View Full Version : Team building and Aikido

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02-12-2008, 06:39 PM
I am getting prepared to put on an 8 week course for the local animal control office and I'm looking for ideas: The head person would like to see if we can use the course to help develop some teamwork among his officers.

I am looking for ideas or exercises using aikido that might be useful for teamwork development. I have some thoughts but would like to pick the massive aikidoka brain out there. Any thoughts, ideas or exercises would be useful.

Kevin Leavitt
02-12-2008, 07:45 PM

Never done this before so I don't really know per se.

If I was faced with this, I'd probably look into a couple of areas. I draw heavily from Stephen Covey's work for this type of thing.

Perceptions and Paradigms and the communication process. What I'd call "friend or foe". Dealing with the concept of ma'ai, and intent. Have uke, nage approach each other and try and figure out if they are friend of foe. Either a strike or a handshake. Discuss how to approach the situation with an open mind (Mushin) ready for what ever comes. Seeking to understand rather than be understood and how you approach that from an aikido standpoint.

concept of mutual trust that must exists between uke and nage in order for the relationship to work. How you establish trust, how you violate it. The importance of the communication process.

Not sure if that helps. I think there are people out there that have done this type of thing. Dr Richard Heckler-Strozzi I think?

Again, I'd look through Covey's material and figure out how you convey that through aikido. I have always wanted to do this personally.

02-12-2008, 08:27 PM
Hi John
In my day job I work in the area of communications consultancy - helping organisations upskill members on communication skills, interpersonal relationships, mindset management etc etc.

There is certainly some cross-over here and imho aikido would be best used as a metaphor for something like a clash in communication styles. Which ever model you use (you can google up mbti, satir's styles, HBDI, DISC they all say pretty similar things)

The point being from a team point of view you often get style clashes. Joe wants his information short sharp and to the point, Mary wants it in all it's glorious detail. This can lead to deteriorating relationships based on misunderstanding of others style. When people understand the different styles, and realise others simply filter/require information in a different way it can have a significant impact on team.

The aikido metaphor would be this. When we're unaware of these clashes, it is very much force on force. Two opposing sides fighting to get what they want in the way they want it. Once you realise there is a style clash and start to move closer to the style of the person you're working with, it's much more like blending - both parties are taken care of etc etc.

If you can skill yourself up on the comunication styles material, the idea would be to run an aikido exercise at the start of the session, starting out with clashing then showing them blending, and refer back to that metaphor as you talk through the other issues.


02-12-2008, 09:21 PM

Is this an enforcement agency, or a collect/confine department?


02-12-2008, 10:07 PM
It is a city animal control group-officers.

Thanks for the inputs. Hopefully, more will come in. Kevin, do you have a specific Covey recommendation-I haven't read him in a long, long time. There is some stuff in the conflict resolution area from Dobson's book.

Kevin Leavitt
02-12-2008, 10:17 PM
One of the latest books is called the Speed of Trust. I think it was written by his son though.

Seven Habits is the core book of course. Principle Centered Leadership is good to.

Seven Habits I think is the best as it talks about the core principles. First things first. Seeking to understand before understood, paradigms. The Emotional Bank Account.

All good stuff when dealing with relationships, which are the fundamentals to building cohesive teams.

02-14-2008, 06:15 PM
Thanks. I remember 7 habits. Been a long time since I read it though.