Ten years ago designer Mark Bradford was watching a demonstration of the Japanese martial art of Aikidō and had an epiphany – applying the concepts of Aikidō to management.
It sounds like an unlikely and possibly dangerous combination, but Mark has created a leadership development process based on Aikidō – BeWeDō.
Mark Bradford: Aikido is a defensive martial art - a way of harmonising energy. It’s about redirecting people’s energy rather than hitting people. It’s for trying to work out how to work together better.
It’s a way of building up relationships on the mat, rather than creating enemies on the mat.
What occurred to me, when I did the martial art, was that a lot of things I was learning on the mat we could apply beyond the mat. In fact, some of the senior Aikido people would say that 80% of what you learn on the mat you should apply in the outside world.
What I saw demonstrated that night in the dojo in the school hall was a way of co-ordinating that reminded me of brainstorming, which is about throwing ideas around rather than people, so perhaps there was a project in that.