mean, obviously, when we're out training and filming, we always try to sneak in some training. And a lot of the times you do get bruised, you get banged up. And actually, it was funny. We were on set filming one of our digital seminars with actually Tom Voss and Tom Voss is a massive, massive ambassador. He can't stop talking about you guys. We were training and I actually had my hand smashed. Kyle and I were practicing some stuff and we really had no idea what were we doing.
Erik: Not successfully, in fact.
Kyle: So as you can imagine, we had a couple miss fires and one of those misfires really banged up my hand and we had a crisis because I had to hold this camera for the next two days. And I couldn't close my fist, which was a problem. So luckily, Tom brought his little vial of Bruise Juice. He's like, "Hey, toss some of this on it." Sure enough. I mean, I was good to go. I mean, 30 minutes, the swelling went down and I was relieved. I was back on the camera rocking and rolling. So that was all I needed to know that it works.
Janelle: Yeah. I love Tomm. And he's so great. He was on our first podcast. So you guys will have to listen to that if you get a chance.
Kyle: Let's do it. He's awesome. We're a big fan of Tomm.
Janelle: Oh, yeah. I know. So I have four kids and I seriously carry Bruise Juice and some of our other liniments wherever I go because I like to be the proud mom to whip it out of my backpack when they get her playing soccer or something. Yeah.
Janelle: Yeah, definitely. Well, I try. Anyway, so thanks, you guys, so much again for coming. And we're excited to direct some of our listeners your way.
Kyle: Really appreciate the opportunity.
Janelle: Thank you. And thanks to all our listeners for joining us today. For more great tips from the Budo Brothers, Erik and Kyle, be sure to visit us at plumdragonherbs.com. We will post show notes and ways to connect with them. And if you like the show, please subscribe to our podcast on YouTube and leave us a comment. Until next time.