Monday, April 13, 2009

I just received a request from Mark Walsh INTEGRATION TRAINING (+44) (0) 7762 541 855, Business Website: , and blog: . Mark lives in Brighton, UK. We met when two years ago when he was in the U.S. studying aikido at the dojo where I train He's been very involved internationally with Aiki Extensions and has extensively served in Brazil and Cyprus and elsewhere.

Mark's note today read: "I'm writing an article about aikido and business. Specifically I'm asking aikidoka who are business owners/directors to answer five questions and will collate these. The finished article will appear on my blog which gets around 15,000 visits per year and probably AJ (which gets many more hits) so is a nice piece of publicity for anyone who takes part.If you would fw this onto any other aikidoka business owners you know I'd appreciate it. The questions are below if you'd like to take part. All the best, Mark"

Here then are his questions and my responses - worth making available here at my blog site as well:

What is your business?
My business is Allied Ronin Leadership Training & Consulting, doing business worldwide and serving the public, organizations, government agencies and universities (e.g. the UN Secretariat, AIESEC International, Texas A&M University, Verizon Wireless, Nokia, Societe Generale' Corporate Banking, Organizational Behavior Teacher Society, etc.) with highly experiential leadership and team effectiveness programs - and most known for internationally as the sole facilitator training and certification representative for The Samurai Game®, a creation of George Leonard Sensei My blog site is

What is your aikido grade and affiliation?
I hold shodan rank and study aikido under Richard Strozzi-Heckler Sensei at Two Rock Aikido dojo The affiliation is California Aikido Association

How has training in aikido influenced your business?
Aikido directly influences my work -blending, listening, somatics, embodiment of constructive principles, maintaining integrity. These are relevant to everyday life - private, public, business, organizational behavior. In a world otherwise dedicated intellectually to learning sound leadership and management practices, this approach (i.e. using aikido movement and translating into everyday language and business terms) really sticks with people. They open to a whole new world of appreciating themselves, their partners, their families and who they have previously considered their adversaries and competition.

What do you think the wider business community could learn from aikido?
Most importantly: (1) the profound need to become present to what is happening around you (be here now); (2)20to remain in contact with self and others; (3) be mindful in all your actions and behaviors; (4) daily strive to serve others, no matter what; (5) every day is an opportunity to increase one's capacity to relax under pressure; and (6) each and every day presents THE opportunity to practice - practice - practice what is important in life. These are crucial elements and particularly relevant during these times of global economic and political stress (on the macro scale) and family life or being a good student (on the micro scale).

Anything else you'd like to share about aikido and business?
Aikido became a platform for the transformation of my work when I first met George Leonard Sensei and Richard Strozzi-Heckler Sensei in the late 1980's. But I didn't give myself permission to step on the mat until 2000, and then only after suffering a major accident - severely breaking my hip. I figured if I didn't at least give it an honest effort I would forever be saying, "Maybe I could have and I wish I would have." Since then the art:(a) has provided me a foundation for gracefully handling the pressures and stresses of being in business for myself in a highly dynamic and changing world;(b) has become a most effective way to communicate basics that are important fundamentals to business and personal relationships - fundamentals that need reinforcement every day off the mat no matter how successful one is or becomes;(c) provides dynamic and undeniable evidence for individual and group understanding (or lack thereof) of what it takes to be effective in the world - as single person, a person in relationship, a dad, a mom, a teammate, a manager, an executive, etc.; and(d) provides a way (even if only infrequently practiced) to increase constructive capacities regardless of one's career path.
signed - Lance M. Giroux 707-769-0328

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