Aiki Business Group

The Aiki Business Group brings aikido principles and embodiment practices into the business world by establishing a network of experienced, successful practitioners to advise and enable others interested in this work.

The applications of aikido principles to the world of business cover a wide spectrum. The work ranges from business leaders who have trained in the art and then discovered natural connections to the way they do business, to Aikido teachers who have developed presentation, consulting and training businesses that contract with individual professionals, organization leaders, corporations and non profits to help them improve their performance.

Group Moderator

Chris Thorsen, Director

Chris Thorsen is the founder of Quantum Edge and a pioneer in the application of aikido principles to leadership mastery and organizational development. He has been a member of the Aiki Extensions Board of Directors since 2010.  Contact Group Moderator

Strategic Goals

  1. Establish a catalog of international practitioners and their links
  2. Establish a social network on the AE website
  3. Plan and conduct a conference for experienced and new practitioners
  4. Develop an online “How To” manual


Of The Work

The applications of Aikido principles to the world of business cover a wide spectrum. The work ranges from business leaders who have trained in the art and then discovered natural connections to the way they do business, to Aikido teachers who have developed presentation, consulting and training businesses that contract with individual professionals, organization leaders, corporations and non profits to help them improve their performance.

Historically, the primary approach of both the consultants and trainers has been to demonstrate Aikido and its core principles as a context and then provide, slow motion, non falling exercises drawn directly from mat practice to establish an experiential, embodied understanding of those principles and a physical simulation of their application to business life. Pioneers in advising business in these ways are Koichi Tohei who focused on applications to daily life, Terry Dobson and Tom Crum who focused on conflict resolution and George Leonard who focused on human potential. Tom continues to lead the field as a speaker, consultant and trainer.

Since the early seventies these and other practitioners have expanded the business applications to focus on individual performance improvement including leadership development, sales mastery, interpersonal communications, emotional intelligence, stress management, creativity and intuition, and team development. Further applications have evolved with more systemic focus on organization development including culture design, mission and vision definition, values clarity, strategic planning and market navigation, operations management, cross department collaboration, stakeholder management and multi-company partnership relations.

Some of the most striking progress in taking Aikido into business has been made in the field of leadership development in the USA. Richard Strozzi, based on his work consulting both corporate executives and the military, established Strozzi Institute, now on the leading edge of leadership development. Chris Thorsen and Richard Moon spent 15 years as leadership development advisors to key executive teams that built out the wireless industry, giving them the unprecedented opportunity to work with intact business teams for a dozen years in a row. In 2007, Tom Crum was ranked among the top 25 thought leaders in personal development and among the top 80 in leadership development by Leadership Excellence.


Of The Work

Aikido is a natural metaphor for servant leadership. To approach the business community successfully requires an attitude of humble service. While practitioners of the art can assume that aikido principles and even its practices will add value to a business environment, we cannot assume that this will be understood by any given business leader or the people in his or her organization. Translating the principles and practices of the art, let alone their applications and value to business, can be difficult.

Rather than trying to convince others that Aikido is important to them, we need to practice blending by listening to their view of their business needs. Once we deepen our understanding of their challenges, we’re in a position to offer how our methods might be of service as a way of fulfilling their desired outcomes. We’re there primarily to help their business progress, not to demonstrate how powerful our Aikido is.

There are three proven ways of offering the art as a business tool. We can directly offer presentations and trainings billed as Aikido or Aikido based; we can engage as generic organization consultants, trainers or coaches and only bring Aikido forward explicitly as the need arises; or, as either service providers to, or members of an organization, we can utilize its principles and practices implicitly without direct reference to the art – say to practice self mastery or to aid in collaboration.

Once the art is explicitly presented, however, we face the challenge of translating the terms in which we’ve learned the art into language that can be easily understood by laymen. For example, Irimi can become engagement or intervention, Tenkan can become listening, or Randori can be a way of looking at handling multiple pressures during the business day. The rule of thumb is again to start with their way of speaking and seeing and looking for the analogs in the art.

A Caution

Lastly, a word to the wise. Unlike a formal dojo, even if we are assured that participants are involved voluntarily, they may have felt pressured to take part by their superiors. Further, engaging others in physical simulation exercises, we run the risk that people may be deeply disturbed by the process. They may be completely out of touch with their body, the exercise may trigger a deeply conditioned reaction, or they may have experienced trauma that has been stored in the musculature and experience an unexpected, frightening release. Once facing a practice with a partner, they may not be comfortable being touched, but not feel that it’s ok to say so.

As practitioners we hold a deep responsibility not only for participants’ physical safety, but their emotional safety as well. We are accountable to be constantly sensitive to the individual and group dynamics that are occurring during an engagement. People must be reminded that they are at personal choice regarding any exercise and that they will be completely supported if they choose to observe rather than take part directly.



NameNotable WorksOrganization
Kohechi ToheiAikido in Daily Life
Tom CrumThe Magic of Conflict
Journey to the Center
Three Deep Breaths
Aiki Works
Terry DobsonIt’s a Lot Like Dancing
George LeonardThe Way of Aikido
The Samurai Game
Dannan Perry

Current Practitioners

NameNotable WorksOrganization
Aimee BernsteinStress Less Achieve MoreOpen Mind Adventures
Susan ChandlerThe Dance of PowerChandler Resources
Andrew Cohn
Jeff DooleyThe Somatic Art of Leadership, The Dance of ChangeAdaptive Learning Design
Lance GirouxThe Samurai Game
The Organizational Dojo
Allied Ronin
Jerry GreenTUNING IN to the Body
Embodied Compassionate Communications
Greener Mediations
Jim HassingerThe Randori Principles
Stuart HellerThe Dance of Becoming
Retooling on the Run
Walking Your Talk
Miles KesslerThe Integral DojoThe Integral Dojo
Richard MoonAikido in Three Easy LessonsThe Listening Institute
John O’Neil
Wendy PalmerThe Intuitive BodyConscious Embodiment
Judy RingerUnlikely TeachersConflict and Communication
Daniel SheresThe Shares Group
Richard Strozzi-HecklerThe Leadership Dojo
Being Human at Work
Strozzi Institute
Chris ThorsenLeadership of the Spirit
The Dance of Change
Quantum Edge
Judy WarnerFrom Chaos to CenterAiki Works
Mark WalshIntegration Training Journal (blog)Integration Training
Brandon WilliamsCraigConflict Done
Peace Practices
David WeinstockSomatic Consensus PracticeLiminal Somatics
Ginny WhitelawFLIP: From Barely Managing to Leading FearlesslyFocus Leadership
Michael Wolfe
Christian ZandtAikido and Work PressureBisho
Jamie Leno ZimronThe KiAi Way

Discussion Forum

The Aiki Business Group discussion forum is a place for group members to share ideas, ask questions, and connect with other members. If you would like to join the Forum, contact the Group Moderator.

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