Why Martial art is the Key to Value based Leadership?

I am frequently asked ‘which style of martial art should I enroll?
Martial arts
An important question and decision to make for those that ask. Thus, long ago, I have already prepared an answer which mostly ‘disappoints’ the people asking me:

If you are to climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro would you ask  “What is the Best Route to Climb Kilimanjaro?”

Might be yes to the above or might be no!


‘Yes’ if you can define what ‘best’ means to you and ‘no’ if you already have knowledge about the mountain.

As one would expect there are several routes by which you can reach Kibo or Uhuru Peak, the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro: Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Londorossi Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, Umbwe and Northern Circuit. They all differ in something but at the same time they all provide the same final aim or goal - ‘to reach the top’.

All routes lead to the top. Why then do we need so many? The primary issue lies within a person that wants to reach the peak. Are we able to do it fast, slow or we’d like to have panorama views or (most probably) we need altitude acclimatization schedule!

Therefore, personal preferences are different and consequently different routes satisfy them.
The same is with martial arts. Some arts are slower (Tai Chi), some are more brutal (MMA), others more lethal (sambo). But, eventually, all are having the same meaning – to acquire martial arts knowledge and experience to fight and to protect. Therefore it is ours to get the proper fit for ourselves.

Within years of practice I’ve learned that there is also another issue that I’d like to share. It illustrates even deeper the aim of the Kilimanjaro story above. Namely, if we carefully watch great martial art’s masters we could definitely see very similar postures, movements and use of the fighting techniques. In majority of martial arts it actually does not matter from which school or style they came. They present the peak of martial arts’ knowledge – like Uhuru for Kilimanjaro. And the ‘routes’ (style of martial art) they took to master it could have been very different ones!

Why is this so?

We all have two legs, two hands, one body, one head … we all move joints in the same directions. Mastering those gives us very little different options if at all and it is so mostly due to how tall one is or what the weight one has and finally how flexible one is. But this is the same as climbing the different route and being on the summit few meters left or right or …

Uhuru PeakAs you know, Kilimangaro is the tallest free stall volcano. Therefore the Kibo is one of the highest points on the rim of it. From that fact one can conclude that the height difference is not that important. Now translate the latter to martial arts. We are on the ‘rim of martial arts’ where may be only one ‘Uhuru Peak’ but it is probably hard to define where it is and finally to find it.

And what has leadership to do with all this climbing and fighting?

A lot!

LeaderJust read blogs, books, articles etc. about leadership where different leadership styles are promoted and almost always ‘only one style’ is the best for the writer. Hard to digest?

Yes, it is.

Now that we know that there are different leadership styles for different objectives as there are different martial arts styles or routes to Kilimanjaro. But on the top of leadership knowledge there could be only one – a leadership by virtue, a leadership that comprises the pure and essential leadership. It is a virtue that needs a lot of practice. Lots of experiences.  A lot of time to learn. It is like a true meaning of Kung Fu (hard work) used as synonym for mastery in martial arts.

So, the next time you read or hear about “which is the best leadership style?” smile as you now know that the author has not embraced the full knowledge of leadership and is selling only a partial solution!


  1. One of the most difficult sport that I've tried to learn is martial arts.
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    1. What do you mean by "One of the most difficult sport"?

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