Meeting the NLP Practitioner and coach that also happens to be a leading MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Fighter

25 Nov

Going Mental

There are few more fascinating author  interviews I’ve conducted over the years than my meeting with Jakob Lovstad, author of ‘Going Mental – Reaching your Goals in Business and Sports – Full Contact NLP Coaching From a Full Contact Fighter. We met in a very cold and snowy Stockholm and chatted about the book, his coaching and his fighting. Jakob is in the top 10 Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters in Europe, a fighting coach and now NLP practitioner and business coach.

Physically Jakob is a big guy. Around 2 metres tall and he fights in the light heavyweight class. With his hair shaven close to his scalp – having hair is a potential weakness in some classes of MMA where hair grabbing is allowed – he cuts a pretty intimidating figure. As soon as he begins to talk you realise that behind this tough exterior lies a very intelligent and articulate coach. He may ply his trade knocking seven bells out of his counterparts in the ring, but the key to his and the fighters he trains success is born out of NLP. Don’t tell anyone, as it may affect his “Striking Viking” persona in the cage, but this is one very clever guy. Jakob went to the Norwegian equivalent of MIT and spent 4 years working on his PHD before he made the unusual move into MMA.

Jakob was introduced to NLP by a coach following a disastrous fight in which a cocky and arrogant (his own words) Lovstad went into the ring injured and wholly mentally unprepared. After a very bad and humiliating beating he spent much of the recovery time learning NLP which proved a revelation for him. Jakob realised the potential to add NLP based preparation to a fighters training and set about building a program for MMA fighters.  The results have been excellent with the program creating top fighters that are also mentally prepared for their fights. Jakob saw the natural transition to bring the techniques into the business world and now works with business leaders with a no-nonsense coaching philosophy and interesting offers a ‘no-change, no-fee’ deal to his clients. A very unique type of business coach.

John Grinder, co-founder of NLP agrees that Jakob is a very unusual case;

“Consider, however the context – while I could well be wrong, I doubt that many of the professional full contact fighters concern themselves about such philosophical issues as the possibility of objectivity, the distinction between reality and experience, the issue of whether life has meaning or is it that we simply create the meaning in our lives. Jakob does. And this makes for a lively insight into this very special world.”

Whilst some of the philosophies Jakob puts across will no doubt be controversial [he advocates a ‘personal religion’ rather than subscribing to any of the traditional religions for example] Grinder goes on to say how in fact Jakob’s work is a great demonstration of NLP

“NLP (especially New Code NLP) has as its focus the extraordinary, the genius, in whatever field of endeavor. Here is a narrative about its consequences embodied in a cage fighter – have a look – the patterns are perfectly applicable to what you do as well as what Jakob does.”

My favourite comment on Jakob’s concept of ‘full contact NLP’ comes from Jorgen Rasmussen:

“Despite the fact that I disagree strongly with some of his philosophy, Jakob’s results using NLP patterning to become a high achiever in the toughest sport on earth speaks for itself. When the consequences of your ideas not working properly is a shin to the neck, you are pretty much forced to find out what actually works and what is B.S.”

Jakob still fights, with his next major bout coming up in March and he insists this helps him with his business clients. It is a strong demonstration that the techniques he is applying with them are similar to those he is using before stepping into the cage with some of the world’s leading MMA fighters. Jakob uses the phrase “battle tested” for his methods and he’s very passionate about what he sees as a ‘regurgitation bandwagon’ with several writers simply re-hashing the original NLP principles – and on that point he has a lot of supporters.

So the consensus is that Going Mental is a very valid, interesting and valuable contribution to the overall NLP field – even if you don’t agree with some of the strong views expressed within. One thing is for sure, the next few months as his publisher is going to be an interesting ride.

Going Mental is available through all good bookstores, on Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books and iBooks (iPad and iPhone). To contact Jakob about speaking at an event (he’s very good in front of large audiences) visit his website


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2 responses to “Meeting the NLP Practitioner and coach that also happens to be a leading MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Fighter

  1. Dr. Phelps, PhD, GA

    November 25, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    As a psychologist, Messianic Rabbi, 3 tours Viet Nam Vet, with 8 years in the boxing ring and a brown belt in judo, who speaks Vietnamese, Spanish and Liturgical Hebrew, with 42 years in Management with General Motors Corporation acknowledge NLP has changed my life. Although NLP certified late in life I’ve learned today is the beginning of the rest of my life … I’ve learned to dance.

    Dr. Phelps


  2. Jason

    January 21, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I can totally confirm and endorse this “Going Mental” perspective on MMA and NLP. As a martial art instructor of Full Contact Stick Fighting (Eskrima), I have utilized methods for teaching and mental preperation, from NLP, Psycho Cybernetics, and Self Image Psychology, for my students and fighters and seen great progress in rapid time frames.



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