Photo by Andrew Joslin

At the Old Oak Dojo, we believe it’s possible to play to change the world—instead of working to change the world. When we play, we’re invited to break rules, experiment, innovate and be original. Can you remember how you played as a child? If you were like most children, you delighted in opportunities to be off balance, to relinquish control, to be surprised. You pushed the edge to see just how far you could go—and it was no big deal when you toppled over. In fact, the more errors you made, the more you learned how to solve problems—like maintaining balance. You tried things out for no other reason than because they were new. When you got your hands on an object, your first question was “What can I do with that?” not “What is it for?” As adults, we like to categorize things: a paperclip is a paperclip; a box is a box. For a child, a paperclip is a lock picker, a cherry-pit remover, a booger-hunting device, a lightning rod for elves. Play returns us to a state in which we can see what’s possible—not what’s so.

We engage in all kinds of play at the Old Oak Dojo. We dance, climb ropes, fight with toy swords. We invent games, compete at wordplay, cooperate to get new tasks done.

Ultimately, we invite each other to experiment, to try out new ideas, to take ourselves a little less seriously. We do not have to conform to what we already know. Play invites us to explode the boundaries, to distort the familiar. There is no failure in play; we’re not trying to get it right. We are not even trying to solve our problems. No, what we’re doing when we play is exploring our dreams.