I spent 14 years in an Aikido dojo. Practice, practice, practice four times a week, month after month.
We began with the fundamental movements - called kata. There were a couple of dozen in all. When you combined them, endless combinations & permutations arose.
Once you absorbed the basic forms, which took years, you could begin to practice ‘free style’ - wherein you learned to react spontaneously in unpredictable situations.
Our senior sensei’s -- Kanai, Chiba, Yamada -- would emphasize the need for freedom within your technique, which they reinforced with ‘free-style’ practice.
What were our Kanai-, Chiba- and Yamada-sensei trying to teach us? Does their teaching relate to Lean transformations?
Been mulling this over for years. My thoughts are below. (I’d love to hear yours.)
Lean - like Aikido, Karate or any great tradition of learning & improvement – comprises a set of principles and practices which:
- Have a clear Purpose,
- Are connected to, and support one another, and
- Are meant to be applied fluidly in ever more complex situations
That’s the rub. If we lose touch with the fundamentals, then Lean is merely a set of tools.
Useful and worthy of respect, but unlikely to transform the way we work, or the results we get.