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SANTA CRUZ — Walking safely through the swift cut of a sword and blending with the force of an attacker are just a couple of ways the art of aikido can teach business leaders new ways of navigating daily confrontations, according to Glen Kimoto, a 40-year martial arts student and teacher.
Kimoto, along with about 25 student volunteers from the Santa Cruz Aikido dojo, will discuss aikido philosophy and help local business leaders test them on the mat at a participatory Chamber of Commerce workshop Thursday.
“We look at the physical art as being a way of understanding the philosophy of the art,” Kimoto said. “Aikido is a way of harmonizing mind. It is a lifetime pursuit.”
While business often poses oppositional dilemmas, in aikido, true victory is about victory over the self rather than winning over another and harmony is experienced as a more effective goal than force, he said.
“It’s not about fighting and winning,” Kimoto said. “We are taught winning is about mutual victory.”
In the two-hour workshop, “Aikido Principles of Leadership: An Introduction to Aikido and the Application of its Principles to Business & Management,” sponsored by the Santa Cruz Chamber, participants will get a sense of how to lead an oppositional force to common ground.
“We learn to blend with individuals and attacks,” Kimoto said. “Ultimately both parties are happy.”
The session will feature solo and interactive exercises demonstrating aikido principles. People will move through gentle warm-up exercises and have an opportunity to try balance and movement elements of aikido. Kimoto will also demonstrate advanced aikido techniques. There will be snacks and time for questions at the end. Attendees will also practice being proactive rather than reactive. They will see how to deal with a situation before it happens.
A retired middle school science teacher, Kimoto, a fifth-degree black belt, has been teaching aikido for about 35 years.
“I’m not here in some sense of having reached a high level of understanding,” Kimoto said. “I’m working at this like anyone else.” But, he says, “having practiced the art, I have a better sense of where I need to go.”
In addition to learning practical techniques for business, Kimoto says it’s also, “just a fun thing to be doing.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: An introduction to aikido and the application of its principles to business and management
WHEN: 5-7 p.m., Thursday
WHERE: Aikido of Santa Cruz, 306 Mission St., Santa Cruz
NOTE: Wear comfortable street clothes.
COST: $5 for Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce members, $10 for others.
iNFORMATION: Call Laurie McCann at
234-9086, or visit http://www.aikidosantacruz.org
Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel (HERE)