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Aikido of Tamalpais Founders

Wendy Palmer Shihan, Shichidan (1947-2022), began training in 1971. She was drawn to the beauty and power of aikido and recognized the practice as a path to increase empowerment and love. She is the creator of Leadership Embodiment a profound approach to personal and professional development using embodied practices. She taught classes and workshops Embodiment for over thirty years. Wendy is author of three books: Leadership Embodiment: How the Way We Sit and Stand Can Change the Way We Think and Act; The Intuitive Body: Discovering the Wisdom of Conscious Embodiment; and Aikido and The Practice of Freedom: Aikido Principles as a Spiritual Guide. She offers coaching in embodied leadership for individuals, groups and teams. Her clients include, Genentech, DaimlerChrysler, Oracle, McKinsey, NASA, Pfizer, Old Navy, Hewlett Packard, and John F. Kennedy University. Leadership Embodiment draws on the traditions of Aikido - and mindfulness practice to offer simple yet profound techniques that help illuminate how the mind and body habitually react to pressure, and to access more skillful and unified responses.

Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Rokudan, Richard Strozzi-Heckler began aikido in 1972 and is a student of Mitsugi Saotome Sensei and Frank Doran Sensei, he is Head Instructor and Founder of Two Rock Dojo, Co-Founder of Tamalpais Aikido Dojo, and Co-Founder of Training Across Borders (TAB) and the MidEast Aikido Project (MAP).  He serves on the board of directors of the Aikido Ethiopia Project and is a founding member of the board of directors of Aikido for Veterans and Families.  He has also studied judo, jiujitsu, capoeira, and kali.

His eight books, including Aikido and The New Warrior, The Anatomy of Change, In Search of the Warrior Spirit,  Holding The Center, The Leadership Dojo, and The Art of Somatic Coaching reflect how Aikido informs his work in Somatic Coaching, and Leadership Development.  He developed the prototype program for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), and taught the Army Special Forces (Green Berets) in the Trojan Warrior Project,  as well as Navy SEALS, and law enforcement.  He advised NATO on a martial arts/leadership program for the Afghan National Army.  He is Founder of Strozzi Institute, a training institute for Embodied Leadership and Somatic Coaching. 

George Leonard (1923-2010) Our beloved teacher has been called "the granddaddy of the consciousness movement," by Newsweek, and "the poet-philosopher of American health in its broadest sense" and "the legendary editor and writer" by Psychology Today. While serving as senior editor for Look magazine (1953-1970), he won an unprecedented eleven national awards for education writing. His coverage of the Civil Rights Movements (praised in the February 10, 2003 New Yorker) contributed to Look receiving the first National Magazine Award in 1968. His harrowing 7,000-mile journey around the Soviet border with photographer Paul Fusco just after the Berlin Wall went up provided the first reportage showing that the Iron Curtain was an actual barrier of barbed wire, mine fields, and watch towers rather than a mere figure of speech.


George was the co-founder (with Michael Murphy) of Integral Transformative Practice (ITP), was the author of numerous books on human possibilities and social change, including: Mastery, The Life We Are Given (with Michael Murphy), and The Way of Aikido, Education and Ecstasy, The Transformation, The Ultimate Athlete, and The Silent Pulse.


During World War II, George Leonard served as attack pilot in the southwest Pacific theater, and as an analytical intelligence officer during the Korean conflict. As well as his aikido practice, George enjoyed a lifelong devotion to music and occasionally played piano with jazz groups. He wrote the music for two full-scale musical comedies, which were produced by the Air Force, and another, based on "The Emperor's New Clothes," which was produced at Marin County's Mountain Play Theater.

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