Do you know Aikido? Iván Ozorák, Head of Customer Service in Budapest, Hungary, is a master and teacher. Aikido is a modern, defensive Japanese martial art. Men and women wear baggy black pants and white jackets. In addition to empty-hand techniques, Aikido includes exercises with weapons such as swords, sticks and knives.
But Aikido is much more than self-defense. The Aikidōka, as the practitioners are called, understand Aikido as meditation in movement. Not only do they train their perception, focus, concentration, and patience. They also benefit from inner peace and serenity. Iván Ozorák also finds these qualities very useful in his professional life. "I joined Xella in 2007 as Head of Customer Service. It is a very complex area: we must liaise with all parts of the company, such as sales, production, finance and, of course, business partners. We manage the entire after-sales process, from order to logistics, production planning, sales-related purchasing, reporting, sales, XRM, and SAP key or champion user roles.“ In other words: his team is the bridge between the many different people involved in the process. And it's all about collaboration.
Just like Aikido. "I like to tell my students that it is like a dance where two partners, two different sides, create a joint performance. In the best case, the shares are equal, but if one gives less, the other has to increase the contribution - to reach 100 percent.“
It is always about collaboration and mutual satisfaction
Iván Ozorák is very successful in his sport. Not in the sense of winning medals in competitions, because there is no competition in Aikido. "That's why it has become an important part of my life," he says. He has a different definition of success: "There is an Oriental proverb that says that the master is the one who never stops practicing.“
While in high school, he joined the local Kyokushinkai karate group. But after 6 years he left because he felt that karate was becoming more and more a sport in terms of winning, glory and money. In contrast, martial arts are about integrity, courage, honor, compassion, sincerity, duty, and loyalty.
Learning from each other
In fact, he has been practicing Aikido for more than 30 years. He has built a small dojo, a training room, and offers many trainings. "If anyone wants to improve, the door is always open," he says, inviting people to share his enthusiasm for the martial art and its philosophy. "My main goal is to bring families to the tatami, the training mat, at the same time. In my dojo there are no different classes by age: children, parents, and grandparents train together. We all learn from each other.
When asked what he has learned from Aikido in his life and work, the father of three gives a thoughtful answer. "I do not really know why we start and continue something in our lives. We look for something that shapes us, or we just find something that fits us. Aikido, and of course any traditional martial art, is a very good tool to stop for a moment, to look inside yourself, to examine your situation, to look into the eyes of your partner with an open mind and an open heart and to give yourself to them. I mean, during the practice we experience both sides of the battle. First we act as the victor and then we act as the vanquished, so we offer our capabilities to our partner to improve him or her."