Aikido Leadership - An ITP Perspective by Alex Tsvik

Posted on by Sensei Steve Erickson

The "Aikido Leadership - An ITP Perspective" blog series serves to outline the benefits to daily life of participating in the BigRock Aikikai Instructor Training Program


The BigRock Aikikai ITP is an organization, and a supportive family collective brought together through their love of Aikido. There are many examples to choose from, but if I had to pick one that stands out to me, it would have to do with this little girl named Grace. She's a four-year-old and is quite shy. Since she is so young, it is hard for her to pick up simple tasks such as the basic movements we teach white belts. It's weird to say, but I relate to her, seeing my younger self in some of how she acts. I started practicing Aikido when I was around her age; of course, there were many positives to this, but it created a lot of challenges. I can't say that I remember myself at that time, but I would have assumed that I also reached out for help, at least when I needed to do so. But in contrast to me, Grace is shy; I wasn't, making a massive difference in how other people perceive us. Meaning she doesn't just reach out; she picks the people she wants to help her. I would say that this was one of the many finalizing reasons I wanted to pursue a career in psychology. It is one of the many reasons that gave me the understanding of how much I loved helping others and working with kids. I will forever be thankful for every person and child that has come into my life, even for a little while. 

The Instructor Training Program increased my productivity and made me a leader, but explicitly training kids has brought out my ability to multitask well, increasing my productivity rate (to handle multiple kids at a time.) Showing me that kids are fully capable of doing many things on their own, not everything, but they will surprise you. In relation, it allows more things to get done at a time. All kids are different from each other, meaning not only one approach is needed to be taught to get across to many of them. Understanding that they can access problems, manage situations and provide sensible solutions. It shows me that they can strive for goals without you constantly being there watching over their shoulder to help other students. Relating to an outside daily perspective gives me the ability and knowledge that people can do things without your constant supervision (from a leader's perspective). It is perfectly okay for everything not to go exactly as planned. Just because they're older and supposedly more mature, they will still mess up. This came directly from my time in the ITP program, giving me much more calm in my day-to-day life.

~Alex Tsvik