Thread: Verbal Aikido
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:43 AM   #4
Dojo: Aikido Kenkyukai International
Location: Ambler, Pennsylvania
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 232
Re: Verbal Aikido

Well, I don't know about "pearls of wisdom," but when I was a young, beginning therapist, I had to facilitate a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) group. I dreaded this group. All the guys there were angry about having to be there and suspicious of me. And I was insecure and just learning the craft. Every time a new group began their 8 week course, they always challenged me - what was the basis of my authority, my skills, etc. and I always fell into the trap of trying to justify myself, explain my background, training etc. and, of course it never worked and I always "lost." It was miserable. During this time (around 1994) I returned to aikido and began training in earnest and certain ideas seemed to be more clear to me. I'd been training for about 6 months or so and a new DUI group started. At some point in the first session, the leader of the pack challenged me as usual. "Who the hell are you and why should I listen to anything you have to say?!" All the other guys in the group kind of leaned forward to enjoy the show and suddenly I thought about aikido. I leaned back and said something along the lines of, "Wow, I think it's great that you're the only guy in this whole group with the guts and intelligence to ask the most basic question of all. None of these other guys even thought of asking me that. 'Who am I and why should you trust me?' Of course I would never try to answer that question for you guys and I won't disrespect you all by trying, because I know you'll decide for yourselves if I'm worth trusting or not, but that's the best question anyone as brought up the whole evening, thanks." The rest of the group looked stunned and the guy himself kind of blinked a couple times and sat quietly with his mouth open for a bit. From there, the discussion moved on to what does it take to trust others, how will you know if the group is at all useful, etc. Somehow that moment changed the whole experience for all of us and I never had a problem with those groups again. I had been trying to control/force their thoughts, feelings, & experience rather than enter and "move together." All in all, a really big eye-opener for me.

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