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August 03, 2015

Leading People

Kiaikido_1

In order to be able to lead people, building “a trust relationship” with them first is very important. 

“What should we do to build a trust relationship with someone?” There is no direct, easy answer to this question, as it all depends on the other person, and the situation involved. On the other hand, it is very easy to know “when a trust relationship is lost or broken.” Before we can carry on further, let us reflect and think about this together. 

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What about someone who has no confidence in themselves or when dealing with situations, or someone who is unable to keep their promises or be punctual during appointments, or someone who changes their attitude to match the person they are dealing with. I think there are many other reasons that can contribute to losing or breaking a trust relationship with someone.

If you start thinking “What is required or needed to gain someone’s trust?”, and approach all situations with this mindset, you would then be able to understand naturally.

An example of a behavior that contributes to losing someone’s trust is, not really listening or paying attention when someone is talking or telling you something.

If you listen to someone and start prejudging them based on your own “correct” way of doing something and deciding in your own mind that they should have done it a certain way, this means that you will not able to really hear what they are trying to tell you. At this time, the other person will feel rejected or rebuffed and Ki will stop communicating.

Please do not misunderstand. Try to understand your partner by thinking that they are correct in everything that he or she says. Even if they may say something that is not “correct or agreeable”, it is important to try and understand the reason why they think that way.

At this point, most people would like to assert their opinion on what they think is “correct” on to the person they are speaking to, and try to force the other person to think in the same way. When this happens, the other person would feel as if their personality and opinion was being unaccepted, thus making him or her feel that there would be no meaning to continuing the conversation. 

First, acknowledge the other person’s way of thinking, and then try to understand why they think in that way and accept it. This means to understand the other party or person, which then helps us to be able to lead the other person or partner.

When the other person starts to think that they can trust in us to share their views and opinions, only then can we actually really share our own thoughts and opinions with them as they will be ready to accept it even though it may differ from theirs.

At this time during the conversation, if we start to get emotional because of the difference in opinions, it means we have started to put ourselves first and this would not help us to ever be able to really understand what our partner is really trying to say. At this point, our Ki flow has stopped and trying to lead our partner or the other person becomes difficult. 

During an official Dan Grading – a situation occurred:

There was a young man during his multiple attack exam, as he was being caught by an Uke. He started to get very affected and started throwing aggressively. An instructor who was also judging the Exam that day, stopped the exam immediately and reprimanded the young man, telling him that his grading was invalid and that he had to re-take the whole exam at another time.

The young man who took the Instructor’s stern reprimand seriously, started to walk out trying to leave the Dojo. As I was there as Head Examiner overseeing the overall grading process, I noticed this young man and called out to him trying to calm him down by telling him to stay till the end and watch the rest of the grading.

 The young man started to calm down and immediately sat to watch the rest of the grading. At the end of the whole examination, I spoke to the young man and asked him why he behaved the way he did during his Exam. He explained that he was not trying to do anything but that he panicked and just reacted. 


The rest of the conversation is as follows:

Me: “I am sure you didn’t mean to do this on purpose?”

The young man: “Please believe that I didn’t intend to re-act that way!”

Me: “I believe that your actions were not done on purpose. I hope you realized that your actions were very dangerous to the Uke, who was part of your grading.”

The young man: “Yes, I realized this. I am really very sorry.”

Me: “Let’s go apologize to the Uke together.”

The young man: “I understand.”

The young man sincerely apologized to the Uke, as there was no injury fortunately, it was not a problem. The young man has continued to train and has improved significantly. If the young man had left immediately after being reprimanded so sternly, I think his life would have turned out differently.

During this situation, I was able to lead the young man. If our Mind is not calm when we are trying to understand someone, all we would be doing is forcing our opinion on the other person, this would actually be very frightening as we would appear very controlling and commanding, I always advise against behaving like this.

This process is the same as being able to lead and throw your partner during Aikido training. If we try to move our partner according to how we think he or she should move, because we think we already understand the “correct way” of moving and performing the technique, we will still clash with our partner and not be able to lead and throw him or her.

By understanding your partner, you can then lead and throw them. This is to understand and put into practice the “5 Principles of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido.” 

5 Principles of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido

1) Ki is extending

2) Know your opponent’s mind

3) Respect your opponent’s Ki

4) Put yourself in your opponent’s place

5) Perform with Confidence

To listen is to be able to understand the other person. This is one of the best practices that we can apply outside of the dojo during our routines in our daily lives. Let us continue to practice this together.

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