Aikido Leadership - An ITP Perspective by Cassie Chan

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


One of the biggest leadership teachings I’ve learned from participating in the Instructor Training Program is when to lead. Before I became an ITP, I would always take over during school projects or games, because I wanted to be the leader. In my nine-year-old-mind, I thought that I knew better than everyone else, so no matter what, I should be the one leading my classmates. My way of demonstrating leadership was actually just me being controlling and bossy towards my classmates. However, once I became an ITP, humility was one of the first lessons I learned. I was generally an ITP helper for a senior ITP’s group when I was a Joshu Candidate, so I quickly discovered that it wasn’t my job to teach and lead the students. In fact, taking over the group would be considered rude and disrespectful to my senior ITP. This concept didn’t sink in instantly, but after a while, I began to understand it and was able to apply it to my everyday life. I would volunteer for leadership positions in school, but wouldn’t take over or get upset if I wasn’t chosen. When I did happen to obtain a leadership role, I would do my best to lead efficiently and effectively, but I wouldn’t order my classmates around like I used to. Though I am still working on improving this skill, knowing when to lead and when to simply participate has definitely helped my leadership capacity outside the dojo.

~Cassie Chan