Aikido and Cognitive/Physical Discourse
Sarete is a life-skills program utilizing concepts and practices of aikido and psychology to promote peace and wellness in individuals struggling with conflict and self-regulation.
• Aikido is the only form of self-defense where the goal is to change the relationship between opponents so that force becomes ineffective.
• Individuals who struggle with self-regulation and experience a high frequency of conflict are less likely to achieve goals and are at a higher risk for being the victim/ perpetrator of violence and crime.
• Experiences of conflict, stress, and anxiety originate at a physical level.
• Physical conflict and resolution follow the same patterns as interpersonal conflict and resolution.
Successfully resolving physical conflict with harmony creates an opportunity to learn to apply the same philosophic approach to non-physical forms of conflict. Sarete utilizes aikido techniques because aikido body movements assert a positive non-oppositional physical discourse in response to a present physical threat. Non-oppositional action and self-regulation are required for mutual resolution of any form of conflict.
• Centering techniques and body gestures improve self-regulation through changes in breathing, posture, movement, and muscle tension.
• Spatial regulation techniques manifest a non-oppositional physical relationship to others through changes in distance, orientation, body language, and approach.
• De-escalation techniques are alternative responses to fight, flight, freeze instincts; these techniques utilize movement to re-center and re-position so that the individual is not the target of aggression and has the ability to act without force or opposition.
Sarete utilizes “embodied learning,” drawing parallels between physical techniques and problem solving skills through technical instruction and practice. Aikido is practiced through role-play to provide specific learning opportunities and to ensure safety while eliciting physical and cognitive reactions to confrontation. The threat of a grab or strike initiates actual pressure, stress, and tension; participants learn to respond with regulated non-oppositional centering practices and Aikido techniques. Concepts and philosophies of non-violent resolution are verified through experience; therefore, participants take away a new conceptualization of potential applications in daily life.
Reach out your hands palms down and grab your right wrist. You are likely unable to pull free from yourself. Instead, let the grabbed hand go limp with your fingers pointing to the floor. Move your fingertips together as you imagine pinching a piece of lint from your belly button. Bring the lint up so you can see it. Pass the lint to your right… The “grabbed you” just did aikido.
Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido said, “true victory is self victory.” The challenge is not to create peace in others but to manifest peace in the face of our own aggression.