Sarete for Veterans builds resources and resilience needed for implementing lasting change. The practice of Aikido creates a controlled and graduated experience of conflict, developing the capacity to utilize skills during instances of stress and anxiety. Special focus is placed on actions regulating oppositional arousal, alternatives to defensive physical behaviors, and methods of non-oppositional engagement.

Breathing, posture, and preparation practices are used to establish and maintain a centered present state.

    Centering for rest and readiness
    Focus on how your physical experience changes when you manifest or leave a centered, non-oppositional state.

    • Breathing reflects your state of mind and body.
    • Focused breathing supports a physical equilibrium by returning the body and mind to supportive roles.
    • Breathing exercises can be used orient thoughts, actions, and behaviors toward goal-oriented attention.

    Standing with attention and engagement
    Focus on how non-verbal behaviors contribute to the resolution or escalation of conflict dependent on the subject’s interpretation of our position, posture, and gesture.

    • Posture reflects your state of energy.
    • Being present and open increases the capacity for positive sensory experience.
    • Practiced action focuses on connecting effort and energy to the present moment.

    Mobilizing toward intention and goals
    Focus on what to do in the context of personal or relational conflict to establish security, identify issues of conflict, and reduce the potential for confrontation.

    • Preparation reflects your state of purpose.
    • Non-oppositional response supports adaptive capabilities.
    • Goal-oriented action designates a path leading toward specific opportunities.

Gesture, interaction, and strategy can regulate the prolonged physiological overlay of combat.

    Gestures for reset and regulation
    • Nonverbals convey your emotion, impulse, and disposition.
    • Alternative gestures support self-regulation by reducing automatic flight, fight, and freeze reactions.
    • Regulation exercises interrupt cycles of anxiety, stress, and arousal in support of processing and effort.
    Interacting with acceptance and non-opposition
    • Responses convey your perceptions and expectations.
    • Being responsive focuses strengths and capabilities on opportunities for positive change.
    • Practiced action minimizes reactive behaviors in the context of overwhelming experience.
    Strategies toward security and growth
    • “How you do” conveys your goals and challenges.
    • Non-oppositional, adaptive, and responsive behavior establishes security while minimizing the potential for conflict.
    • Controlled practice equips individuals to establish and maintain security in actual experience.

Practice occurs in a group setting of fellow soldiers to provide a context for positive engagement and physical contact.  This experience builds on shared experience, struggles, and goals to initiate positive physical and personal engagement that may be absent or difficult in the transition to civilian life.

    Build relationships in the context of non-verbal interaction
    • Dojo etiquette and structure separates practice from everyday life.
    • Techniques have a clear purpose, process, and objective.
    • Physical practice provides a context for connection and interaction.
    Increase physical interaction through the progression of practice.
    • Personal space progresses to mutual, to interactive, to conflicting space.
    • Physical contact progresses from approximate, to present, to committed.
    • Interaction between attacker and aikidoist progresses from mimicking movements, to utilizing mechanics, to expressing emotion, philosophy, and intent through action.
    Utilize methods to minimize interpersonal conflict.
    • Centering regulates physiological reactions in personal, professional, and social environments.
    • Aikido movements reduce non-verbal behaviors that contribute to the development of conflict.
    • Non-oppositional resolution of physical conflict utilizes strategies appropriate to resolving other forms of conflict.

Recovery, transition, and growth are difficult in the presence of ongoing conflict. Problem solving and resolution strategies reduce the impact and triggering of new conflict. Aikido utilizes non-oppositional problem solving, which can aid in understanding and addressing interpersonal conflict and resolution.

    Distinguish between oppositional and non-oppositional interactions.
    Through graduated immersion, focus progresses from individual centering toward maintaining a centered non-oppositional state in relational conflict.

    • Attack and defense practice embodies expressing and receiving oppositional action as physical reference for distinguishing the difference between oppositional and non-oppositional behavior.
    • Aikido techniques become more effective with the reduction of force and opposition.
    • Throwing and being thrown is a positive experience when a technique is free of oppositional action and intent.

    Develop non-oppositional, goal oriented responses to conflict
    • Instruction correlates practice to life-skills and strategies that reduce the causes and impact of conflict.
    • Movements are correlated adaptive relationship skills that promote positive problem-solving responses .
    • Techniques are correlated to forms of non-oppositional resolution that focus on forming goal-oriented opportunities.
    Implement adaptive resolution strategies to develop opportunities
    • Respond to the presence of conflict by taking non-oppositional, secure, and adaptive action.
    • Identify possibilities for change that do not promote additional conflict.
    • Utilize the energy of conflict and change to engage developing opportunities.