The Samurai Game®

Unique, Intense & Challenging

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

You 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.

After a thorough needs assessment, Challenge U will create 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day workshops with The Samurai Game® as the core experience. While the context for the experience coincides with your specific organizational needs, there is a universally shared outcome in how deeply engaged your team members are with that context due to the active, experiential facilitation techniques Challenge U implements.

By taking part in The Samurai Game®, participants are invited to honestly observe themselves and reflect on fundamental life questions, such as:

  • To what degree am I willing to act decisively and with integrity to get the results I seek?

  • Upon what principles and core values do I stake my life and success?

  • How well do I function in the face of uncertainty and pressure?

  • How can I become more effective in dealing with conflict, chaos and change?

As a result of participating, you are armed with greater choices in life. You will increase your capacity to:

  • Generate bold, decisive action in the face of uncertainty

  • Choose to display integrity when no one is watching, support when the going gets tough and rules don’t easily apply, and commit when there is no certainty of success

  • Appreciate the value and vividness of life

  • Deal with loss and/or recovery

  • Establish boundaries beyond which you want to stop or are unwilling to be uncomfortable

  • Listen deeply to others, and be clearly heard by them in turn

  • Take a dignified stand for respect and honor, from yourself and others

  • Effectively lead and follow – in all aspects of your life, whether personal or professional

What happens in The Samurai Game®?

Participants in The Samurai Game® cross a psychological line and step into the unfamiliar simulated world of the medieval Japanese Samurai. They form two competing samurai armies and engage with their teammates and opponents in symbolic battles that eventually determine the simulation’s finale. These battles call upon participants to exercise resourcefulness, decisiveness, dignity, integrity, respect and personal commitment. The pace is fast and unpredictable, and the outcomes are highly uncertain. In fact, death may be your greatest teacher.


No two productions of the simulation are ever quite the same, making each learning experience unique! While involving no significant physical contact, The Samurai Game® demands much in the way of centeredness and teamwork. Participants are encouraged to summon forth their “warrior” spirit with courage and determination.


The Samurai Game® is considered by many to be the most unique, intense and challenging leadership and teambuilding experiential simulation available anywhere. Tens of thousands of individuals from around the world have participated in it, through organizational and corporate trainings & retreats, university and school leadership courses, and personal development programs.


The Samurai Game® was invented, written, and first performed in 1977 by George Leonard, author, award-winning editor, musician, Aikido instructor and pioneer in the Human Potential movement. The Samurai Game® was copyrighted by George Leonard and is solely owned by The Leonard Family Trust.


There are only a handful of trainers in the world certified to facilitate this game. Andi Burgis, Founder of Challenge U, is one of those few Certified Facilitators that has the legal right to produce and facilitate this simulation. To ensure the integrity of your experience go to and confirm that your facilitator is listed among those who have received the necessary training and certification.


The Game is powerful but within my experience subtle. Issues that I have with my own character were emphasized on the stage of the game. I would recommend that one take this as whatever it will bring with an open mind and mindfulness. The warm up and guided meditation shed days of stress away in moments and prepared the group for the experience of the game."

— CU Alum

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