Aikido for Attorneys

Stoel Rives brought in Space To Move® to present a customized version of Aikido and the Art of Negotiation for a group of attorneys new to the firm. The professional development training was delivered by Suzane Van Amburgh of Space To Move and Greg Corbin of Stoel Rives. Both Suzane and Greg practice aikido at Multnomah Aikikai in Portland Oregon.

Aikido is a non-competitive Japanese martial art developed in the early 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969).  In Japanese, Aikido means “the way of harmony with the force and principle of nature.”

As a system of self-defense, the art employs techniques based upon circular motions that blend with an attacker’s movement, efficiently capture balance and neutralize the attack, finishing in a pin or throw. Power is applied in a way that does not destroy, but leaves both parties whole. Compassion is a deeply held tenet in the philosophy of Aikido. The Aikidoist adopts a relaxed upright posture and utilizes whole body movements to create dynamic spherical motion around a stable central core.

The nature of Aikido practice is movement, physical contact with others, mutual respect, sensory learning, sustained attention, and personal transformation. The Aikido student learns principles of movement including leverage, balance, gravity, and rotational axes. Practitioners of the art develop awareness of self, their instinctual responses and habitual actions. Through rigorous ongoing training, Aikidoists practice respectful engagement, emotional resilience, maturity of response and compassion for self and others.

The principles of Aikido also can be applied to non-physical conflict.  As legal professionals we face conflict in some form almost every day, and learning how to navigate conflict is a skill you need to be both successful and satisfied in your career.  Through a series of demonstrations by your instructors, discussion, and your own practice of basic Aikido movements, we will explore how you might apply these principles in your professional life.

The session will involve movement with minimal to moderate physical exertion, and light physical contact with others.  No prior experience with martial arts in required.  To prepare you should wear clothing that allows free movement.  If you prefer, you can bring clothes to change into before the session.  Athletic clothes are fine, though not required.  We also will be working on mats in bare feet.  You should remove all jewelry before getting on the mats.

Your instructors will be Suzane Van Amburgh and Greg Corbin:

Suzane Van Amburgh, GCFP,  5th dan, shidoin, has studied human balance and coordination of movement for over 25 years. Her approach in teaching is to create a learning environment where people can discover themselves through movement.  Van Amburgh is a shidoin certified teacher of the martial art of Aikido and brings 15 years experience in Iaido, the art of Japanese sword drawing. She is also a somatic educator (graduate of a Guild accredited Feldenkrais® Practitioner Training Program).  Van Amburgh is the founder of Space To Move® and currently serves as Chief Aikido Instructor at Multnomah Aikikai in Portland Oregon, where she teaches group classes and private lessons.

Greg Corbin leads Stoel Rives’ Forest Industries Initiative and represents forest products clients in a variety of transactional and regulatory matters. Greg holds a masters of forest science degree. He frequently writes and speaks on issues affecting the forest products industry, water rights, and endangered species issues. Greg has practiced martial arts on and off since childhood.  He began studying Aikido four years ago at Multnomah Aikikai under Sensei Aki Fleshler and Sensei Suzane Van Amburgh.

Participant feedback on the presentation for Stoel Rives:

“Thanks again very much for bringing Aikido to Stoel Rives LLP 2013 Boot Camp.  I really enjoyed it and thought it was an excellent addition to our program. In just the first few minutes I was able to see a whole new way to react to difficult situations.  You showed how a simple shift in attitude enables you to maintain your personal integrity and resolve the conflict.  The staged punches and planned pivots truly opened my mind to a new way of thinking, plus they were fun!”

“What I liked about the program: Thinking about conflict and conflict resolution from a totally new perspective; using physical conflict as a metaphor for “subject matter” conflict and showing that there are different ways one can react to any conflict; the way one reacts to a conflict has a big impact on how much tension that person will continue to feel about the conflict and how the conflict will be resolved.”

Read more participant feedback from previous presentations here.

Bring this program to your firm.  Contact:

Space To Move® at Multnomah Aikikai,,  503-805-1910 (direct),  503-683-2275 (office), 6415 SW Macadam Ave., Portland, OR 97239

1 thought on “Aikido for Attorneys

  1. Pingback: Aikido for Attorneys? Yes! | Center Your Life

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