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Survivor
06-27-2013, 10:53 PM
I am a rape survivor. I was raped when I was 17, and I have had many years of learning what to do to prevent it again. I do not talk to men I don't know and I do not go on blind dates. I have also developed an extreme aversion to being touched in any context other than by someone I am in a relationship with.

I have been studying Aikido for 2 years now, and it was recently pointed out to me that most of my waza issues stem from giving too much of a "holiday" to my uke. Upon further self-reflection, I feel that these technical problems are rooted in my aversion to touching people and being touched in any kind of non-sexual context. (I also do not hug friends, and I genuinely do my best to avoid even a handshake as a greeting.)

I am not looking for therapy, but I would be interested in knowing if there are any women here who have overcome the same issues, or any instructors who have helped their students though these issues.

Mary Eastland
06-29-2013, 06:23 AM
Can you talk about what giving too much "Holiday" to uke means?

I don't understand.

Survivor
06-29-2013, 07:05 AM
Can you talk about what giving too much "Holiday" to uke means?

I don't understand.

For example, when you are a doing a shiho nage, you have to step in tight to the uke and keep the arm stretched out, otherwise uke can spin out of it, or even kaeshi it and put you into a shiho nage. Some kokyu nages also require a similar closeness. Koshi throws are completely impossible for me.

Cady Goldfield
06-29-2013, 08:42 AM
That's a real conundrum, trying to reconcile your established personal rules about physical contact, with an art that requires physical contact with another person in order to train.
How are you as uke for your partners? Are you letting nage fully engage with you to do her or his techniques?

If the partner-contact aspect of aikido is unpleasant for you, perhaps you could make an arrangement with your teacher and school that excuses you from regular classes and partner training, and allows you to instead use open mat times to focus on solo training, including refining your evasive tactics. You could work with volunteer partners only to practice perfecting your evasions from touch. That way, you can limit your physical contact with others, while not impeding other students' need to train, during classes, with a partner who can fully engage with them physically in order to have good training.

Best wishes and good luck.

Survivor
06-29-2013, 09:06 AM
That's a real conundrum, trying to reconcile your established personal rules about physical contact, with an art that requires physical contact with another person in order to train.
How are you as uke for your partners? Are you letting nage fully engage with you to do her or his techniques?

Honestly, I am not sure, now that I have been trying to reexamine my technique. I think that I am, but that is going to require more mat time for me to objectively try to figure it out.

If the partner-contact aspect of aikido is unpleasant for you, perhaps you could make an arrangement with your teacher and school that excuses you from regular classes and partner training, and allows you to instead use open mat times to focus on solo training, including refining your evasive tactics. You could work with volunteer partners only to practice perfecting your evasions from touch. That way, you can limit your physical contact with others, while not impeding other students' need to train, during classes, with a partner who can fully engage with them physically in order to have good training.

Best wishes and good luck.

Well, plenty of things are unpleasant, but still need to be done. I don't particularly like cleaning the bathroom either, but I still need to do it. What I am trying to do is overcome my issues on the mat, not work around them. I've been working around them for awhile now. And techniques that don't require a lot of closeness I feel that I am fairly good with. Nikkyo is one of my better techniques, for example, and I am looking to be more uniform across the board, instead of having some good techniques, some poor ones, and some I just can't do at all. Also, I have never told my Sensei about what happened to me. Thinking back on it, I know that I have flinched a few times when he put a friendly hand on my shoulder when I first started, so he may well have figured it out, but I'm not sure that's a conversation I want to have.

Cady Goldfield
06-29-2013, 09:48 AM
Good that you are trying to work with your challenge instead of working around it. Maybe the fact that you are aware will help you to gradually desensitize yourself to it, at least enough to be able to really enjoy your aikido training.

The teacher's friendly hand on your shoulder, and other kinds of benign contact, make you flinch now, but maybe if you let these things happen and remind yourself that they are benign, the flinching will eventually stop and you'll be able to relax. It's like getting used to cold water... step in toe first, grimace, adjust, go in up to your ankles, grimace, adjust...etc. Same with aikido technique. Nikkyo is a good "minimal contact" technique -- just hands and wrists. It's the toe in the water.

I don't pretend to be an expert in this area, but I do believe that arts such as aikido provide a safe and controlled venue for working through personal challenges such as touch aversion. I'm not sure, though, that it's a good idea to try to accomplish this on one's own. While it isn't necessary to tell your teacher your whole story, it might be productive to tell him that you have problems with touch aversion that you are seeking to overcome, and let him help you devise a way to work through it within the context of aikido training. Having an ally in your training will make your burden a lot lighter, IMO and IME.

Dan Rubin
06-29-2013, 09:48 AM
Why did you choose to study aikido (as opposed to a different activity), and why have you continued with it for two years?

Marc Abrams
06-29-2013, 10:16 AM
The only way to change the present experience from being a replay of an old tape is to act in a manner that is mutually exclusive to the established behavior. Your training can be this opportunity that will push buttons, be scary, etc.... The opportunity to move in a new manner that results in a safer, more secure outcome changes your present and future.

As a psychologist and martial arts instructor, I use this awareness to help some very brave students create a new present and future. In absence of a teacher with a high level of awareness as to what you are going through, I would look to supplement your current training with some work with a therapist who is relatively intelligent about the nature of your training. Good Luck!

Marc Abrams

ps- Today is only yesterday's tomorrow....

Mark Freeman
06-29-2013, 10:21 AM
I don't pretend to be an expert in this area, but I do believe that arts such as aikido provide a safe and controlled venue for working through personal challenges such as touch aversion. I'm not sure, though, that it's a good idea to try to accomplish this on one's own. While it isn't necessary to tell your teacher your whole story, it might be productive to tell him that you have problems with touch aversion that you are seeking to overcome, and let him help you devise a way to work through it within the context of aikido training. Having an ally in your training will make your burden a lot lighter, IMO and IME.

Hi Cody

I think this is sage advice to "Survivor" and hopefully she will find a way of expressing this to her teacher. If nothing else, aikido teaches us to relax on contact, where a normal reaction would be to tense up, resist or retreat and from this relaxed and centered state, deal with the problem/issue at hand.

I think that over time, with patience and a commitment to work with the inevitable discomfort, then a stronger, healthier state can be achieved.

regards,

Mark

Janet Rosen
06-29-2013, 11:44 AM
This is essentially what I would say so just want to add my voice of support.
To the fellow asking then why is the OP even doing aikido...some folks are led somehow to what they need in life, and sometimes that something is a safe space in which to slowly explore what pushes one's buttons. It's NOT therapy or a replacement for it but a sort of living laboratory for controlled experiments in changing one's reality and one's self. At least that's my take on it.

Good that you are trying to work with your challenge instead of working around it. Maybe the fact that you are aware will help you to gradually desensitize yourself to it, at least enough to be able to really enjoy your aikido training.

The teacher's friendly hand on your shoulder, and other kinds of benign contact, make you flinch now, but maybe if you let these things happen and remind yourself that they are benign, the flinching will eventually stop and you'll be able to relax. It's like getting used to cold water... step in toe first, grimace, adjust, go in up to your ankles, grimace, adjust...etc. Same with aikido technique. Nikkyo is a good "minimal contact" technique -- just hands and wrists. It's the toe in the water.

I don't pretend to be an expert in this area, but I do believe that arts such as aikido provide a safe and controlled venue for working through personal challenges such as touch aversion. I'm not sure, though, that it's a good idea to try to accomplish this on one's own. While it isn't necessary to tell your teacher your whole story, it might be productive to tell him that you have problems with touch aversion that you are seeking to overcome, and let him help you devise a way to work through it within the context of aikido training. Having an ally in your training will make your burden a lot lighter, IMO and IME.

Dan Rubin
06-29-2013, 02:40 PM
To the fellow asking then why is the OP even doing aikido...

I didn't ask "then why is the OP is even doing aikido," I asked why she chose to study aikido and continues to do so. I think that her answer to that question might provide clues toward helpful advice.

Janet Rosen
06-29-2013, 03:13 PM
I didn't ask "then why is the OP is even doing aikido," I asked why she chose to study aikido and continues to do so. I think that her answer to that question might provide clues toward helpful advice.

Dan, I apologize for my paraphrase which I did change the tone of your query.
I both read quickly AND was using aikiweb on my little iPod, which makes it impossible to scroll back up once I've hit "quick reply."

Dan Rubin
06-29-2013, 03:19 PM
You're forgiven. :)

anomaly
06-29-2013, 07:09 PM
Yes, I have used aikido to work on issues of touch and proximity. I am a survivor of sexual trauma. You are not alone. Keep moving forward and appreciate your progress.

Survivor
06-29-2013, 10:17 PM
Why did you choose to study aikido (as opposed to a different activity), and why have you continued with it for two years?

For Dan and Janet,

I actually studied karate from the age of 12 to 17. I received my shodan a month before I was raped, and I never returned because I was too ashamed to go back to class. I was looking to go back into martial arts, and I stumbled into Aikido. The dojo cho is a very kind and honorable man, and I felt safe going to classes with him. After studying with him for about a month, it was Aikido itself that I fell in love with, in terms of philosophy as well as the martial aspect.


I don't pretend to be an expert in this area, but I do believe that arts such as aikido provide a safe and controlled venue for working through personal challenges such as touch aversion. I'm not sure, though, that it's a good idea to try to accomplish this on one's own. While it isn't necessary to tell your teacher your whole story, it might be productive to tell him that you have problems with touch aversion that you are seeking to overcome, and let him help you devise a way to work through it within the context of aikido training. Having an ally in your training will make your burden a lot lighter, IMO and IME.

I hadn't actually considered that Cady, thank you. I hate the thought of people seeing me as a victim, and this is a conversation I have only had with three people, all of them men I was in long term relationships with. My family doesn't even know what happened.

And Marc, where does one locate a psychologist who is also familiar with martial arts, specifically Aikido? This isn't sarcasm, I just don't even know how to go about finding someone who would have that kind of experience.

Dave de Vos
06-30-2013, 08:58 AM
I don't know why exactly, but I'm also uncomfortable with close physical contact with people outside of my own family. I guess it's partly cultural. Hugging people outside one's own family is not very common in my country, especially for men.

For me koshinage is ok, but the iriminage version where you put your partner's head against you shoulder (like holding a baby to your shoulder) feels uncomfortable.

What helped me with this technique, is that my teacher specifically said to us all that it may be somewhat uncomfortable for some to be so much in close contact with our partner. So the fact that he acknowledged my issue helped me. He doesn't know that I'm uncomfortable with it, he just knows that some people are. Anyway, gradually I'm feeling less uncomfortable when we do this. But my uncomfortableness is probably a lot less than yours, so I don't know if this would actually work for you.

I think it's quite understandable that you don't want to tell your teacher the reason for your touch aversion, and I don't think it's really neccessary. But you might tell him that you are uncomfortable with it, whatever the reason.

Oops, I'm basically repeating what Cady Goldfield said in post #6

Marc Abrams
06-30-2013, 09:05 AM
For Dan and Janet,

I actually studied karate from the age of 12 to 17. I received my shodan a month before I was raped, and I never returned because I was too ashamed to go back to class. I was looking to go back into martial arts, and I stumbled into Aikido. The dojo cho is a very kind and honorable man, and I felt safe going to classes with him. After studying with him for about a month, it was Aikido itself that I fell in love with, in terms of philosophy as well as the martial aspect.

I hadn't actually considered that Cady, thank you. I hate the thought of people seeing me as a victim, and this is a conversation I have only had with three people, all of them men I was in long term relationships with. My family doesn't even know what happened.

And Marc, where does one locate a psychologist who is also familiar with martial arts, specifically Aikido? This isn't sarcasm, I just don't even know how to go about finding someone who would have that kind of experience.

Survivor:

When you meet a therapist, you are interviewing that person as much as they are interviewing you. Explaining your situation to the therapist and listening to the responses will tell you a lot about whether the person is aware of the trigger points that need to be "de-activated."

You are not a victim. Everybody is a survivor of some type of negative experience. Obviously, some experiences are far worse than others (with the potential of longer lasting consequences). As I stated before, you have an tremendous amount of bravery and courage to be facing these experiences. There is never any shame in being courageous and brave. You are more than welcome to e-mail me directly and I might be about to help you find a good therapist near you.

Marc Abrams

Lorien Lowe
06-30-2013, 02:20 PM
To a certain extent, I dealt with a less severe sensory 'touch' issue by making most of the peopel I train with into honorary 'family members' in my own mind. There are still some people whom I have a difficult time connecting with, and I see that as part of my shugyo: how to connect with people one doesn't really want to connect with, while still maintaining one's independence and integrity.

It's hard for me, and (I'm guessing) for Survivor, to not experience physical contact as a simultaneous mental/spiritual/emotional contact; to allow all-and-sundry in, then, requires either the ability to separate the physical from the mental, or the ability to purify uke's action (any uke) through the movement of aikido.

Krystal Locke
06-30-2013, 09:51 PM
I wouldn't waste a lot of time on finding an aikido friendly therapist. Aikido isn't the real issue. You can very likely find a therapist who specializes in assault and rape recovery. You can explain your relationship with martial arts within the therapy itself. Far more important that the therapist be competent around your core issues than even know what aikido is. He or she will just remind you of the tools and resources you have around and within you so that you can help yourself.

For Dan and Janet,

I actually studied karate from the age of 12 to 17. I received my shodan a month before I was raped, and I never returned because I was too ashamed to go back to class. I was looking to go back into martial arts, and I stumbled into Aikido. The dojo cho is a very kind and honorable man, and I felt safe going to classes with him. After studying with him for about a month, it was Aikido itself that I fell in love with, in terms of philosophy as well as the martial aspect.

I hadn't actually considered that Cady, thank you. I hate the thought of people seeing me as a victim, and this is a conversation I have only had with three people, all of them men I was in long term relationships with. My family doesn't even know what happened.

And Marc, where does one locate a psychologist who is also familiar with martial arts, specifically Aikido? This isn't sarcasm, I just don't even know how to go about finding someone who would have that kind of experience.

Michael Hackett
06-30-2013, 11:43 PM
Contact Lynn Seiser here on AikiWeb. He is in Georgia, and may be able to refer you to someone he knows and trusts. Lynn is not only a therapist, but is yondan in aikido as well. It is a small world and he may know someone near your community.

ryback
07-01-2013, 01:56 AM
I am a rape survivor. I was raped when I was 17, and I have had many years of learning what to do to prevent it again. I do not talk to men I don't know and I do not go on blind dates. I have also developed an extreme aversion to being touched in any context other than by someone I am in a relationship with.

I have been studying Aikido for 2 years now, and it was recently pointed out to me that most of my waza issues stem from giving too much of a "holiday" to my uke. Upon further self-reflection, I feel that these technical problems are rooted in my aversion to touching people and being touched in any kind of non-sexual context. (I also do not hug friends, and I genuinely do my best to avoid even a handshake as a greeting.)

I am not looking for therapy, but I would be interested in knowing if there are any women here who have overcome the same issues, or any instructors who have helped their students though these issues.

Aikido is a martial art and as such it can teach us how to be effective in a self defense situation. But self defense is not only techniques and Aikido goes further than that. Aikido is about finding one's limits, extending them, breaking any barriers to set a broader self and then you go to break your new limits. Of course waza and daily training are one's tools for getting there.
As my teacher often says, you have to find any amount of courage that you have to push your technique forward. Then you use your new, higher technique level to push yourself forward, you find more courage that you use in your technique and you go on and on...forever because that's how long it takes to learn aikido.
The way I see it you need no therapy or treatment of any kind. You alredy are in the right path, that of aikido. Keep playing and experimenting with your own limits in order to make yourself wider more open and extended and you will overcome your problem.
You see, in a martial context (aikido is a martial art after all) nobody would like to have a close touching contact with a dirty, filthy sick junkie that points his knife to him asking for money, but in aikido we learn how to be able to do that because it might save our lives.
The lesson is the same. It is from the fighting techniques that we learn the application in every aspect of life, so keep on practicing.:)

lbb
07-01-2013, 08:10 AM
Survivor, can I ask a question to clarify your original post? Are you asking how you can address your issues with touch and trust so that you can make better practice in aikido, which you love? Or are you asking how you can use aikido training to resolve various rape trauma issues? It could be either, or both, but it seems to me that the order of operations (if you'll permit a bit of math geekery) is reversed if you pick one vs. the other.

Survivor
07-01-2013, 08:46 AM
Survivor, can I ask a question to clarify your original post? Are you asking how you can address your issues with touch and trust so that you can make better practice in aikido, which you love? Or are you asking how you can use aikido training to resolve various rape trauma issues? It could be either, or both, but it seems to me that the order of operations (if you'll permit a bit of math geekery) is reversed if you pick one vs. the other.

I am asking how to address my issues with touch so I can be better in Aikido, actually. Hopefully the clarification helps. While I am not strictly opposed to therapy, I see that as a separate issue than that of my Aikido practice.

lbb
07-01-2013, 09:07 AM
I am asking how to address my issues with touch so I can be better in Aikido, actually. Hopefully the clarification helps. While I am not strictly opposed to therapy, I see that as a separate issue than that of my Aikido practice.

Thanks for clarifying, and boy, do you have my sympathy. That's got to be incredibly difficult. I wish I had some good insight. All I can really do is reflect on how I feel about my practice partners. Some of them are people I'd trust with my life, and then there are those that I consider to have trustworthy intentions but not always trustworthy judgment (for example, people with good will but poor control). And, yeah, once in a great while I've run into someone who isn't necessarily out to harm me but is somewhat indifferent to my safety. This may be no help for you at all, but I think I'm able to train with people in the latter two categories if I can trust my own abilities and judgment to keep myself safe - basically, if I have enough control over the situation. I guess that's probably a pretty common accommodation, otherwise we wouldn't be able to train with beginners.

Survivor
07-01-2013, 09:51 AM
Thanks for clarifying, and boy, do you have my sympathy. That's got to be incredibly difficult. I wish I had some good insight. All I can really do is reflect on how I feel about my practice partners. Some of them are people I'd trust with my life, and then there are those that I consider to have trustworthy intentions but not always trustworthy judgment (for example, people with good will but poor control). And, yeah, once in a great while I've run into someone who isn't necessarily out to harm me but is somewhat indifferent to my safety. This may be no help for you at all, but I think I'm able to train with people in the latter two categories if I can trust my own abilities and judgment to keep myself safe - basically, if I have enough control over the situation. I guess that's probably a pretty common accommodation, otherwise we wouldn't be able to train with beginners.

Basically what I am seeing right now is the same steady increase in skill in applying certain techniques, and a 0 improvement in other techniques. While that may not be a big difference right now, in a year or two, it is going to be a very glaring deficit in my waza. So I've identified a problem, and I know why some things are improving and some are not, but now I just have to figure out how to fix it, and that's the issue I am running into right now.

Marc Abrams
07-01-2013, 09:58 AM
Basically what I am seeing right now is the same steady increase in skill in applying certain techniques, and a 0 improvement in other techniques. While that may not be a big difference right now, in a year or two, it is going to be a very glaring deficit in my waza. So I've identified a problem, and I know why some things are improving and some are not, but now I just have to figure out how to fix it, and that's the issue I am running into right now.

Survivor:

Could it be that you have already made your "improvements" before you see increases in your skill sets? I guess that would me that your growth, regarding the touch issues, are ongoing and the results will become manifest. Patience, awareness and purposeful action lead to good things.

marc abrams

Survivor
07-01-2013, 10:03 AM
Survivor:

Could it be that you have already made your "improvements" before you see increases in your skill sets? I guess that would me that your growth, regarding the touch issues, are ongoing and the results will become manifest. Patience, awareness and purposeful action lead to good things.

marc abrams

I might agree with that, except we did Koshi Nage techniques a few classes ago, and I completely froze and was unable to do them at all.

Marc Abrams
07-01-2013, 10:41 AM
I might agree with that, except we did Koshi Nage techniques a few classes ago, and I completely froze and was unable to do them at all.

You were aware of what was happening and why. This is real growth. That is the first, critical step towards changing response sets in behaviors that are mutually incompatible with freezing up. Patience, acceptance and self-forgiveness when things happen that you don't want to happen are necessary for positive change.

Marc Abrams

hughrbeyer
07-01-2013, 10:59 AM
I might agree with that, except we did Koshi Nage techniques a few classes ago, and I completely froze and was unable to do them at all.

Ouch. Of course koshi nage's going to be hard. Not surprising at all if you froze. You are trying to do something really hard here. Buckets of sympathy and a dozen attagirls for getting out there and trying.

Would it be helpful to meet one-on-one with another student, or the sensei, you trust outside of class time? You'd probably have to explain why it's so hard for you and work through it piece by piece. Failing that, therapy to deal with the touch issues independent of Aikido might be best.

But I'm not a therapist and I don't play one on TV, so look to those who are for better guidance.

Krystal Locke
07-01-2013, 11:10 AM
Do you only have physical contact issues in aikido?

I am asking how to address my issues with touch so I can be better in Aikido, actually. Hopefully the clarification helps. While I am not strictly opposed to therapy, I see that as a separate issue than that of my Aikido practice.

Basia Halliop
07-01-2013, 01:54 PM
I wonder if there are ways you can break your problem into easier baby-steps? Like starting with a couple of techniques that are only somewhat uncomfortable, considering if there are individuals you feel less uncomfortable touching or having in your personal space (e.g., due to gender, age, body type, personality, knowing them longer, or for whatever reason), considering if it's easier to do a difficult technique mixed in with easier ones rather than many repetitions, or whatever other thing might make it just a bit challenging rather than overwhelming? And see if you can get yourself to feel really OK and relaxed with your mini-goal?

I've never dealt with this problem but breaking a big goal or skill (including a fear you want to try to get more relaxed with) into tiny more achievable steps and trying to be successful at each step is a general strategy I've used or seen others use for all kinds of situations.

Just amateur brainstorming - obviously take what's useful to you and ignore anything that isn't!

lbb
07-01-2013, 02:00 PM
I like what Marc said. Saying that you'll have a big deficit in a year or two presumes that you're not already doing something (or haven't already done something) that just hasn't had the time to manifest itself. A lot of gardening is in preparing the ground and waiting for the seed to do what it's gonna do.

SeiserL
07-01-2013, 03:42 PM
Contact Lynn Seiser here on AikiWeb. He is in Georgia, and may be able to refer you to someone he knows and trusts. Lynn is not only a therapist, but is yondan in aikido as well. It is a small world and he may know someone near your community.

Shhhhhh ...he may hear you.

The experience of any trauma can leave subtle (and not so subtle) issues of post traumatic stress in which any thing that represents or symbolizes the trauma and actual trigger a re-experiencing of the original trauma (almost like a complete age regression).

Touch becomes a powerful associated learned trigger coded deep due to the body chemical during an intense one-time learning experience.

IMHO, if you have not already discuss that traumatic experience with a profession with an expertise in rape, please contact the local rape hotline and they can often direct/refer you. We we don't think we need to talk about it is when we often do.

You are right that training is not therapy, but it is an opportunity to disconnect the associative learning of touch/contact/intent from past experiences and re-wire them with how you would like to think, feel, and behave.

Like any other demon, we must have the courage and compassion to stare it in the eyes until it blinks first. What ever you have to face, you have already survived. Now its time to clean up the residual effects. You are not alone.

Hope this helps in some small way.

Until again,
Lynn

Mary Eastland
07-02-2013, 04:47 PM
I would share a similar experience with you but I am not going to post it on the internet.
If you would like to hear it you can PM me.

Survivor
07-02-2013, 05:32 PM
Do you only have physical contact issues in aikido?

No, I don't like touching people at all. I avoid crowds because I don't like brushing up against strangers, but I also don't touch people that I am friends with.

and Mary, would it be acceptable to send a brief email to your dojo address giving you a secondary email address of mine?

Mary Eastland
07-02-2013, 10:08 PM
Yes...that would work.

Linda Eskin
07-03-2013, 01:17 PM
A couple of therapists have given their perspectives (very valuable), and I thought I'd throw in mine from a client's point of view. I experienced a series of less physical (but still devastating) traumas some years ago, which left me feeling quite beaten down. A therapist friend of mine, when I asked her about it, recommended I see a colleague of hers. I think we did about 10 sessions over a couple of months, including some energy psychology, tapping... A variety of things. My work with her was a lifesaver. Keep training (and kudos for taking that on in the first place, when it is so challenging for you!), and (IMHO) seek out a therapist who can help you. They can make a huge difference in the quality of your life and happiness.

Carsten Möllering
07-04-2013, 02:24 AM
... a therapist who can help you. They can make a huge difference in the quality of your life and happiness.
Yes. Thank you for this statement!
This has become very important to me throughout the last years.

It is my experience that a person can indeed learn to survive and to "win their fights".
It is also my experience that a qualified(!) therapist can help to regain the quality of life that lies in being free of having to fight for survival.

I don't know whether my English allows to understand what difference I am trying to describe. But to me the difference is fundamental.

lbb
07-04-2013, 09:07 AM
I don't know whether my English allows to understand what difference I am trying to describe. But to me the difference is fundamental.

Sure. It's the difference between being very good at surviving in a foxhole, and having the freedom to walk outside of one.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
07-04-2013, 01:02 PM
After a traumatizing experience, one often feels that they can go on without spychological help, but it's not true. You are such a brave young woman, look for professional help. Don't let anyone destroy your life.

Janet Rosen
07-04-2013, 01:47 PM
Sure. It's the difference between being very good at surviving in a foxhole, and having the freedom to walk outside of one.

Well put.

Survivor
07-04-2013, 08:08 PM
After a traumatizing experience, one often feels that they can go on without spychological help, but it's not true. You are such a brave young woman, look for professional help. Don't let anyone destroy your life.

Well, it has been almost 15 years, this isn't something new that I have been dealing with.

Krystal Locke
07-05-2013, 12:42 AM
You have been dealing with touch issues for 15 years, you have not been able to directly discuss your issues with sensei, friends, nor family for all that time, and you feel that you have to resolve some of these issues in the next couple years so that you can improve in aikido?

I really think therapy would be a huge benefit. You are admittedly carrying a huge load of shame and self-judgement. Therapy can help you re-evaluate and reframe your experience. Therapy can give you strategies for rebuilding trust, rebuilding confidence in functional boundaries, and managing recurring stress. Aikido can work in remarkable harmony with therapy to help resolve your issues.

Find a reputable therapist who specializes in assault and rape recovery. Psychology Today magazine has an online listing of therapists, it is reliable and good. Vet your therapist carefully, and not around martial arts knowledge or experience. Aikido is not the issue, your unresolved feelings about your experience are the issue.

Well, it has been almost 15 years, this isn't something new that I have been dealing with.

Survivor
07-05-2013, 06:13 AM
You have been dealing with touch issues for 15 years, you have not been able to directly discuss your issues with sensei, friends, nor family for all that time, and you feel that you have to resolve some of these issues in the next couple years so that you can improve in aikido?

I don't like being touched, that is correct, but it is hardly the strangest thing anyone has ever done, and I am not phobic about it, I just don't like it. I have directly discussed my issue with men I have dated before we became lovers, just not beyond that because I don't like being seen as a victim. I function normally in terms of employment, and have managed to take care of myself quite well without assistance from anyone. Additionally, I don't see how having multiple people know about a trauma is particularly useful for them or for me. Would I be capable of discussing this with someone else, of course, but I don't see the need to. I also have seen how many people react to victims, which is immediate pity with no regard for what the victim has done since then, or immediate blame. I don't feel that either of those reactions would be particularly helpful for me, which is why I don't discuss it with friends or family. I don't wish to discuss it with my Sensei because I feel it would change the dynamic of our relationship, which I am very happy with. I do not want him to feel sorry for me, nor do I want him to encourage me to sit out of certain techniques because I am uncomfortable.

Mary Eastland
07-05-2013, 07:22 AM
I don't like being touched, that is correct, but it is hardly the strangest thing anyone has ever done, and I am not phobic about it, I just don't like it. I have directly discussed my issue with men I have dated before we became lovers, just not beyond that because I don't like being seen as a victim. I function normally in terms of employment, and have managed to take care of myself quite well without assistance from anyone. Additionally, I don't see how having multiple people know about a trauma is particularly useful for them or for me. Would I be capable of discussing this with someone else, of course, but I don't see the need to. I also have seen how many people react to victims, which is immediate pity with no regard for what the victim has done since then, or immediate blame. I don't feel that either of those reactions would be particularly helpful for me, which is why I don't discuss it with friends or family. I don't wish to discuss it with my Sensei because I feel it would change the dynamic of our relationship, which I am very happy with. I do not want him to feel sorry for me, nor do I want him to encourage me to sit out of certain techniques because I am uncomfortable.

Hi There:

I can see a lot of "I don't want to's" here...do you know what you want to do?
I am saying this gently...I think you probably posted on here because you want some insights...

It is the start of a new process and is good...have you thought about what you do want?
best,
Mary

JP3
07-06-2013, 11:11 AM
You have been dealing with touch issues for 15 years, you have not been able to directly discuss your issues with sensei, friends, nor family for all that time, and you feel that you have to resolve some of these issues in the next couple years so that you can improve in aikido?
I really think therapy would be a huge benefit. You are admittedly carrying a huge load of shame and self-judgement. Therapy can help you re-evaluate and reframe your experience. Therapy can give you strategies for rebuilding trust, rebuilding confidence in functional boundaries, and managing recurring stress. Aikido can work in remarkable harmony with therapy to help resolve your issues.
Find a reputable therapist who specializes in assault and rape recovery. Psychology Today magazine has an online listing of therapists, it is reliable and good. Vet your therapist carefully, and not around martial arts knowledge or experience. Aikido is not the issue, your unresolved feelings about your experience are the issue.

I was hesitating to offer anything on this topic as I've no insight to offer on being a rape victim whatsoever. But I am a good listener (here reader instead), as it's part of my day job.

Survivor, you've already probably figured out that you are either intentionally or unconsciously using your aikido practice as your chosen vector through which you are going to take on your touch anxiety/antipathy brought on by that initial event.

That sounds minimizing.... "event." Apologies, it is definitely not to sound so - I just don't know what else to call it. I tend to revert to objectifying things, it's a habit cultivated as a paramedic back in the day.

Anyway, back to armchair analysis. If you've chosen your aikido practice as the path you are going to trod to find a way "around" the block which is the touch problem, since touching is inherent in aikido practice for skill progression, you've rather deliberately set up a challenge structure for yourself, wouldn't you say? I think so, & I applaud you for doing so. You did say it was about 15 years ago that the event took place?

The touch problem is a symptom, right? The touch problem isn't the actual "problem," it indicates that the real "problem" exists, the psychological trauma of the attack. I tend to agree with the PTSD concept above. PTSD can be immediate and debilitating, or it can be... subtle and sneaky, it doesn't have to manifest as hallucinations like the movies. Vague fears, depression, anxiety all can be there. Seen that both in war vets we picked up, as well as in fellow paramedics, firefighters and cops I associated with during that life period.

I AM going somewhere, sorry for rambling nature of the post. My colleagues in emergency services, the ones who were suffering from "burnout" - that's what we called it at the time, us young (i.e. stupid) ones - som
e of them ended up finding a psychologist from the local Veteran's Administration hospital (Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center ). She had been doing work for some of the repeat business customers we had with those problems, and things worked to bring some of those guys in contact with said therapist. Long story made short, after working with a couple of our, what I'd call hard cases, perhaps 6-8 sessions, those two guys were pulling out of the bad place they had found themselves in.

I'm not drawing parallels in situations suffered by you vs. those found fighting fires, etc., but people react to stressful life changing experiences .... not similarly, perhaps, but their experiences tend to shape them in a similar way. I hope I said that right. I would suggest that it might work very well to take advantage of all the advice given here in kind spirit, combine them into a method which allows you to both seek a kind, professional counselor who can start working on the underlying issues, while at the same time find a kind soul or two with whom you are the most comfortable at your dojo, and speak to them privately, and also to your sensei, and explain what it is that you are working through.

I don't know if the following would work or not, but we use it all the time to work towards a difficult skillset with our people. Progressive overload theory. If, for example, you took an average beginner student, with no formal training and no concept of any martial art, brought them into a dojo and suited them up, and said - "We are going to practice multiple attacker defense today, and yu are first up." Probably wouldn't work out well, would it...

No, obviously not. So, we work up to it. I know, sounds obvious again, but I'm going somewhere. In multiples, the way we do it is start with just 2 "attackers" and we have them limit their attack to only trying to grab the right hand of tori and "control" it. The defender's/tori's task is to move, execute a certain releasing motion (and only that one motion is allowed for this level of exercise), then the other attacker also grabs the same hand, repeat release, etc. over and over and over. Say 3 minutes of that, to get everyone moving, but in a very controlled state.

Stage two is a choice for me, or whoever is running that drill. Keep the right hand grab and now allow defense with either of two releasing movements, or, keep only the one allowed releasing technique and allow the attackers to grab either the right or left wrist. You've increased the options, thus the complexity, exponentially. Granted, only an exponent of 2, but if you do that again by adding the option you didn't chose, you can see how the doubling effect works on the chaos.

So, applying the progressive overload to your own aikido practice, maybe something like this would work as a direct training mechanism to "take on" the touch anxiety.

Take a technique you are comfortable with performing, and do it with the attacker several times without stopping, moving more and more naturally from a formal kata mode into a more rndori mode. Then, YOU ask your attacker to increase the intensity of their attack in some way which involves slightly more physical contact, but still allows the same technique to be performed on your part, e.g. in my own Tomiki curriculum, there are the releasing movements, which are learned as a beginner just against the attacker grasping the wrist and not "doing much" with the wrist but holding it. But... what if they grab it and pull you towards them? Release movement/technique still works, though the directions and vectors change somewhat. Next would be, let's say it is a cross-hand grab. Add to the right-to-right crosshand grab,, the attacker's left hand also grabbing at the wrist, and when that's no problem, work up to the left hand controlling the elbow (or attempting to do so) Work the left hand up your own body slowly, keeping your own "discomfort" level where you can handle it without the lock-up you describe above. Eventually, you will get to where uke's attack comes in, grabs your wrist, and yanks you through to apply a choking technique on you from behind. THAT is not going to be comfortable, but you can see how you would get there, I'm sure, and also, how in the controlled setting, you could work up to that sort of thing in a slow, steady progression which you control. I doubt it will be fun.

But, working on the aikido stuff would be a symptom, again, that the work you are doing, either with a therapist/counselor, or on your own with a support group of friends and training partners, is working.

I don't know if any of the above is helpful, or not. If not, just ignore, but I do hope it pulls some things together in a practical way for you.

Oh, and another thing, You can't "feel" learning. Keep that in mind. You just end up getting somewhere, looking back and saying to yourself, "Man, I remember when I used to have a big problem with " such-and-such...

Take care, and come back and report in. I think you've got a fan base of supporters here.

Survivor
07-09-2013, 05:56 PM
That sounds minimizing.... "event." Apologies, it is definitely not to sound so - I just don't know what else to call it. I tend to revert to objectifying things, it's a habit cultivated as a paramedic back in the day.

Objectification is fine in this particular instance.


Anyway, back to armchair analysis. If you've chosen your aikido practice as the path you are going to trod to find a way "around" the block which is the touch problem, since touching is inherent in aikido practice for skill progression, you've rather deliberately set up a challenge structure for yourself, wouldn't you say? I think so, & I applaud you for doing so. You did say it was about 15 years ago that the event took place?

The touch problem is a symptom, right? The touch problem isn't the actual "problem," it indicates that the real "problem" exists, the psychological trauma of the attack. I tend to agree with the PTSD concept above. PTSD can be immediate and debilitating, or it can be... subtle and sneaky, it doesn't have to manifest as hallucinations like the movies. Vague fears, depression, anxiety all can be there. Seen that both in war vets we picked up, as well as in fellow paramedics, firefighters and cops I associated with during that life period.

I AM going somewhere, sorry for rambling nature of the post. My colleagues in emergency services, the ones who were suffering from "burnout" - that's what we called it at the time, us young (i.e. stupid) ones - som
e of them ended up finding a psychologist from the local Veteran's Administration hospital (Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center ). She had been doing work for some of the repeat business customers we had with those problems, and things worked to bring some of those guys in contact with said therapist. Long story made short, after working with a couple of our, what I'd call hard cases, perhaps 6-8 sessions, those two guys were pulling out of the bad place they had found themselves in.

I'm not drawing parallels in situations suffered by you vs. those found fighting fires, etc., but people react to stressful life changing experiences .... not similarly, perhaps, but their experiences tend to shape them in a similar way. I hope I said that right. I would suggest that it might work very well to take advantage of all the advice given here in kind spirit, combine them into a method which allows you to both seek a kind, professional counselor who can start working on the underlying issues, while at the same time find a kind soul or two with whom you are the most comfortable at your dojo, and speak to them privately, and also to your sensei, and explain what it is that you are working through.

I don't know if the following would work or not, but we use it all the time to work towards a difficult skillset with our people. Progressive overload theory. If, for example, you took an average beginner student, with no formal training and no concept of any martial art, brought them into a dojo and suited them up, and said - "We are going to practice multiple attacker defense today, and yu are first up." Probably wouldn't work out well, would it...

No, obviously not. So, we work up to it. I know, sounds obvious again, but I'm going somewhere. In multiples, the way we do it is start with just 2 "attackers" and we have them limit their attack to only trying to grab the right hand of tori and "control" it. The defender's/tori's task is to move, execute a certain releasing motion (and only that one motion is allowed for this level of exercise), then the other attacker also grabs the same hand, repeat release, etc. over and over and over. Say 3 minutes of that, to get everyone moving, but in a very controlled state.

Stage two is a choice for me, or whoever is running that drill. Keep the right hand grab and now allow defense with either of two releasing movements, or, keep only the one allowed releasing technique and allow the attackers to grab either the right or left wrist. You've increased the options, thus the complexity, exponentially. Granted, only an exponent of 2, but if you do that again by adding the option you didn't chose, you can see how the doubling effect works on the chaos.

So, applying the progressive overload to your own aikido practice, maybe something like this would work as a direct training mechanism to "take on" the touch anxiety.

Take a technique you are comfortable with performing, and do it with the attacker several times without stopping, moving more and more naturally from a formal kata mode into a more rndori mode. Then, YOU ask your attacker to increase the intensity of their attack in some way which involves slightly more physical contact, but still allows the same technique to be performed on your part, e.g. in my own Tomiki curriculum, there are the releasing movements, which are learned as a beginner just against the attacker grasping the wrist and not "doing much" with the wrist but holding it. But... what if they grab it and pull you towards them? Release movement/technique still works, though the directions and vectors change somewhat. Next would be, let's say it is a cross-hand grab. Add to the right-to-right crosshand grab,, the attacker's left hand also grabbing at the wrist, and when that's no problem, work up to the left hand controlling the elbow (or attempting to do so) Work the left hand up your own body slowly, keeping your own "discomfort" level where you can handle it without the lock-up you describe above. Eventually, you will get to where uke's attack comes in, grabs your wrist, and yanks you through to apply a choking technique on you from behind. THAT is not going to be comfortable, but you can see how you would get there, I'm sure, and also, how in the controlled setting, you could work up to that sort of thing in a slow, steady progression which you control. I doubt it will be fun.

But, working on the aikido stuff would be a symptom, again, that the work you are doing, either with a therapist/counselor, or on your own with a support group of friends and training partners, is working.

I don't know if any of the above is helpful, or not. If not, just ignore, but I do hope it pulls some things together in a practical way for you.

I do see where you are going with the PTSD issues, and I won't argue that. I am having slow progress in most things, I think what bothered me so much was my total freeze up on koshi nage. I was accepting the fact that my kokyu nages (The one where you have the ukes head on your shoulder) weren't as good as they could be, but I hadn't made the connection until my total freeze. I think maybe what I am searching for is some kind of interval between a shiho nage, where you still need to be in close contact with uke, and the koshi nage.

I can see that I am great deal better now than I was two years ago, obviously. But if I can't even practice koshi nage, I am going to be too blocked to really progress in my mind. I keep thinking there has to be some way that I can move into koshi nage at a slower pace, but I don't know what that would be.

Hopefully this clarifies some things.

Dan Rubin
07-10-2013, 04:23 PM
Three questions for “Survivor:”

1. If I understand you correctly, you have problems throwing someone with koshinage and a couple of other techniques, but you don’t have problems being thrown in those techniques. I would think it would be both, and that being thrown would be the more stressful of the two. If my understanding is correct, why do you think ukemi is less difficult (since you're just as close to your partner)?

2. Posters have offered you good advice (I think), namely to see a therapist, confide in your teacher, or to gradually desensitize yourself to stressful situations, and you seem to have rejected that advice, which is certainly your privilege. What sort of advice are you looking for? For example, would you like someone to post, “I was in exactly your situation, and my problem was solved by ...doing X as I was performing the technique, or ...doing Y just before uke attacked, or ...doing Z before class began?” If they know what you’re looking for, posters may come up with more acceptable suggestions.

3. At what point in your aikido practice will you have to perform koshinage (e.g., in testing for nikyu)? Can you simply avoid that technique until then? Lots of students sit at the edge of the mat while the class performs suwariwaza (“I have bad knees”) or techniques requiring a forward roll (“I'm recovering from my separated shoulder”) or nikyo (“carpal tunnel syndrome”). If you can simply avoid koshinage now (with whatever excuse you like), perhaps you will be better prepared for it later.

robin_jet_alt
07-11-2013, 01:36 AM
Three questions for "Survivor:"

2. Posters have offered you good advice (I think), namely to see a therapist, confide in your teacher, or to gradually desensitize yourself to stressful situations, and you seem to have rejected that advice, which is certainly your privilege.r.

I haven't added to this thread yet because I was deferring to those with more experience who are better informed than I am. By the way, I think they have all given very good advice. I just thought I would jump in because I didn't get the impression that "Survivor" was rejecting anyone's advice. She strikes me as the taking it on board and carefully considering the options that are available to her.

Now, as for a technique that can help bridge that gap, how about wakigatame. It is a very close technique where you stay in full control of uke. Also, you could try the back stretch where uke holds your wrists and you load them onto your back before leaning forwards. It would take the danger out of Koshinage for uke, while you could slowly desensitise yourself to the sensation. Just a thought.

Survivor
07-11-2013, 10:54 AM
Three questions for "Survivor:"

1. If I understand you correctly, you have problems throwing someone with koshinage and a couple of other techniques, but you don't have problems being thrown in those techniques. I would think it would be both, and that being thrown would be the more stressful of the two. If my understanding is correct, why do you think ukemi is less difficult (since you're just as close to your partner)?

2. Posters have offered you good advice (I think), namely to see a therapist, confide in your teacher, or to gradually desensitize yourself to stressful situations, and you seem to have rejected that advice, which is certainly your privilege. What sort of advice are you looking for? For example, would you like someone to post, "I was in exactly your situation, and my problem was solved by ...doing X as I was performing the technique, or ...doing Y just before uke attacked, or ...doing Z before class began?" If they know what you're looking for, posters may come up with more acceptable suggestions.

3. At what point in your aikido practice will you have to perform koshinage (e.g., in testing for nikyu)? Can you simply avoid that technique until then? Lots of students sit at the edge of the mat while the class performs suwariwaza ("I have bad knees") or techniques requiring a forward roll ("I'm recovering from my separated shoulder") or nikyo ("carpal tunnel syndrome"). If you can simply avoid koshinage now (with whatever excuse you like), perhaps you will be better prepared for it later.

As far as the first ones, goes, I completely froze up on koshinage, that includes taking ukemi for it. As far as the others go, you are correct, I can take ukemi for those techniques with no issues. I would hazard a guess that because I am concentrating on helping the nage (I am one of the highest ranks at our school, so much of my practice is with people who have less experience than I do) that I don't have to think about my position.

I don't feel that I have outright rejected any advice, other than discussing with my Sensei. As far as counseling is concerned, I'll agree that it could be quite helpful, but at this time, I do not have either the time or money to be able to go to counseling, since I don't know of any therapists who work outside of a pretty standard 9-5 type work week, and I don't have the available funds to pay even a small amount, so that is kind of a non-issue for right now. I will agree that desensitization would be a great thing to work towards, but I'm not sure how to go about it.

And I will be testing for ikkyu within the month, and there is a koshinage on the test. I have been using an injury as an excuse to sit out of some techniques, but that is turning into a crutch that I don't feel is healthy.

Survivor
07-11-2013, 10:56 AM
I haven't added to this thread yet because I was deferring to those with more experience who are better informed than I am. By the way, I think they have all given very good advice. I just thought I would jump in because I didn't get the impression that "Survivor" was rejecting anyone's advice. She strikes me as the taking it on board and carefully considering the options that are available to her.

Now, as for a technique that can help bridge that gap, how about wakigatame. It is a very close technique where you stay in full control of uke. Also, you could try the back stretch where uke holds your wrists and you load them onto your back before leaning forwards. It would take the danger out of Koshinage for uke, while you could slowly desensitise yourself to the sensation. Just a thought.

I am not familiar with wakigatame, could you describe it? The back stretch is a good idea, we don't do those often, and I do also sit out of those, but I think that might be a good thing to work on for now. Thank you!

phitruong
07-11-2013, 11:33 AM
And I will be testing for ikkyu within the month, and there is a koshinage on the test. I have been using an injury as an excuse to sit out of some techniques, but that is turning into a crutch that I don't feel is healthy.

first, discuss with your sensei of your issue. i am sure he/she would understand and come up with ways to work around your test. if your sensei doesn't, then leave the dojo.

find someone who you trust to work with you, i.e. be uke for you. might be a female first. just do it slowly, snail speed. get into the position, but don't throw. focus on breathing. count in your head if you need to - breath in for 3 counts, hold for 2, out for 3, hold for 2. do that as many times as you need and gradually increase the speed of your movement to get into the position. again, don't throw. just get into position up to the throwing part. once you comfortable with the first person, find another and another.

another thing that you could also try. stand with your eyes open and focus only on your breathing. have someone you trust walk up to you and touch you. your job is to focus on breathing. their job is to touch you and at slow interval at various locations on your body. when you feel tense, tell that person to back off a bit and you focus on breathing to get back to a relax state. once you back to the relax state, ask your friend to begin again. keep doing in that until they can just walk up to you out of the blue and touch you without you change your breathing pattern. once you can do that, then add another person, then another person, until you have a bunch of people touching you without you changing your breathing pattern. the key is you control the situation of how much and how soon, then transition it to an uncontrol situation at the time of your choosing. it's a systema trick.

Basia Halliop
07-11-2013, 02:27 PM
Don't forget, you can tell your sensei or a senior student you trust that this is something that makes you tense, that you'd like to gradually improve in a positive way, without needing to give them any explanation or justification for why you feel that way. If they're respectful they'll try to be helpful without prying too much.

They presumably know a lot more techniques and exercises than you, so they may have some ideas that might be helpful.

To be honest if they're observant your sensei or some of your fellow students may already have noticed or suspect that you're uncomfortable with people in your personal space - it may be less of a secret than you think.

heathererandolph
07-11-2013, 02:58 PM
To me your development in Aikido seems normal. Most people find some techniques easier, and lose faith in themselves from time to time. it's difficulties that actually advance us, not feeling confident. on the other hand, Aikido shouldn't be totally frustrating either. It is difficult to assess yourself in Aikido, two years is just the very tip of the ice burg. For starters, you might want to ask your Sensei his/her thoughts on what you may need to work on. Mainly Aikido means accepting change. Which is easier said than done. It seems you're particularly hard on yourself, which is a good thing for Aikido development. What I'm saying is, your trauma may not be the main reason you're facing "uneven development". Just a thought. Based on what you said. I think I understand the "giving uke a holiday" comment as a common, if not ubiquitous, part of Aikido practice, especially among beginners, not letting uke be off balance throughout the technique. That's not to say trauma is irrelevant, just that, it's unclear to me how it's impacting you. As long as you continue to work hard in Aikido, you will improve.

robin_jet_alt
07-12-2013, 12:39 AM
I am not familiar with wakigatame, could you describe it? The back stretch is a good idea, we don't do those often, and I do also sit out of those, but I think that might be a good thing to work on for now. Thank you!

This is wakigatame. Closer proximity than ikkyo, but not the body to body contact of koshinage.

http://heart-works.cocolog-nifty.com/aikido/images/shomenuchi_wakigatame_060604.jpg

Shadowfax
07-12-2013, 07:42 AM
Speaking as someone who has come through a similar trauma, I have experienced problems very much like yours. It has taken me some time of following this thread to be able to post a response but I felt like I really needed to do so because I have been there and maybe my experience can help.

The Freezing up. Yeah been there. Still happens sometimes but not as much as it used to. Freeze response is part of the fight/flight instinct. Doing a little research on this will help you to understand better what is happening. When you understand what is happening it gets easier to work through it.

Rest assured that this is normal and it can be overcome. I make part of my living dealing with overcoming fight/flight responses in large prey animals. Desensitization is the key here.

Avoiding the thing that makes you lock up will never help. You are right about that. You need to put yourself into those situations a lot and work through them. The thing about fear is you can't keep running away from it. If you know logically that there is nothing to be afraid of then you can stand up to it and work within it until you get past it. It is uncomfortable unpleasant and very very hard. But you/we have survived worse... right? ;)

In order to do that you need to have the help of your teacher. Telling him/her a bit about your past and explaining what your problems are can be extremely helpful. I also reached a roadblock in my training about two years in because of these issues. At this point I knew my teachers well enough and trusted them enough to tell them (in writing, because I still really could not talk about it) about my past life. It wasn't easy at all but it really helped. It helped them to know how to help me and just sharing the burden with somebody whom I could trust was a tremendous relief.

It is also very useful to talk to someone. If not a professional at least someone that you can trust with your darkest secrets and who is willing to listen with understanding. You don't need pity. You just need someone to hear you and to say that what happened to you is not okay, it is not your fault and that does not mean that you can never be strong or happy again.

Don't avoid what scares you. Look it straight in the teeth and tell it that it can no longer control you. With a little help. You can do this. :)

Jonathan
07-12-2013, 09:31 AM
As I'm sure you're aware, there really is no way around actually doing the technique, if you want to master it. Why not simply break koshinage into small sections of movement that you perform until a suitable level of comfort is obtained? When you feel comfortable enough with one section, then add another section and so on until the technique can be performed entirely without breaks. I get my students to do this with koshinage quite often. They practice the moment of connection to uke, then the moving of their hips into and below uke's, then the loading of uke across the lower back/hips, and finally the dropping of uke to the floor. Works well for them; perhaps it would be useful for you to do it this way, too. Given your touch aversion, you'll probably want to use as uke the person in your dojo with whom you have the most comfort already. Just my two cents. :)

Gambatte okudasai!

Jon.

Survivor
07-16-2013, 08:33 PM
first, discuss with your sensei of your issue. i am sure he/she would understand and come up with ways to work around your test. if your sensei doesn't, then leave the dojo.

find someone who you trust to work with you, i.e. be uke for you. might be a female first. just do it slowly, snail speed. get into the position, but don't throw. focus on breathing. count in your head if you need to - breath in for 3 counts, hold for 2, out for 3, hold for 2. do that as many times as you need and gradually increase the speed of your movement to get into the position. again, don't throw. just get into position up to the throwing part. once you comfortable with the first person, find another and another.

another thing that you could also try. stand with your eyes open and focus only on your breathing. have someone you trust walk up to you and touch you. your job is to focus on breathing. their job is to touch you and at slow interval at various locations on your body. when you feel tense, tell that person to back off a bit and you focus on breathing to get back to a relax state. once you back to the relax state, ask your friend to begin again. keep doing in that until they can just walk up to you out of the blue and touch you without you change your breathing pattern. once you can do that, then add another person, then another person, until you have a bunch of people touching you without you changing your breathing pattern. the key is you control the situation of how much and how soon, then transition it to an uncontrol situation at the time of your choosing. it's a systema trick.

I am sure he would work around it for me for testing, but I would personally feel like I wouldn't deserve the belt if I did a work around for the test.

That idea is probably the most terrifying thing I have ever heard. Thank you, because that sounds like exactly what I am looking for.

Survivor
07-16-2013, 08:35 PM
Speaking as someone who has come through a similar trauma, I have experienced problems very much like yours. It has taken me some time of following this thread to be able to post a response but I felt like I really needed to do so because I have been there and maybe my experience can help.

The Freezing up. Yeah been there. Still happens sometimes but not as much as it used to. Freeze response is part of the fight/flight instinct. Doing a little research on this will help you to understand better what is happening. When you understand what is happening it gets easier to work through it.

Rest assured that this is normal and it can be overcome. I make part of my living dealing with overcoming fight/flight responses in large prey animals. Desensitization is the key here.

Avoiding the thing that makes you lock up will never help. You are right about that. You need to put yourself into those situations a lot and work through them. The thing about fear is you can't keep running away from it. If you know logically that there is nothing to be afraid of then you can stand up to it and work within it until you get past it. It is uncomfortable unpleasant and very very hard. But you/we have survived worse... right? ;)

In order to do that you need to have the help of your teacher. Telling him/her a bit about your past and explaining what your problems are can be extremely helpful. I also reached a roadblock in my training about two years in because of these issues. At this point I knew my teachers well enough and trusted them enough to tell them (in writing, because I still really could not talk about it) about my past life. It wasn't easy at all but it really helped. It helped them to know how to help me and just sharing the burden with somebody whom I could trust was a tremendous relief.

It is also very useful to talk to someone. If not a professional at least someone that you can trust with your darkest secrets and who is willing to listen with understanding. You don't need pity. You just need someone to hear you and to say that what happened to you is not okay, it is not your fault and that does not mean that you can never be strong or happy again.

Don't avoid what scares you. Look it straight in the teeth and tell it that it can no longer control you. With a little help. You can do this. :)

Thank you for sharing and for the encouragement.