Tuesday, January 19, 2010

George Leonard

The memorial service for George Leonard will be February 28, 2010, at the Mill Valley Community Center, 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley, California, from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm. George passed away Tuesday, January 6, at his home in Mill Valley, California. He was 86.

During his life Mr. Leonard served in the US Army Air Corps as a combat fighter-bomber pilot in WWII and during the Korean War as an air intelligence officer. He was an editor and wrote extensively for Look Magazine and won many awards there as he covered the Civil Rights movement in the US and the rise of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe. He remains the most prolific writer ever for Esquire Magazine. His twelve major books included "Mastery", "The Ultimate Athlete", "The Silent Pulse", "Education and Ecstasy", "The Transformation", "The Way of Aikido", "Walking on the Edge of the World" and others. "Mastery" written in 1991, has never gone out of print and has been continuously stocked in book store throughout the US since its publication.

With Michael Murphy he co-founded Esalen Institute, and at the time of his passing was Esalen's president emeritus. He also co-founded ITP International and Aikido of Tamalpais. Taking up aikido at age 47 he went on to attain the rank of 5th degree black belt. It would be safe to say he was the most authored aikido sensei in the world. Arguably, he was (and possibly remains) the most influential person in the spreading of aikido awareness in the USA. He was recognized by Time magazine as the father of the human potential movement in the US, and was the individual who coined the phrase "the human potential movement."

On an afternoon in 1977 as he walked from his home to his dojo, George created the Samurai Game®. Since then the Game was copyrighted, solely owned by him and his wife Annie, and the Leonard Trust. The simulation has directly affected the lives of hundreds of thousands around the world, and indirectly touched millions with lessons of effective leadership and team work - greatly strengthening one's awareness and connection to a strong ethical code. A cadre of over thirty certified facilitators now spreads across the globe: Mexico to Poland to PR China to Taiwan to the UK and across the USA.

I met George in 1990. He agreed to become an Associate of Allied Ronin in the late 1990's. In 2000, I began serving him as his sole training and certification representative for the Game. Together we led many Samurai Games, most of them at his dojo in Mill Valley. He became my closest ally and, along with his wife, a dear friend. The work we did in codifying the Game and it's standards and methods of facilitator training and certification will continue, as will my service to their Trust in this regard. I promised him in 1994 that I would take the Game around the world. The fact is, though, that he and the Game have taken me around the world. His work directly touched many millions of people on every continent of the globe. The planet Earth is a better place in 2010 than it was in 1923 in no small measure because of this one man and his vision, his wholeheartedness, his commitment and his generosity.

Tax deductible contributions may be made in George Leonard's name at www.itp-international.org


Matt said...

Wonderfully said Lance. We are all better off for the contributions that George made.

walatka said...

Is this memorial still scheduled to take place this Sunday from 3 to 6?

Lance Giroux said...

Yes, and please arrive about 2:15 pm to ensure you get seated, due to the number of people expected.