Apply Aikido Principles when Dealing with Conflict
“Overcoming Diversity is my Teacher, My Ego is My Enemy..”
Do you want to simply Learn about Conflict?
Or do you want to Master the Art ?
Experience the Principles of Aikido in your Customized Conflict Workshop for your Teams and Leaders
Can we Avoid Conflict?
Conflict is something that we can not avoid. The key is to understand how to manage it effectively not to try and avoid it.
I work with a lot of team leaders and members who struggle with situations that involve conflict. Attending training courses will give you a better understanding and some tools to use when dealing with conflict; however, if you are hesitating in applying these to real situations then you may feel stuck; not able to move forward still.
Please remember when we are learning a new skill set it takes practice before we become efficient. Therefore, handling conflict effectively is the same as any other goal that we strive towards. Action is required before we achieve results.
What is Aikido? How does it relate to Conflict?
Creates Inner Balance and Calmness
Aikido focuses on keeping a strong internal balance which is required in order to harmonize with others, which allows one to manipulate an opponent's assault as well as apply a highly effective counter strike. Self-control is key to preserving harmony and realizing victory.
The Principles in applying Aikido to daily life are
It is an Defensive Art - Non Attacking
Aikido is the art of taking another person’s attack and neutralizing its effectiveness by redirecting it in a peaceful and nonviolent way. Aikido was born out of a combination of Morihei Ueshiba’s mastery of different martial arts and his philosophical views.
Aikido allows a person to deal with an attack or issue while considering the safety of the attacker. The goal of Aikido is a nonviolent end to a confrontation.
A bit about my Martial Arts Journey and some of my insights ...............
As I am writing this article I am reflecting on the changes and different perspectives that I have gained over the 30 years whilst being involved in martial arts. These principles I use in everyday life and teach within my leadership programs.
There is only a small percentage of people who undertake martial arts that will gain their black belt ranking. This normally takes around 3 – 4 years of dedicated training to achieve this level. The saying in the Martial Arts world is once you receive your black belt, then the real training begins. Yes, you have just achieved beginner level. This is the time when you begin to give back to others, start to understand the trainings at a deeper level. You start to move into mastering the art not simply going through the motions.
For the first 9 years of my martial arts training I gained black belt ranking in Tae Kwon Do, Karate and Non-Traditional Kung Fu. I was the student that thought okay I got my black belt, lets move on. You know simply ticking the boxes. Setting the goals and then looking for the next one to achieve. It wasn’t until I started Aikido that I finally got it. Deciding to master your art is so empowering. It was truly a turning point for me, and I started to see things in a different perspective. The invisible became visible.
It was the time that my teacher asked me to teach others. It was the joy of passing on my knowledge and seeing the appreciation of the junior students when I took time to support and encourage them in their training. Whist the junior black belts were training with ego, I was nurturing the beginners ensuring that I challenged them enough to extend themselves, without breaking their spirit. I was extremely fortunate to experience this sense of giving back and have deep gratitude towards my teacher.
I apply these principles in my everyday life. Lets explore how these can be transferred into the workplace.
Transferring Aikido Principles into the Workplace
Practice - Conflict can be awkward, and you may feel a sense of anxiety or stress when dealing with it. The focus here is to act, to participant with the intention of developing your skill sets to manage conflict more effectively. As you start to act, you will become more confident. During my Aikido days as a beginner I also felt this nervousness, uncertain if I can ever learn the art to it’s fullest. Simply training everyday increased my skill set. Watching and observing will never develop your skill set. It takes discipline to keep showing up everyday, just taking those small steps that all add up.
Everyday I would turn up, even when I wasn't motivated to train. I would compare myself with others, thinking how easy it was for them to train with ease, whilst I seemed to struggle; and at times felt like I was simply spinning my wheels.
One day my teacher said to me, those who find things easy to do, move on looking for the next challenge, those who struggle are the ones who will eventually surpass others, as they develop the determination to achieve and master the art. Others will lose interest and simply move on.
As a leader you simply have to keep on turning up, focusing on mastering the art of leadership. All the struggles that you come up against, will create the true character of leadership; as you strive everyday to further develop your skills. Remember to keep your ego in check and have humility as your friend.
Being Centered – Conflict can be unexpected. It can easily put you into the fight or flight syndrome. You may feel completely blind sided by the conflict; leaving you off balance and reacting to the situation. The Aikido Principle of being centered; will assist you in remaining calm. Having calmness will give you more approaches and chooses to consider. You can respond appropriately and take the actions that will achieve the relationships that all Leaders are inspiring towards.
This is a core of everything. Being able to respond instead of reacting to situations. The principles of centering can be viewed by watching this video with Tom Crum.
Watch the Video to See How to Center Yourself - Keeping Calm and Focused
Would you like to Experience this concept yourself ?
Then Book in for one of our Conflict Management Workshops with Lee
Resistance – Listen before being Understood – This is one of the principles of Stephen Covey’s – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – We all have different perspectives and opinions, which makes us all unique. Resistance can be when we have expectations that our point of view is the only one that is valid.
Aikido Training is about redirecting someone’s energy not meeting it head on. We use circular movements to extend our partner’s energy forward not by stopping it. This creates off balance whilst we remain centered. Being able to stand beside them and calm down the situation with the appropriate action maintaining harmony, whilst maintaining a relationship based on respect.
Mind Set – Our belief systems and values play a large part in the actions that we take in our everyday life. Taking time out to check your beliefs is a key to achieving the results that we desire as leaders.
This is called reflective thinking. Do we sabotage ourselves with beliefs such as not good enough, comparing ourselves with others; or have we forgotten about humility and supporting others?
Aikido is about harmony and getting along with others. It is having an awareness of what is going on around you. I often am asked if I have ever had to use my aikido skills. My belief is that a good martial artist doesn’t use their skills as they seem to sense what is going on around them and are able to defuse the situation before it escalates. You simply know your partner’s intentions and respond effectively.
Mentors – Having a mentor will assist you in your continual professional development. These are your trusted advisors who will support, encourage and challenge you to step up to be the best version of yourself.
My aikido teacher was always there for me. I didn’t always like what he would say, however once I reflected on his words, these encouraged me to continue training and striving towards mastering the art. I remember a conversation that I had with my mentor before I achieved my 3rd Dan Ranking, “do you simply what to train, or master the art?”
I choose to master the art. Do you want to be a leader or master leadership?
It has been a pleasure sharing my passion with you in this article, and thank you for taking time to read it. My other passions are Leadership and Personal Development.
Live Your Life to its Fullest - The question is not do you have joy in your life, the question is who have you brought joy to?
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