Martial arts seems out of place in a site about therapy — isn’t it about aggression and hurting? Don’t we imagine healers as somehow soft and codependent, avoiding conflict of any kind?
Actually there’s a long-standing tradition in the serious martial arts that players at a certain level have to learn healing modalities as well as self-defense. It’s all about balance. At the crudest level is the “You break it, you fix it” concept, and there are plenty of opportunities to treat injuries in the dojo. But it goes much further than this. in fact both groups have a lot to learn from each other.
First, distinguish between what are called “external” and “internal” martial arts. In the external arts (boxing, karate, etc.) the emphasis is on strength, conditioning and speed. In the internal arts (aikido, tai chi, ba gua, etc.) the emphasis is more on balance, sensitivity, strategic retreats and general deception–one prevails by redirecting the opponent’s strength and speed. Not always nice! It is this latter standpoint that informs Neural Touch.
What are the similarities between martial and healing arts?
- Deep familiarity with the human body is important — its strengths and weaknesses, joint ranges of motion, etc.
- Posture, good body ergonomics, and a relaxed and efficient application of force.
- The therapy and martial striking points are much the same — what differs is the intention.
- Calmness in the face of “battle.” Warriors of old strove against serious injury and death. In body therapies, we’re not fighting immanent death, but we can choose to be equally focused and intent; to the point that external distractions disappear.
- Are you able to see and release your attachments:
- To an opinion
- To an approach
- To being right
- To succeeding in a certain time-frame
- ◦ Everything keeps changing. Forces and tensions don’t sit and wait for you. You have to adapt quickly and patiently, doggedly follow and wait for your opportunities.
- ◦ There is an unmistakable intimacy that must be acknowledged and dealt with.◦ Focus is extremely important. Kumar Frantzis, a monstrously proficient martial player, says that he assumes that every opponent he will face is faster, stronger and better trained than he. Then the only way he can win is by being more awake and alert. This also leads to an unsentimental wellspring of humility.
◦ Softness does not mean weakness. Softness is a tactic.When hardness is appropriate it will be used as well. It might not as strategic, since hardness alerts the defenses.
◦ Softness means that you are fighting a battle on a different scale than your opponent realizes. Since no defensiveness is triggered, you can more easily undermine the opponent’s strength.
◦ Try to avoid direct frontal action. Misdirection and confusion work much better. You don’t try to change your opponent. Rather, change yourself in relation to him.
No, The client is not your opponent. The opponent is what your client is stuck dealing with — the dysfunction or aberation or misunderstanding that has solidified into tension and dis-ease. Not a simple fix. We want to determine why! Yes, it is so similar to an imbalance or dysfunction that would make a stranger want to attack in the first place. In either case, with the determination and patience of a trial lawyer we need to systematically destroy the logic of the misconception, and then sit back and let the jury decide. And yes, the client is always partly responsible. That’s what makes it so interesting and exciting!
And from the outside, it all looks so gentle!