A blog with some news, reports and articles from the Aikido community around the world.
Edited by Lawrence Warry & Ze'ev Erlich

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jan - Mar 2017

1.0 What Does it Take to Give a TEDx Talk?

It's been some start to the year!
I spent the first two months this year preparing for and participating in a TEDx talk. I never imagined I would stand up on stage in front of 200 people in the Transylvanian city of Targu Mures and give a TEDx talk about my childhood and how I entered the martial arts later in life and finally how I came accross the amazing art of Aikido and the wonderful personal development tool and simulation the Samurai Game. In the talk I share my idea about leadership and how it can be achieved without brute force or manipulation but by the simple power of surrendering, not so much in a submissive way but by way of permission, just like we practice in Aikido.
The talk in Targu Mures was well organised by Dr. Johann Stan, the TEDx curator of Targu Mures. Dr. Stan did an excellent job of collecting some of the most forward thinking people of Romania together as well as the two visitors from The Netherlands (myself and Mr. Maurice Zondag) to come up with what can only be described as an inspirational day of great ideas being shared by the speakers. From social-psychology to technical insights the talks of the day gave members a taste of what is to come in the future and the challenges we are faced with that come with the changes. My talk, Surrender for Effective Leadership, was therefore very fitting as I tried to bring to the surface issues of modern diversity and the need to cross tribes in order to form new tribal leadership if we are going to develop super teams to take on tomorrow's challenges.

The preparation was an arduous challenge in itself. I spent weeks writing and correcting the transcript until I came to a version which I and my friends who collaborated with me found to be acceptable. I made rehearsal talks with friends, online, over the phone, in my bed to mysef, on the toilet, in the car. Any chance I could get to rehearse the talk, I seized the opportunity! It is with thanks to Aikido which taught me diligence that I was able to carry myself through the practice and preparations daily for a period of two months. I never imagined I would be ready but, there I was, on the day, standing up and talking my talk. It was an exhilarating moment and most memorable will be when I got the 200 strong audience to stand up with me and practice the GRACE exercise that George Leonard adopted in the Samurai Game. GRACE stands for Grounding, Relaxation, Awareness, Centering and Energizing. It was really something to see. Me and 200 people breathing in synchrony. I started to feel what it might be like if I was Mr. Bikram himself giving one of his hot yoga classes.
Whilst it lasted just a minute or so to do this exercise with the audience, the effect was a deep sense of connection and the stunt hit home the message that we need exercises like GRACE to break down barriers between diverse perspectives and cultures.

The additional challenge of the talk was to relay my message within a limit of 18 or so minutes. This is a requirement of the TED organization and the TEDx organisers are obliged to ask the speakers to respect this time.

The event itself was well run by a team of enthusiastic students who believed in the TED philosophy of ideas worth spreading and these young individuals were very helpful in keeping the show smoothly running all day. Therefore I present my deepest thanks to this wonderful organisational team and Dr. Stan.

The talk I presented will soon be online and I'll be announcing it on this blog and on Facebook.
In the meantime, if you're curious about the contents of the talk, I have also made the transcript available online, which quite surprisingly is quite close to the actual talk I gave despite the fact that I threw my index cards with the key points into the air and surrendered to the limitations of my memory!

Link to transcript:

2.0 Celebrating One Year of Aikido in Amsterdam

Back in March 2016, a new baby Aikido club was born, Shinyu Amsterdam Dojo of Aikido and Embodiment. We started with just 20 mats and one student. Over the year, we didn't grow much in numbers but we had a fantastic Aikido learning. Three great teachers came to visit us: Ze'ev Erlich Sensei and Miles Kessler Sensei (both from Israel and both 5th dan Aikikai) and, most auspisciously, we also received the practice of Takeshi Yamashima Sensei 7th dan Aikikai.
We are deeply thankful for all the support of our teachers and students who applied themselves over the year to our little Aikido club and we look forward to further expanding our knowledge and sharing Aikido with more people over the coming years! The plan is also to expand to two time per week practice. Keep your eyes peeled here on Facebook for more info: