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Home > Columns > > May, 2006 - Creating Internal Resources
by Lynn Seiser

Creating Internal Resources by Lynn Seiser

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I remember starting Aikido training. All I seemed to hear was to relax more. I was relaxed. This is relaxed for me. If I were any more relaxed, I would go home and take a nap. What did these people want? How do I learn to relax while someone is attacking me? Everyone just said practice more. Practice what? Practice how? How do you practice this state of being called relaxed?

Besides being a perpetual student of the martial arts (I have heard that I will probably be training after I am dead. Okay, that one is probably true.), I study psychology and psychotherapy (Why people are the way they are and how do they change. Yes, we can change.). Besides working with victims and offenders of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction, I work with athletes in sport and performance enhancement psychology. Most people in general believe that we should just know everything and it should come to us naturally. Most elite athletes understand and accept that it is both the physical and mental discipline and training that leads to better performance. Not training more, but training wiser makes the difference. How is one ever to have body and mind unity if they work on the mind? As I hear in Aikido, wherever the head goes the body follows.

So how do we get our head around creating internal resources?

First, what internal resource do you want? Let us take mine; relaxation while in motion while someone is attacking you. A goal must be positive, personal, and possible. Being relaxed is stated in the positive of what I want; it is within my control, and it is possible to learn.

Second, learn to relax. Take some time alone. Lie down and "let" the body relax as much as possible. Relaxation is a "let" not a "make". Breathe in and tense the muscles saying "re-". Exhale and "let" go of the tensions saying "-lax". The breathing in and out, along with the internal verbalization "re-lax" becomes an associated anchor or trigger to access the relaxed state.

If you want to get a bit esoteric, touch the tongue to the ridge of the palate on the roof of the mouth. This connects the front central and the rear governing meridians creating a complete circuit or flow of energy.

Breathe in and out through the nose. Use the diaphragm to create a vacuum in the lungs while breathing in. Spend more time exhaling to assure the lungs are empty naturally facilitating a deeper breath process. Breathing is closely related to emotional states and is one of the few automatic processes we can take conscious control of. Now you are getting your head around creating an internal resource.

Third, think of a time you were relaxed. Step into the memory as if you were actually still there experiencing it. Breathe in "-re" and breathe out "-lax". Keep the tongue on the roof of the mouth.

Fourth, think of a future time you want this internal resource of relaxation. An example would be the next time you have someone coming at you in class, you just forgot the technique, and you internal dialogue is using words you would never say aloud. Step into that negative fantasy and feel that for a second. This is the context in which you want to associate the new internal resource of relaxation.

Fifth, mentally rehearse an oncoming approach or attack. Touch the tongue to the roof, inhale "re" and exhale "-lax". With practice, the fantasy of an approach will trigger, by association, relaxation. Think of several times in the future where you want to be relaxed. Practice seeing, hearing, and feeling yourself becoming more and more relaxed in enough contexts so that it begins to feel more and more natural and automatic. Now you are getting your head around creating and practicing an internal resource.

Sixth, step on the mat. At first, ask someone to approach you and center yourself by touch your tongue to the rough of you mouth, breathing in "re-" and breathing out "-lax". Increase the speed of the approach or attack. Now you are getting your head around creating, practicing, and applying an internal resource.

Finally, "let" yourself "breathe", "re-lax", and "en-joy". With enough consistent and persistent practice, with honest and genuine intent and intensity, the internal resource will begin to appear naturally.

Resources can be stacked, collapsed, and even sequenced. Once you know what you want, you still have to find out how to get it and then do it. There are no short-cuts or quick-fixes; there is only the training. Train smarter and wiser, not just harder and more.

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. "KWATZ!"

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