Ep.26 | Jonathan Burke | A World-Class MMA Expert’s Take on How to Approach Fear, Pressure, and Emotionally-Charged Situations

Your strength and skills can only take you so far if you can’t get your mind and emotions under control. In today’s episode, J.R. sits with Jonathan Burke – a 4th-degree black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Founder of Next Level Combatives and 6 Levels MMA Gym in Orlando. J.R. and Jon talk about the mindset mistake stunts progress and what to do about it, the one strategy from Gracie Jiu Jitsu that’s a MUST to take into pressure-packed situations, and the mindset you MUST take to succeed in HIGHLY emotional, highly-charged situations.

Jon earned his black belt from UFC Legend, Royce Gracie, and has over three decades of experience in mixed martial arts, self-defense, and close-quarters combat. Following 9/11, Jon was a team leader and instructor to train counter-terrorist teams in what is now recognized as the Department of Homeland Security. His tactics have been implemented by U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Army Special Forces, U.S. Army Rangers, as well as numerous U.S. federal and state law enforcement agencies. 

You’ll also find Jon working with Fortune 25 companies, as well as world-famous actors, musicians, and pro athletes. He’s been featured on ABC, NBC, FOX, ESPN, and multiple other media outlets. Speaking of TV – go check out Episode 8 in the first season of Shaq Life on TNT – Jon has been training the NBA Legend for over 20 years. And for you women listeners – Jon has also authored the book “Safe is the New Sexy,” which is a women’s guide to self-defense.

He is an amazing teacher – no doubt. But he’s also a devoted husband and father and RELENTLESS entrepreneur.

[00:01 – 18:32] Introducing Jon to the Show 

  • Jon’s most embarrassing moment as an adult
  • A quick backstory and how Jon’s love for jiu jitsu began
  • The biggest obstacle Jon had to overcome during his Gracie Jiu Jitsu journey

[18:33 – 50:48] Win The Battle In Your Head First

  • The skill from Gracie Jiu Jitsu that would help you handle pressure better 
  • Overcoming a limiting mindset by believing in your skillset
  • Getting rid of the negative “What if” thought
  • Accepting the worst and believing in the best
  • People as Energy Beings
  • Learning to surrender 
  • Jiu jiutsu as real-life training in handling stress and pressure
  • Jon’s  3-step advice on how to deescalate a highly emotional situation
  • Tips for parents:
    • Keep your family safe when using social media
    • Develop a family code system
    • Expose your children to the reality of the world

[50:49 – 54:10] Wrapping Up!

  • Jon’s BIG domino
  • How to connect with Jon


“You can’t control every outcome, but you can mitigate risk and be ready.” – Jonathan Burke

“Be empathetic before you’re responsive.” – Jonathan Burke

“Put more value on yourself, not your things.” – Jonathan Burke

“Don’t optically judge your opponent…ever.” – Jonathan Burke



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