For those of you passionate about martial arts, especially Karate, you might be left feeling slightly jealous after reading this article. Jay George, Managing Consultant at Commissum, recently returned from a business and pleasure trip Japan. Business out the way he has returned with holiday tales of dancing geishas, dynamic graphic design everywhere, cultural landscapes…and the obligatory crazy foods. Some of which he brought back! More on that later.
For Jay, one of the most significant parts of his trip was that he visited the birthplace of Karate – Okinawa. For those of you that don’t know him, Jay has been has been studying martial arts in various forms for the last 14 years, and whilst in Japan he explored the place where Karate originated and fit in some time training in a local dojo.
His expectations were exceeded and Jay said of his time in Okinawa: “The most thrilling experience was having a training session with an 8th “dan-sensei” and Zen master, in his sixties. It was like starting all over again – going back to the fundamentals, remembering subtle but important differences, changes in techniques”, he admitted.
During the day Jay is a Commissum Managing Consultant and cyber security evangelist – he provides mentoring, training and expert consultancy to Commissum clients. A world away from martial arts? Maybe not quite as far as you’d think… If we go a bit deeper, multiple comparisons and analogies can be drawn between cyber security, karate and martial arts in general when you think about it. First of all, practice is key – you need to work on your skills on a constant basis in order to not just maintain your current level but to be constantly learning and improving. Just like information security, your skills need to be finely honed over time and they need to be exercised regularly and updated constantly to meet the ever changing and developing threat. You certainly cannot become a cyber security master overnight. And just like the 8th Dan Sensei in Okinawa, Commissum’s consultants have spent entire careers learning a wide and varied skill set to the expert level in order to mentor and help our clients.
Both karate and cyber security skills can be misused, hacking and cybercrime in the second case and can cause much harm. Here at Commissum we are committed to utilising the skills we have for good and to help fight cybercrime and other nefarious threats faced by our clients, UK public sector and the wider economy. Like true followers of Karate we use our skills to defend ourselves and those that seek our help!
Finally, In Japan, honour, reputation and integrity play a huge part in martial arts and those traits are also weaved into the fabric of their national culture. At Commissum we embrace many of these behaviours and our corporate values of Integrity, Commitment and Excellence would be welcome in any dojo. Jay says: “Karate and security are about striving for excellence and being able to adapt to threatening situations quickly and effectively.”
Going back to Japan itself, Jay also had the following insights to offer: “it has a very low crime rate in comparison to other industrialised economies. Robbery incidents are almost as rare as murders. Not to forget, it offers a lot of fun stuff, say, drinks vending machines everywhere. Literally everywhere – even on the top of a mountain! Food is great (and cheap!), and you’re often surprised when it is served on the table, purely because you had no idea what you’re ordering”. Jay chuckles every time he remembers when he had to sing his choice to the waiter at a restaurant. “On top of that, the bill was delivered by a wind-up toy!”
And lastly, those crazy Kit Kats… Japan offers more than 200 different flavours of the delicious chocolate biscuit bar! Jay was kind enough to bring some back for the folks at Commissum Towers. Green Tea and Rum & Raisin flavours no less. We are all firmly Japanophiles!
Want to be the best? Learn from the best? Get a fresh insight into your organisation’s cybersecurity? Or karate… Or both. Challenge what you think you know and take the opportunity to attack the problem with a fresh pair of Commissum expert eyes.