The Samurai Game®

The Samurai Game® is an intense and challenging simulation that has been called the most effective 1-day* personal development experience in the world.

Samurai-Game-warriorYou will find yourself face-to-face with your greatest enemy — or your greatest possible ally — yourself.  In the process, you’ll discover what your automatic responses are when you are put in circumstances that call upon you to prepare for anything, expect nothing, and decisively move into the unknown.

As a result of your participation you will increase your capacity to:

  •    Generate bold, decisive action in the face of uncertainty
  •    Listen deeply to others, and be clearly heard by them in turn
  •    Step into commitments that inspire you and the teams around you
  •    Take a dignified stand for respect and honor, from yourself and others
  •    Effectively lead and follow – at work or at home or at school
  •    Have fun, even when circumstances are challenging

How to Play

In the game, participants take on the role of medieval Japanese samurai. There are two armies, and based on the game-play of the armies’ warriors, one army will win and one will lose. Regardless of which army you are on, it is possible that you will “die” in the game. Death may even be your greatest teacher.

The game is played with very little specialized equipment, and with an extraordinary amount of personal commitment and integrity. While there is no physical contact, the game compellingly invites each participant to engage their opponents with fierce courage and absolute honor.  In the process, participants face their own beliefs about dignity, compassion, sacrifice, leadership, decision-making, and being on a team.

The rest of the rules will be explained when you play.


Background and History

The Game was created by George Leonard, who is considered one of the fathers of the human potential movement.  George is the author of The Ultimate AthleteMasteryEducation and Ecstasy, The Silent Pulse, and eight other books.

George was an Army Air Ranger in the Pacific Theater of World War II, and during his time as a correspondent covering the re-construction in Japan, he discovered the martial art of Aikido. He fell in love with the art’s quiet call to self-mastery, and its focus on becoming one with the opponent.

At the same time he was learning about Japanese culture and martial arts, George was attending reunions with his fighter pilot buddies. Whenever they talked about flying into battle, they spoke of feeling a heightened, super-human level of vividness in their perceptions — feeling more alive than any other time.  Because they had learned to detest war, they began to wonder if they could ever regain that vividness of life in a non-combat setting.

George’s loves of writing, Aikido, Japanese culture, and personal development all came together as he was walking to the dojo one day years later . . . he had found a way to re-capture the heightened sense of being alive, while simultaneously taking huge steps in self-ownership, leadership, and honor. The Samurai Game® was born.

Your Facilitator

The Inspired Action Network’s founder Brennan Smith is one of only 30 facilitators authorized by the George Leonard family to run The Samurai Game in the US (there are fewer than 100 facilitators certified world-wide).

Contact us to host a Samurai Game in your organization, or to stay informed when the Game is being played in your area. Areas where we have active interest for a public game to happen include western Massachusetts; Minneapolis, MN; Newport News / Yorktown, VA; and the Pacific Northwest.

* We frequently create 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day workshops with The Samurai Game® as the focal experience.  The context for the retreat is custom-designed around your organizational needs, but what is universal is how deeply engaged your team members are with that context due to the active, experiential facilitation techniques we employ.  Let’s talk.

A Copyrighted Simulation Owned By The Leonard Family Trust
© 1977 George Leonard
# TXu 1-626-797
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved
The trade name “The Samurai Game” holds
US Trademark Registration #2,630,801