Isshinkai Aikido Leadership Model

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(according to summary by Sofia Bustamante and Mamading Ceesay)

Jean Russell:

"Denis Burke, Founder of Isshinkai Aikido has laid out 6 levels in his recently published book, “Purpose & Practice”. The 6 levels can be experienced on the mat when practicing this martial art and correspond to real world dynamics off the mat.

The Isshinkai Aikido leadership model:

Level 1 – “People are usually against me. I have to fight. The strongest wins. If the other is stronger, I collapse”

Level 2 – “I have agency – I can do things, despite others”

Level 3 – “I can flow with others – when they can help *my agenda*”

Level 4 – “What do we both want to create? How can I make an “aiki” (a connection) with my opponent/partner?”

Level 5 – “What do we all want to create?”

Level 6 – “Who do I need to be, to manifest my vision for humanity?”


More Information

  • The levels are comparable to the Tribal Leadership Model whose Levels 1 and 2 are paralleled by Level 1 of the Isshinkai Aikido model. In this model we already see ‘agency” at Level 2. From Level 3 onwards, the models are pretty similar.