Sunday, February 17, 2008

Samurai Game- Spring Season

February 13th, 2008

It’s February and Samurai Game® spring season is here! But, then for me it’s always Samurai Game® season.

Tomorrow I depart for Texas A&M – College Station TX – to deliver the simulation for the Fellows Program headed by Dr. Tim Peterson, our third annual delivery there. Next week, February 22nd, will be my fifth annually delivery of it at the University of Nevada Las Vegas for the UNLV L.E.A.D. Team. Since first being asked to deliver the Game for universities at the University of San Francisco (2000) I am continually struck at the receptivity on college campuses and the personal depth to which students and faculty take the exercise. And judging by the recurring feedback received over the years it appears to have good transference and long-range application, particularly within the context of leadership studies.

FYI - I will also lead the Game for the public very soon – Honolulu Hawaii – March 7,8,9. If you’re interested contact Ian Kitajima ( (808-226-8805) or Burt Lum ( (808-381-6877) and/or enroll directly at . It’s a good reason to take a trip to Hawaii next month.

Matt Brannagan, who ensures that this blogsite nd the monthly Allied Ronin e-newsletter makes it to you, asked me recently to re-cap how the Samurai Game® came into existence. Briefly stated the game was invented by George Leonard, who (at 83 years of age) holds credentials which include being: the most prolific writer for Esquire Magazine and one of the most read writers for Look Magazine; credited as the “grandfather of the human potential movement in the United States”; co-founder of Esalen Institute; co-founder of Aikido of Tamalpais; creator of Integral Transformative Practice and Leonard Energy Training; and author of at least a dozen books – including Mastery, The Ultimate Athlete, The Silent Pulse, Education and Ecstasy; The Way of Aikido; Walking on the Edge of the World; and arguably the most published aikido senseis (teachers) in the world. He is also an accomplished musician (in the 1940 his swing band was on tour) as well as a combat veteran of WWII and the Korean War.

Three things occurring simultaneously in the late 1970’s inspired George Leonard to develop the Game: (1) his continued study and practice of aikido; (2) the TV mini-series “Shogun”; and (3) a reunion of friends with whom he had served in WWII. Combined these events conjured up a series of questions in his mind: What if people could become more strongly attached to peace than to conflict? What if, under stress, people could be ready and able to fight, yet willing and able to choose non-violent alternatives? What if people could look death in the eye without having to pay horrible physical and psychological prices?

On an afternoon walk from his home to his dojo to teach an energy class he pondered these questions and fashioned the Game’s elements, rolls and rules … and upon reaching the dojo, he suspended class and asked his students to engage in his creation. They agreed – and the first Samurai Game unfolded. Afterward it became apparent to him that profound learning had occurred … and the rest is history.

I became aware of the Game in 1983, and first participated in it six years later. Siunce then it has become a central piece of my work. I am fortunate to have delivered it for thousands of people of all ages, professional backgrounds, and levels of education … for the public, for schools and at corporate and organizational retreats. Some clients using the Game have included the UN Secretariat, Nokia, Verizon, AIESEC International, the City of Anaheim, numerous colleges … and other organizations, businesses and schools. I am also fortunate to represent Mr. Leonard and the Leonard Trust around the world as his (their) sole training and certification agent for the Game’s facilitators; and to have been able to deliver it throughout the U.S. and in the Netherlands, Indonesia, Bali, Slovakia, Egypt, Hungary, and repeatedly in Taiwan, China and Poland. The Game is different each time it unfolds – because it’s alive. The results are always … spectacular!

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