Shukan News 27th June

Beginners course starts Tuesday 3rd July – all welcome!

1. CANCELLED Ladies night tonight at Mansfield-Mt Gravatt dojo

The ladies only class to be held tonight (6.30 pm Wednesday 27 th June) at Mansfield – Mt Gravatt dojo has been cancelled due to a power outage at the Adventist College.  We apologise for the inconvenience.  Classes will resume as normal not next week, but the week after (when school returns).

2. On leadership and loyalty

In our beloved art of Aikido, there is so much written and said about the loyalty of a student to both the instructor and the dojo.  In fact, the 7th element of the Samurai code of Bushido is about loyalty.  That student loyalty is absolutely critical to the proper functioning of a dojo is not in doubt.

What about the loyalty of an instructor to his students and dojo?  Isn’t that equally important?  Is an instructor not also a student?   Doesn’t the 7th and overriding element of Bushido still apply?

So what is to be made of an instructor leader who contemplates moving on or walking away from his or her loyal students?  Whatever the instructor’s personal feelings of capability or worth, it is worth pausing to consider the possible effect on students and on the dojo as a whole?

Everyone is different but from my own experience, it is a hollow and empty feeling when Sensei turns his back.  After all, the student – instructor relationship is something special, and one not shared by those outside the martial arts.

It is a well-established principle that loyalty is the foundation stone of leadership.  If there is one characteristic of leadership that all expert commentators, authors, and academics agree on – it’s loyalty.  Above all, an effective leader must value loyalty.  That is, loyalty to the mission, loyalty to those being led, loyalty to those senior and loyalty to peers.

However, loyalty should not be confused with blind obedience.  If that is the desire, buy a dog.  Being loyal does not mean that we can’t disagree with one another off the mat. Disagreement is not the same as disloyally.  In fact, the most loyal followers are those who disagree with their leaders and openly discuss their points of disagreement. It makes for a healthy and robust organisation going forward.

The self-appointed doyen who expects homage through blind obedience is doing both himself and his followers a disservice.  Tyranny is the very antithesis of good leadership; and it puts at risk the one gift from followers that is truly worth having – respect.

We as instructors should all reflect on the teacher we are and the teacher we should be.  Instructors should consider their longer term commitment before acting in haste to be in a position of authority.  We should also think carefully about our motives for teaching and try to exclude ego and personal agenda.

Being an instructor should not be viewed teaching as a stepping stone to personal greatness.  It is simply about connecting positively and teaching Aikido.

3. Thought for the week

The above article is my personal view, and I leave you with a final thought on leadership.  “Some of the great leaders in the world have led from behind and with great humility.” Gary Weigh