Richard Strozzi-Heckler

Richard Strozzi-Heckler (born Richard Heckler in 1944) is an American author, coach, and consultant on "embodied leadership and mastery."[1]

Richard Strozzi-Heckler
Born1944 (age 76–77)
Alma materSan Diego State University
Saybrook University
OrganizationStrozzi Institute
Known forsomatics, leadership development, psychology, aikido

He is the founder of Strozzi Institute originally located in Petaluma, California [2] and now Oakland, California.


Early life and educationEdit

Strozzi-Heckler spent his early life in a military family periodically moving to different naval bases. In early adolescence, he began studying martial arts,[1] beginning with judo, then karate and jiujitsu.[3] He excelled in athletics while in high school and was awarded a scholarship to San Diego State College in San Diego, California where he was named All-American in track and field.[4]

After a Marine Corps tour of duty in the mid 1960s, Strozzi-Heckler traveled throughout Asia studying yoga and meditation.[3] He returned to the United States, eventually earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Saybrook University with an emphasis on mind-body connection.[4][5]

Strozzi-Heckler holds the rank of seventh degree black belt (shichidan) in Aikido.[6] In January 2020, he was awarded Shihan by the International Aikido Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.


Strozzi-Heckler co-founded the Lomi School in 1970 with Robert K. Hall, Alyssa Hall, and Catherine Flaxman, integrating aikido[4] and bodywork principles into a body oriented psychotherapy called Lomi Work.[7]

In 1976, Strozzi-Heckler, together with George Leonard and Wendy Palmer, established the Aikido of Tamalpais dojo in Mill Valley, California.[4] In 1985, he was invited to contribute to a US Army Special Forces project designed to test the effectiveness of integrating various practices into its training program. During the six-month program, he taught aikido and meditation techniques.[3]

In 1986, he moved to rural Sonoma County, California outside of Petaluma,[4] and developed a methodology, Strozzi Somatics, aimed at reproducing the outcomes of the US Army project with individuals and civilian organizations.[8] Strozzi Somatics has been employed in various forms to groups around the world.[3]

Strozzi-Heckler helped design and implement the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.[3][9]

Embodied leadershipEdit

Pointing out the relationship of thoughts and mood to an individual's body (e.g., posture, facial expression, tone of voice),[10] Strozzi-Heckler has said that congruency between these elements and a person's words is a primary characteristic of effective leaders.[6] He asserts that this characteristic can be practiced and improved as reliably as practicing and improving one's skill in a martial art or with a musical instrument.[4]

The Strozzi Somatics methodology involves eliciting an individual or organization's defining values and introducing practices that combine conceptual understanding with physical activity in a way that is intended to produce an increase in behavioral traits that are in accordance with those values.[3] Many of these practices are based on aikido movements or principles.[3][4]

In addition to corporate and military leadership, Strozzi Somatics have been applied to law enforcement, corrections, professional and Olympic athletics,[3] education, politics, social justice, and health.[1]


  • The Mind/Body Interface. Freeperson Press (1975) ASIN B0006YH3I2
  • Aikido and the New Warrior. North Atlantic Books (1993) ISBN 978-0-938190-51-6
  • In Search of the Warrior Spirit. North Atlantic Books (1997) ISBN 978-1-58394-202-4
  • The Anatomy of Change. North Atlantic Books (1997) ISBN 978-1-55643-147-0
  • Holding the Center. Frog Books (1997) ISBN 978-1-883319-54-0
  • Being Human At Work: Bringing Somatic Intelligence Into Your Professional Life. North Atlantic Books (2003) ISBN 978-1-55643-447-1
  • The Leadership Dojo. Frog Books (2007) ISBN 978-1-58394-201-7
  • The Art of Somatic Coaching: Embodying Skillful Action, Wisdom, and Compassion. North Atlantic Books (2014) ISBN 978-1-58394-673-2


  1. ^ a b c Marshall, L. Speak the Truth and Point to Hope: The Leader's Guide to Maturity, Kendall Hunt (2004) ISBN 978-0-7575-0823-3 p. 53
  2. ^ Leider, R., Shapiro, D. Claiming Your Place at the Fire: living the second half of your life on purpose. Berrett-Koehler Publishers (2004) ISBN 978-1-57675-297-5 p. 15
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Helgesen, S. "The Dance of Power" Strategy+Business, Winter 2007/Issue 49
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Stone, J., Meyer R. Aikido in America, Frog Books (1995) ISBN 978-1-883319-27-4 p. 240
  5. ^ Morgan, H. The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching, Wiley and Sons (2004) ISBN 978-0-471-70546-8 p.115
  6. ^ a b Warneka, T. Leading People the Black Belt Way: Conquering the Five Core Problems Facing Leaders Today, Asogomi Publishing International (2006) ISBN 978-0-9768627-2-7 p. 30
  7. ^ Frost, B. "Lomi Therapy" Yoga Journal, November–December 1993
  8. ^,+Neuroscience,+and+Leadership
  9. ^ Jaffe, G. A Few Good Men Try the Marine Martial Art, and Take on 2 Gurus The Wall Street Journal, October 9, 2000 Retrieved 11/26/2011
  10. ^ McLeod, L.E. The Triangle of Truth: The Surprisingly Simple Secret to Resolving Conflicts Large and Small, Penguin (2010) ISBN 978-0-399-53567-3

External linksEdit