Learning Leadership from Martial Arts – I

The central blog question is: “How to successfully lead a group of people coming from different cultural backgrounds?”
cultural impact
Today we are facing important and challenging (new) factors in leadership and management: different languages, time zones, channels/modes of communication, physical distance, and consequently a large and variable mixture of cultural factors. All these factors influence work processes, decision-making, management, work habits and even get embodied in national work-related legislation. To be able to lead and to predict behaviors a modern leader is supposed to grasp them and not to give and take offence due to misunderstanding of cultural issues. In today’s global world it is increasingly important and desirable to understand these differences and understand how they require a different leadership and management style.

Time zonesAs there are numerous studies of cultural impact on management, leadership, team building, motivation, etc. I will not describe them, but rather follow a different path. People share a lot of the same habits, reactions, behaviors, etc. that are more culturally independent and are effectively and efficiently used in martial arts training and teaching. Can the same approach be taken in a new way to a different leadership?

If you Google “martial arts teacher and leadership” you mostly get results only describing how to teach martial arts. I refer to this as one way of thinking. Let me explain why.

In my post (I Decided to Give My Book Away for Free) I have written that martial arts are practiced all over the world no matter the background, ideology, color, gender… and, for all of them, the basic philosophy stays the same. In our days it is necessary to point out that martial arts are not about violence. Essentially, they are avenues to achieve spiritual serenity, mental tranquility, and the deepest stage of self-confidence. All needed in leadership. So can a leader learn from them?

In next two blogs I will give you first some ideas how to use old wisdom from martial arts (see blog: Martial arts philosophy) and secondly, what leadership could gain from it.

martial arts teacher

The knowledge and information accumulated in martial arts through several thousand years of wars, of building great achievements, of leading countries etc. in non-western multi-cultural environments can significantly contribute toward the success of leadership and management styles. The basic life principle “Follow the Natural Way” is a backbone of all what is described and used in martial arts. This philosophy has its roots in a Chinese classic text of Lao Zi: Dao De Jing (described in my blog Dao De Jing) and will be employed to all written afterwards.

So, let’s start a different journey …


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