The Unforgiving60

S1E22- Conversations with Mandela … and Subsequent Corporate Combat - Sans Tattoo

July 17, 2019

From bouncer to the boardroom. ‘Sans Tattoo’ is an ex-soldier and former bouncer who designed the fighting system that was taught to Nelson Mandela’s personal bodyguard.

But that’s the short version of a longer story.

In order to get there Sans dealt with months of rejection. He was out of money, but not out of belief, when he seized on one small opportunity. His fighting system has been used by many police and military units including the US FBI and 22 SAS (UK).

This interview is full of philosophical goodness. San’s recounts his interactions with President Mandela, and how he uses his knowledge, skills and experiences as a bouncer in his current career as a highly regarded professional speaker.

And unlike a lot of ex-Bouncers, Sans has studied post-graduate law and taught conflict resolution strategies to executives on five continents. Sans has shared the speaking stage with major identities that include former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Olympic Gold Medallist Lauren Burns, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Sans blends humour, hard facts and practical tools anyone can apply to reduce conflict and build trust. He also shares his resilience model with us that provides a toolkit on how to deal with the everyday stressors that we all confront in the ‘age of outrage’.

 ‘The common thread of successful people is discipline’- Sans Tattoo

 Intelligence Summary (INTSUM)

  • 2:30- Which is more difficult- being on a nightclub door or speaking to a corporate audience ?
  • 4:05- Sans’ endearing memories of Africa
  • 7:11- Dealing with rejection… and overcoming it
  • 10:12- ‘Entrepreneur’ by another name (in 1994)
  • 14:20- Being receptive to ritual dissent
  • 16:30- An anecdote about Nelson Mandela
  • 19:05- San’s first meeting with Nelson Mandela
  • 7 things you don’t know about Nelson Mandela (via BBC):
  • 21:50- Nelson Mandela’s advice on what a child owes a parent
  • 23:45- On stoicism
  • 28:10- Using combat techniques to deal with fear
  • 30:45- Sans outlines his ritual recitation before each keynote
  • 32:20- The importance of narrative and storytelling for leaders.
  • 34:26- Aesops Fable on video for kids:
  • 35:55- What are the secrets to communicating a good message?
  • 41:10- Education v Entertainment… which do you need?
  • 45:10- The evolution of the human species into a goldfish (our decreasing attention span)
  • Time Magazine Article on Attention Span:
  • 49:05- The Goldfish Series of Questions (Quick Questions/ Quick Answers)
  • 51:45- San’s Resilience Model (….. get your pens out!)
    • Mind
    • Body
    • Social
    • Global
  • 1:00:20- Is Sans Tattoo really Sans Tattoo?


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Music by The Externals available on Spotify