View Full Version : Aikido in Business

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12-11-2014, 06:37 AM
At the current time my professional life is very stressful. My employer and the client that I work with have become engaged in a legal battle and it is difficult for me to not be put in the middle by either side. On a daily basis for the last week or so I have had to stay relaxed and calm during this stressful situation all the while not knowing if it will effect my employment with my company (I was hired as a remote employee to work with this client; if the client goes away I worry that I will be out of a job). I am recently married and just finished my graduate studies. The school loan payments will be starting and having stable employment at this time is a source of stress for me.

The universe works in mysterious ways and this all started about a week ago which is the same time that I returned to training full time. I think deep down I could see the writing on the wall between these two parties and knew I would need to refocus my energies in a productive way internally.

The non-aggressive philosophy that aikido teaches has benefits that can be applied outside of the school as we all know. That said, I am curious to know everyone's experience with applying the philosophical principles of aikido to business.

What is your experience? Do you consciously apply aikido philosophy on a daily basis at work? Or do you not even acknowledge the principles 'off-the-mat'?

Interested in all comments on this topic.

I am off to work.....going to try to be the circle to their triangle..... :triangle: :circle:

12-11-2014, 07:08 AM
There's a lot to be learned in all budo that can help in confrontations outside the dojo. One thing I learned very early on was to be conscious of when someone is trying to use their physical presence to dominate or intimidate in a non-physical encounter. I think everyone is aware of this on some level, but I found that training took this awareness from an uncomfortable, under-the-surface "something is wrong" feeling, to a conscious, "wow, this guy is looming over me, what does he think he's gonna do, bop me on the head if he doesn't get his way?" So, it went from a vague unstated threat to an amusingly empty attempt at a threat.

In aikido, specifically, I think it's helpful in learning to not be reactive. My sensei often issues corrections in the form of a comical imitation of what we're doing, and one that shows up all too frequently is the "blundering rush": reaching outside your space, frantically grabbing at parts of your opponent, etc. Sensei says, "'When' is most important, 'where' comes next, and 'what' is after that." Focusing on getting the "when" right means choosing the right moment, which means not blindly reacting -- and choosing the right moment really improves the likelihood of choosing a good "where" and "what".

12-12-2014, 06:10 PM
Thanks for the comments Mary this makes a lot of sense. I can definitely see parallels in aikido and everyday life where, as you said, it is important to learn to not be reactive.

01-15-2015, 10:05 AM
Chris, I teach a variety of business classes in an MBA program (negotiations, law & ethics, etc.) and I try to infuse my teaching with Aikido philosophy where appropriate. The principle that most immediately comes to mind is maai, the engagement distance between combatants.

I'm a lawyer in addition to being a business teacher, so I am on the receiving end of many threats from opposing counsel. I try to teach my negotiations students the difference between a real attack that must be defended, and an empy threat that is "outside the circle" and can (and should) be ignored.

When being threatened, or when someone tries to pull me into their fight, I remember O Sensei's saying "be like water, water contends with nothing."

Good luck and I hope your situation improves. It sounds like you are bringing the right mindset to a stressful place.

01-15-2015, 10:10 AM
P.S. Chapters IV and V of Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere are particularly helpful on these points. The authors don't refer to their distance concepts as "maai," but my Sensei did and so that term has stuck with me.

01-16-2015, 09:50 PM
Aikido in Business is one of the tracks that will be addressed in the upcoming Aiki Extensions US Conference at the end of May. Got to www.aikiextensions.org for more info.

Janet Rosen
01-17-2015, 12:01 AM
I didn't see anything on front page of site directing to info on a conference.

01-19-2015, 11:41 AM
I would love to join your Aiki Business Group (http://www.aikiextensions.org/programs/working-groups/business/) but the "join" link does not seem to work. Please advise how I might join?

12-29-2016, 01:36 PM
Andrew, Aviv, Janet, and Mary,

Thank you kindly for the responses and please accept my apologies for responding a full 2 years later!

So as it turned out the two companies did go their separate ways and my position eliminated. Did my best not to be reactive but of course I am human and cannot say that I did not have a hand in my own demise.

This is why I am back, trying to get into training again on and off the mat in business and in practice.