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Old 11-09-2009, 12:50 PM   #1
Thomas Osborn
Dojo: Aikido of Northampton
Location: Holyoke, MA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 108
Combat Related Ptsd

9/09-11-14-16-18/09 MY MACHINE ATE MY LOG AND NOTES!!!
Up to 9/21 is just my best guess as to what I had written.

I want to extend my Aikido into more of my life as well as getting back to putting energy something with more socially redeeming value. Being semi-retired, I have the time to put that energy where I want, not just where I get paid best.
To quote someone, "all that counts in life is how you move through the fire". As a Vet, my Aikido has had a very positive effect on how I have moved through life. I am going to approach the local Veterans Administration facility to see if they would be interested in having me teach a class on Aikido to Vets.

Met with the volunteer coordinator. She refered me to the clinic where they work with vets with combat related PTSD. Attended a staff meeting and did my pitch on how Aikido can help deal with stress, agression, etc. They got back to me the next day and asked if I could do a class at 8:00 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This is great, better than I expected.

We are doing class in the ward day room, rug, but no mats.
Vets are usually here for 6 weeks, with a new group of 4-7 new people coming in about every week and 4-7 leaving. There will usually be about 20 +- vets at each class. A new group process in on Mondays which means I plan on having some new people join the ongoing group every Wednesday.

While I want the class to be an enjoyable break from their regular schedule, I really want to give people something positive they can use outside of class, in their regular life, dealing with their real life issues. Properly taught, the physical activity should have an effect on their mental/emotional activity [kinesthetic learning]. It doesn't really matter if they are consciously aware of this. Covert can often work better than overt.
Based on discussions with the staff and given the time and location realities:
Stress the collaborative nature of aikido practice, Nage as teacher, Uke is student.
All techniques will end with a standing pin, occasionally a take down. No throws or falls.
Concentrate on basic moves and techniques; 1 & 2 hand grabs, shoulder grabs, shomenuchi. No ski.
Drill on the 5 points of technique
1. welcoming "attack" and relaxing to center
2. getting "off the line"
3. blending attacker's [Uke] "center" with Nage's
4. Nage utilizies technique to move their own body, and not focusing on Uke
5. coming to a place where the attacker is secure and both participants are safe [especially Nage]

To evaluate progress/success on these I've come up with the following set of goals;
That guys will enjoy the class and keep coming
That there will be a good interaction among the various "demographics" of the group and a sense of group will develop
Guys will learn and demonstrate an ability to consciously relax and center when "attacked"/stressed
Staff will have some commonly held language they can use to help Vets in certain situations, i.e. relax, center, breath down
All of these will carry over outside of class

(Original blog post may be found here.)
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:12 PM   #2
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 289
Re: Combat Related Ptsd

Nice idea. Did you also have combat experience?
How are you coping with the lack of mats?
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:38 PM   #3
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 813
Re: Combat Related Ptsd

That's a great idea. It should apply to semi interested students too... like a weekend seminar for moms etc. I sense that one of the big turn offs here is that Aikido is difficult to learn. Coupled with all that rolling around, most people just shy away. But keeping things limited to just standing practices will start things of nicely.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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