Brian Kagen pick: “Aikido and Violence” by Paul Linden, Ph.D.

“In my practice as a somatic educator, I often have clients who are working on issues around anger and violence. In working with these people, I usually start with Being In Movement body awareness training and end with Aikido practice. About ten years ago, I taught a course in a lockup facility for violent adolescents. Many of them were bigger and stronger than I. I’ll always remember one particularly big, tough kid. After doing some Aikido, he looked at me with great puzzlement and asked, “How come you can move us and we can’t move you?” And my reply was very simple: “That’s because you are big and young and strong and I’m little and old and weak!” What I was doing with the Aikido was undermining his and our culture’s understanding of what strength is.

Underlying anger and violence is usually a belief that safety depends on being strong, and part of that is the idea that strength is tough and hard. Rather than preach at people, I use physical experiments to test this “philosophical” belief system. ”

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  1. Perhaps there are at least two things working here. Getting the stuff pounded out of ’em while sweating hard and accomplishing little IS misogi! At a certain level there’s also the subtle topology of skeleto-muscular weakness. We all know where we’re strong. Figuring out where we’re weak is a bit more challenging, to say nothing of interesting.

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