1.0 Rest in Peace Dr. K.F. Leisinger Sensei
It was with great sadness that we learned last month about the passing away of Dr. K.F. Leisinger Sensei (RIP: 19th of February 2014), long time serving Aikido teacher who travelled to The Netherlands to teach at various dojos around the Randstad. Hereby, my obituary to this great man and friend: OBITUARY LEISINGER SENSEI
2.0 What the Bleep Has the Samurai Game® Got to do With Aikido?
Another successful Samurai Game® took place in The Hague on the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of March 2014. The theme of the event was called: "Awaken The Next Chapter in Your Peace Warrior Story". Coincidently, the major heads of states of the world were gathering that weekend in The Hague for the Nuclear Security Summit. Whilst roads were blocked all around the city, the road to the dojo was easy to access and without complications. Therefore I'm happy to report that all participants (including one coming from England and one from Amsterdam) made it to the event without any summit chaos!
This was the third such Samurai Game® taking place since March last year, when I was duely certified by director, Lance Giroux, who visited The Hague and co-facilitated the game of March 2013. My Aikido friends here in The Netherlands are starting to think I might be a little bit mad playing "games" and wasting my time instead of practicing Aikido. Some may wonder what, if anything, does the Samurai Game® have at all to do with Aikido. I do believe that the name of the event leaves open to interpretation what is actually involved in the one and a half day workshops that I have been running and I do therefore forgive my friends for frowning upon me in such a questioning and unapproving way. That said, I'd like to openly invite anybody with doubts to just come along to the next Samurai Game® event on the 1st and 2nd of November and give it a try, at least for one time, instead of jump to unfounded conclusions.
In an attempt to shed some light, I'd like to explain a little bit of what I know about the relevance of Aikido in The Samurai Game®:
About The Samurai Game®The Samurai Game® is considered by many to be the most unique, intense and challenging leadership and team-building experiential simulation available anywhere. Tens of thousands of individuals from around the world have participated in it, through organizational and corporate trainings & retreats, university and school leadership courses, and personal development programs.The Samurai Game® was invented, written, and first performed in 1977 by George Leonard, author, award-winning editor, musician, Aikido instructor and pioneer in the Human Potential movement. The Samurai Game® was copyrighted by George Leonard and is solely owned by The Leonard Family Trust. Participants in The Samurai Game® cross a psychological line and step into the unfamiliar simulated world of the medieval Japanese Samurai. They form two competing samurai armies and engage with their teammates and opponents in symbolic battles that eventually determine the simulation’s finale. These battles call upon participants to exercise resourcefulness, decisiveness, honor, dignity, integrity, respect, compassion and personal commitment. The pace is fast and unpredictable, and the outcomes are highly uncertain. No two productions of the simulation are ever quite the same, making each learning experience unique! While involving no significant physical contact, The Samurai Game® demands much in the way of centeredness and teamwork. Participants are encouraged to summon forth their “warrior” spirit with courage and determination.The Game is just one third of the workshop. Before the game takes place, an introduction is made as to what the game involves, the rules, the preparations and build up towards the game. The other third of the workshop takes place on the second day when participants come together and review what happened during the game and further start to integrate their thought processes with eachother. To most people, this is the most meaningful and substantial part of the workshop as realisations are verbalised and dialogued.
Being himself an avid Aikido teacher from California, USA, the late George Leonard was set on applying his Aikido experience to his knowledge and expertise in personal development and human potential. He therefore devised The Samurai Game® with the concepts of Aikido being employed as a set of tools to practice dealing with stressful and critical moments which would eventually arise during the play of the game. Included in this toolset, were embodied movements which help to personify the actions required for changing perspectives allowing new points of view to arise in peoples' world view perceptions.
Awaken The Next Chapter in Your Peace Warrior Story
We all have a story to tell in our lives. At some point, a chapter will end and another chapter will be opened. When projects die or relationships are over, one moves on and starts a new beginning. We looked at these "moving on" moments of life somewhat in the last Samurai Game® event at least in the form of changing perspectives. To move on we may need the flexibility to change our own perspectives or the courage/bravery to enter other spaces and influence others to change their perspectives. These two basic principles are embodied with the movements of TENKAN (turning around one's own center) and IRIMI (entering movement) respectively. During the weekend, we practiced these movements under various levels of difficulty, aiming all the time to move with G.R.A.C.E (grounding, relaxation, awareness, centering and energising) and we noted the stresses and hindrances that come with those movements when G.R.A.C.E is not embodied. Then the practical application was implicitly tested during the game. Translating those movements into the game meant being faced (and sometimes confronted) with a more vivid realisation of the need for empathy and bravery at various moments during the course of the game (and our lives!!).
Come and Try This Rewarding Experience!
The next public Samurai Game® event in The Hague takes place on the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of November 2014 and we will possibly focus on a new theme of awakening, further using the Aikido toolset to assist our embodied understanding.
For more information about the Samurai Game®:Samurai Game® The Netherlands facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/samuraigamenl?fref=ts: https://www.facebook.com/samuraigamenl?fref=ts
Official Samurai Game® Webiste: www.http://samuraigame.org/
3.0 Friendship Aikido in Marocco with Yamashima Sensei
|All gathered to watch the beautiful demonstration of two blind men, showing that Aikido is for everybody.|
A weekend holiday to practice Aikido with Yamashima Sensei, 7th dan Aikikai, in Casablanca, Marocco, brought me and 6 Aikido colleagues from The Netherlands closer to learning what is happening with Aikido in Marocco. We were welcomed and fed and made to feel like belonging to one big family and the sun was shining. Day one of the weekend event saw a beautiful Aikido demonstration by two blind Aikidoka and one Aikidoka who had one arm only up to his elbow. Nevertheless, it was one of the most beautiful Aikido demonstrations I had ever seen. It seems that our sight and our arms are indeed not always an advantage if we want to learn to move intuitively with our centre. This was a great lesson in noticing the necessities of just using the centre. To supplement this great demonstration, Yamashima Sensei gave some useful ground work on bokken practice applied to Aikido movement and changing sides with focus on the center line of the body. On the second day, the weekend seminar was concluded with a fabulous lesson with Yamashima Sensei, enjoyed by the Marroccans and international visiters alike.
|International Aikido delegation from Japan, Holland, France, Switzerland, Bulgaria with Marrocan hosts at the beautiful Grande Mosquée Hassan II in Casablanca.|
Complementing our nice Aikido practice, the sunny beach and a visit to the beautiful Mosque were worthwhile touristic activities to carry out during our times of relaxation.
4.0 Yamashima Sensei's International Agenda for 2014
Here is the eagerly awaited 2014 international agenda for Yamashima Sensei (click image and use zoom function to enlarge):
Thank you, Mr. Ken Aigo, for your collaboration in delivering this important data.
Looking forward to meet more Aikido friends at the next seminars of Yamashima Sensei in The Netherlands, Europe and around the world!